Tour Artist Daniel Arsham’s Unique Manhattan Abode, a Firehouse Turned Livable Gallery

November 14, 2023


          Vibrant mint green accents and pieces by the renowned creative himself invigorate the interiors of the late-1800s building.


          When contemporary, multidisciplinary artist Daniel Arsham was looking for a new home in Manhattan, he had one “big desire”: There had to be a garage. Arsham drives back and forth to his Long Island City studio every day so, he stresses, “the car is really important to me. I’m very particular, and the garage needs to be clean and protected.” Quite a tall order for NYC housing no matter the borough, but during the summer of 2022 it all clicked.

          A friend called Arsham to tell him about a place in SoHo—a former firehouse—that he had to go see right away. There was already an offer on it, but he just might be able to snag it. Intrigued, the artist ran over and jumped at the opportunity. Nothing else had spoken to him like this. “You know it when you see it,” he declares. “I imagined the firehouse from Ghostbusters. It’s so unique, and I’ve been around New York long enough to know that this was the spot for me.”

          The prolific artist is perhaps best known for creating works that evoke a poetic conversation between past and future. Embracing sculpture, painting, and drawing, Arsham utilizes materials ranging from plaster to rock crystal and bronze and takes inspiration from a broad spectrum of sources, including sports, cartoons, automobiles, and classical sculpture. (A recent highlight, his monumental sculpture Bronze Eroded Venus of Arles now anchors the staircase in the newly renovated Tiffany & Co. flagship on Fifth Avenue, which opened earlier this year.)

          Built in the late 1800s, the building served many purposes over the following century as the neighborhood around it changed, eventually becoming a private residence. Its historic bones and playful layout were a perfect fit for Arsham. The key feature however, as he is quick to point out, is that “it still had the curb cut, which the city doesn’t really like as it takes up parking space.” This detail enables him to pull his beloved mint green Porsche 964 Carrera 2 right into the ground level.

          After resanding the floors, scrubbing the beams and millwork, updating the heating and cooling system, and redoing the kitchen and bath, Arsham set to decorating and furnishing the space to perfectly suit himself.

          The house is now truly an expression of Arsham’s singular vision. In addition to being where he parks, the ground level can also be a home studio when needed. Here, pieces from his collection are displayed on walls and shelves from floor to ceiling. In a back corner, the original cast-iron spiral staircase rises up through the four floors. After layers of red paint were sandblasted off, it is now painted a hue called Arsham Green.

          Up a flight is the kitchen and living area, where the artist loves to host dinners, often inviting renowned chefs to take over. Arsham serves guests using his large collection of tableware from Japan. Much of the furniture here and in the other rooms comes from the Arsham Living collection he started a few years ago and sells through Friedman Benda gallery.

          On the next floor, a custom wallpaper inspired by an installation Arsham created in Paris envelops the primary bedroom. Even the bathroom sink—sculpted to look like rocks—is his design, made in collaboration with Kohler.

          Making the most of the square footage, Arsham transformed the basement into a huge walk-in closet and the roof into a garden for entertaining. And throughout, his own artwork is displayed alongside pieces by friends including KAWS and Josh Sperling.

          It has been a busy year for Arsham. To celebrate 20 years of collaborating with Parisian gallerist Emmanuel Perrotin, he created two shows—one in Paris and the other in New York—which he considered one giant exhibition. He also created a limited-edition sculptural bottle case for Moët & Chandon’s Collection Impériale, which was launched during Paris Fashion Week in October. And the list of what’s next—including books, more gallery shows, a first-time exhibition of his photography, and more collaborations—seems endless. But amid all of this creative activity, and what seems like nonstop travel, one thing hasn’t gotten old: this new place.

          “Driving back and opening the door—every time, every day—is a moment,” he says, sounding like a kid on Christmas. “I can’t believe I get to live here!”

        Daniel Arsham’s Manhattan home appears in AD’s December issue.


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