“Michael Hirtenstein appreciates such perfectionist impulses. After combining multiple units in a lower Manhattan apartment building designed by architect Enrique Norten, the high-octane entrepreneur and nightlife impresario was distressed to find a lone structural column—one that supported several floors of the 13-story glass tower—interrupting the flow of his double-height living room. Despite the potential nightmare of redistributing the column’s load, his response was categorical: Take it down.“The design team looked at me like I had three heads,” Hirtenstein recalls. “But they said, ‘Let’s get the structural engineer up here and figure it out.’ In the end removing that column made the space and made the apartment.”

The job of transforming all that raw real estate into a cohesive, welcoming home fell to Juul-Hansen, who developed a fluid floor plan that comprises a series of intimate rooms radiating off the lofty living area, with no awkward transitions or residual traces of the developer’s original scheme. But consolidation was just the beginning. “The challenge,” the designer says, “was to maintain the quiet luxury of light, air, and space while creating bravura architectural moments with incredibly sumptuous materials.”

Those blockbuster moments include a stunning outdoor living room of solid mahogany (steamed and bent in the manner of yacht construction) with seating and storage, a fire pit, a built-in grill, and views of two Manhattan icons—the Empire State Building to the north and the new One World Trade Center to the south. There’s also a pop-up television for Hirtenstein’s frequent alfresco viewings of movies and sporting events. (And just in case his guests are enjoying a swim when the game goes into overtime, there’s a projection screen that rises magically from the shrubbery planted alongside the slate-edged, mosaic-lined pool.)

Juul-Hansen’s architectural tours de force continue inside the apartment, where massive planes of silvery travertine, richly veined marble, blackened steel, Italian leather, tamo ash, and artisanal plaster define individual rooms. Even the apartment’s staircase is treated like a theatrical showpiece, its steel steps wrapped in pale oak, with integrated LED lighting on each riser and a sinuous railing of hand-carved rosewood. “This place has a level of articulation and detail unlike any project I’d ever worked on,” Juul-Hansen says.”

–Architectural Digest