Sawyer | Berson235 Park Ave. S., at 32nd St., eleventh fl.; 212-244-3055; sawyerberson.com
Exquisite landscaping plays a starring role in the work of this interdisciplinary firm, which offers architecture, landscape-architecture, and interior-design services. Townhouse gardens, rooftop terraces, and sprawling Hamptons estates are masterfully designed with an eye toward giving clients a seamless indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
Sayigh Duman Architects530 W. 25th St., nr. Tenth Ave., Ste. 505; 212-929-7899; urnod.com
Laith Sayigh and Koray Duman joined forces in 2009 to open this firm, which specializes in modernist designs that make innovative use of materials. To wit: One Corian handrail was crafted to look like a sculpture. The firm also custom-designs bold minimalist furniture.
Selldorf Architects860 Broadway, nr. 17th St., Ste. 2; 212-219-9571; selldorf.com
Annabelle Selldorf deserves her reputation as a minimalist; her interiors favor black and white, with occasional allowances for natural finishes—wood, metal, patina bronze. Jolts of color come from her impeccable taste in art, which could explain why she’s a favorite of gallery owners like David Zwirner.
Sergio Mercado Design301 E. 21st St., nr. Second Ave., Ste. 12E; 212-542-0461; sergiomercadodesign.com
Mercado’s interior-architectural design work is clean and modern. He is a wizard at bringing tired spaces up to speed, as with a floor-through loft in which he used I-beams to erect a mezzanine and introduced a simple ribbon staircase.
Shamir Shah Design10 Greene St., nr. Canal St.; 212-274-7476; shamirshahdesign.com
Favored by Ian Schrager, this architecture and design firm has discreetly made a name for itself with functional planning and a luxurious array of materials like patina bronze, wire-brushed stone, and cerused woods that feel contemporary but broken in.
Shelton, Mindel & Associates56 W. 22nd St., nr. Sixth Ave., twelfth fl.; 212-206-6406; sheltonmindel.com
After 30 years in the business, this architecture and interior-design firm still offers a seamless, soup-to-nuts version of high-modern design, synthesizing architectural elements and strong furniture groupings into cool, intelligent, and carefully edited interiors. For a central hallway in one historic Fifth Avenue residence, the team paired a classic black-and-white large-tile floor with an all-white, wood-molded ceiling for an effect that was equal parts fresh and classic.
Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects305 Canal St., nr. Broadway, Ste. 4; 212-966-3875; smharch.com
This smart husband-and-wife design team has been turning out masterful contemporary spaces for three decades. The duo’s work incorporates industrial design in an elegant, urbane manner.
Solomonoff Architecture Studio530 W. 25th St., nr. Tenth Ave., Ste. 409; 212-337-3700; solomonoff.com
Taking on residential and commercial projects, SAS creates structures and interior spaces using familiar materials—wood, glass, and exposed brick—that feel sturdy, clean, and contemporary.
Specht Harpman338 W. 39th St., nr. Ninth Ave., tenth fl.; 212-239-1150; spechtharpman.com
Scott Specht and Louise Harpman do innovative forward-thinking work by combining crisp edges, clever cabinetry, and elegant experiments with inexpensive and industrial materials. They once used discarded Coca-Cola crates to construct interior walls. Their houses have a loftlike feel, with a light palette and lots of open space.
S. Russell Groves210 11th Ave., nr. 25th St., Ste. 502; 212-929-5221; srussellgroves.com
Groves’s graceful, thoughtful style makes for oases of calm in the busy city. This architect and interior designer works with ecru-colored paint, ebony-stained wood, and natural, sustainable materials. He crafts interiors with a place for everything and not a rough edge in sight.
Steven Harris Architects120 Chambers St., nr. W. Broadway; 212-587-1108; stevenharrisarchitects.com
Harris is a shape-shifter. While maintaining impeccable credentials as a minimalist—he says he’s inspired by William Wurster, Paul Dupré Lafon, and the gardens of Roberto Burle Marx—he’s willing to be pushed toward flamboyance or luxury.
Steven Holl Architects450 W. 31st St., nr. Tenth Ave., 11th fl.; 212-629-7262; stevenholl.com
Holl designs homes that are miniature versions of the dynamic, luminous, sculptural spaces he provides for major institutions such as the Queens Library and the Pratt Institute. He likes to play with materials and light, indenting walls and cutting windows for specific views or shadows, never sticking with a plain rectilinear box.
