Art Centric Living in Boston’s Historic South End
It’s called the Girard. Named after one of the most influential mid-century textile and fabric designers, Alexander Girard. The vision behind the 160-unit is a blend of mid-century classic and contemporary design. The result is a subtle standing ovation to Girard’s legacy of design work. Inspiration from other mid-century modern masters, including Eames, Knoll and Nelson permeate the interior design of the complex.
Girard’s famous 1952 wallpaper hangs in the hallway as you first enter the building. The color and pattern instantly bring a warmness of home to the space. “It doesn’t look like it’s 60 to 70 years old. It’s as fresh today as it was when he designed it,” says Peter Roth, President of New Atlantic Development.
The Girard is sited in the local historic district of the South End. The nation’s largest Victorian row house district, but it also has an industrial side. Albany Street was once a working Waterfront where factories produced textiles and abutting lumber yards crafted crates used for packaging. “Our goal was to design a building to address the industrial edge of the district, which is why you see a lot more industrial-type materials being used both inside and outside of the building,” explains Roth. “We wanted it to also be very contemporary, because you should always build around the age that you’re in.”
On the cutting edge of contemporary art and culture, the South End is in the age of art-centric living. Streets lined with studios morphing into a budding gallery scene replace former factories and warehouses in SoWa. Following suit, the art-inspired Girard brings the culturally rich vibe of the South End directly to residents’ doors with a private art gallery featuring 12 rotating installations from local painters, photographers, and designers.
The overall theme leading designers from creation to completion—contemporary, curated, but comfortable. Connecting to Girard’s art and culture theme, Renzo Piano’s library in the The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—a comfortable hangout space with beautifully detailed structure by the Italian master museum designer, but furnished very comfortably—served as the inspiration for the Girard’s Eames Penthouse. The common area open to all residents features a high-end kitchen, fireplace, meeting area, and a library with a wall of books and custom woven flat weave rugs.
Every piece of artwork in the building has a story. In the interest of artistic authenticity, the ornately hand-painted tapestry hanging by the fireplace was purchased from a street artist in picture-perfect San Miguel de Allende, Mexico by developer Peter Roth himself. “I saw that piece and thought, this would look perfect on the wall in the penthouse living room, so I rolled it up and carried it back to Boston under my arm,” explained Roth.
Just off the common penthouse, the Girard’s roof terrace features breathtaking city skyline views, grill stations, and Bertoia diamond chairs for lounging. Other amenities include two conference rooms— the “Charles” and the “Ray”, a fitness center, underground parking, a pet spa, and a 3600-square-foot ground floor restaurant space. A smartphone-engaged intercom system allows residents to video chat with a guest in the foyer from halfway around the world.
Topping off the unique amenities, residents can reserve a fully-furnished private guest suite for their friends and family. “The idea is to use space creatively. It has been incredibly popular with single residents whose family and friends visit on occasion, but not enough that they would need a two bedroom unit,” says Roth. With the ongoing proposed changes to the Airbnb regulation, this thoughtful amenity space is worth its weight in gold.
Girard’s designers and architects committed to delivering the best in category condo quality finishes for the apartments themselves. The little touches go a long way. Rental units range from 547 to 1,644 square feet, boasting storage galore, customizable closets, floor-to-ceiling windows, an accent wall program, and a Nest thermostat. One-bedroom units start at $2,950 per month.