Studio Garneau20 Pine St., nr. Nassau St., Ste. 3104; 917-805-3327; studiogarneau.com
Playful minimalism is a recurring theme in architect Robert Garneau’s sustainability-focused work; overt ornamentalism has no place here. His small team designs with an eye to integrating furniture and cabinetry to create spatial efficiency and balance. In one apartment, a sliding white wall conceals an impeccably sleek, built-in wooden bookshelf. (ecofriendly)
Tang Kawasaki Studio241 E. 7th St., nr. Ave C, Ste. 1C; 212-614-9594; tangkawasaki.com
Husband-and-wife team Jason Tang and Maki Kawasaki take a “reductivist” approach to design, working around a space’s existing architectural fabric to preserve and enhance what’s already there. With artist Will Cotton’s Tribeca loft, they went for raw simplicity, letting the building’s exposed bricks and wooden ceiling beams set the tone.
Thomas Phifer and Partners180 Varick St., nr. Charlton St.; 212-337-0334; tphifer.com
These architects pursue design excellence not only in form, style, and proportion, but also with a sense of “neighborliness and a democracy of spirit,” according to Phifer. Making innovative use of technology, the firm strives to create architecture that “connects with nature, rather than separates from it,” he says.
Thread Collective225 Troutman St., nr. Knickerbocker Ave., Bushwick; 718-484-0065; threadcollective.com
This architecture and design firm specializes in maximizing modest spaces in ways that are creative and affordable. Its architects make innovative use of regional and recycled materials: for instance, turning salvaged wood from the Coney Island boardwalk into the façade of a Bushwick studio. (ecofriendly)
Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects222 Central Park S., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-582-2385; twbta.com
Williams and Tsien’s projects utilize unconventional walls of exquisite materials: bronze, fiberglass, glazed brick, the smoothest concrete. They can cleverly fit luxuries into tight spaces—a lap pool below a townhouse, say—without sacrificing serenity.
Tsao & McKown Architects20 Vandam St., nr. Sixth Ave., Ste. 10; 212-337-3800; tsao-mckown.com
The partners here practice a sophisticated masculine modernism, integrating marble showers, open gas fireplaces, and stainless-steel kitchens. They prefer a neutral color palette, and their custom furniture helps to complete a client’s vision. The wall of one Soho loft boasts four large windows, each with its own light-bathed banquette—perfect for afternoon lounging.
West Chin Architect137 Fifth Ave., nr. 20th St., 12th fl.; 212-242-4945; wcarchitect.com
Favorites of the fashion crowd, West Chin and Roseann Repetti conjure sexy, sculptural spaces that will bring out your inner catwalker. Though the effect is uncluttered and gallerylike, they keep coldness at bay by incorporating pops of bright color. Interior-design services are available as well.
William T. Georgis Architect233 E. 72nd St., nr. Second Ave.; 212-288-6280; williamtgeorgis.com
Georgis leaves no detail unexamined in his architectural and design work, which is overtly indulgent and highly stylized. Well known for his lobby renovation at the Lever House, he has also gone the futuristic cum voyeuristic route, encapsulating guest sleeping quarters in a semicircular glass room in a Tribeca loft.
Work Architecture Company156 Ludlow St., nr. Stanton St., third fl.; 212-228-1333; work.ac
This firm specializes in commercial and urban-planning projects that focus on the relationship between ecology and urbanism, but it tackles ambitious residential projects as well. The firm’s designs incorporate bold shapes, futuristic installations, and innovative layouts: For a downtown loft, the architects built a sleek bamboo alcove-stage that doubles as a dance floor between the kitchen and the living room. (ecofriendly)
Workshop/APD39 W. 38th St., nr. Sixth Ave., seventh fl.; 212-273-9712; workshopapd.com
Matthew Berman and Andrew Kotchen are the brains behind this studio, which constructs residences with an aim toward balance and functionality. Their work can lean ultramodern or refined and classic. For one Upper West Side townhouse, they opted for a sleek, minimalist aesthetic. An all-glass façade was tempered with thin slats that offer privacy while still allowing an abundance of natural light to reach the clean, angular, open spaces within. (ecofriendly)
Workstead232 3rd St., nr. Third Ave., Gowanus; 347-689-2766; workstead.com
The Workstead team is lauded by locals for their use of time-tested building materials and an eponymous line of industrial floor lamps and chandeliers. The firm designed the cast-iron-laden public spaces of Williamsburg’s Wythe Hotel, and their lighting installations hang in Barneys stores and the Facebook headquarters.