"To have a building with my name on it a couple of blocks away from where I truly have lived, worked and played is incredible."
A year and a half ago, Natasha Koifman, who runs the public relations firm NKPR, was wrapping up a meeting with her builder client, Lanterra Developments; president Mark Mandelbaum asked her to hang back afterwards. Mandelbaum told her he was building a glitzy new condo at 263 Adelaide Street, atop the historic Purman Building. What would she think about calling the 47-storey tower Natasha the Residences?
“I was stunned. I couldn’t speak for a full five minutes,” says Koifman. “I felt truly humbled and appreciative. It took me decades to become me, so I suppose to get to this place is a really wonderful acknowledgement of the lifestyle I lead,” she says. “I love design, and I’m very particular about how I live.”
Natasha opened her first PR office 20 years ago at Queen and John, around the corner from the new condo; her current office, where she’s been for 11 years, is on Adelaide, a couple of blocks away.
“When we moved into the area, there were no restaurants, so I’ve watched the neighbourhood come to life,” says Koifman. “I’ve watched the Bell Lightbox go up and all these incredible condominiums and residents, and the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. To have a building with my name on it a couple of blocks away from where I truly have lived, worked and played is incredible.”
If her name had been Olga or Pam (sorry, Olga and Pam), things might have been different. But Mandelbaum liked the sound of Natasha, and also the real-life Natasha herself. “She’s an entrepreneur. She empowers people, she takes life by the horns,” he says. “Our tagline [for this project] is ‘Turn life on.’”
To that end, the branding connection felt perfect, since Mandelbaum wanted future residents to live fulfilling lives while making use of amenities that are both functional and fashion-forward.
Designed by BDP Quadrangle, the architecture will be defined by north panelling reflective of luxury timepieces opposite soft, feminine curves on the south side. Suites in the 400-unit tower are priced from the $500,000s, and sized from 400 to 800 square feet; penthouses range between 800 and 1,250 square feet.
“Buildings behave better if you give them personality and there’s a story to them,” says Mandelbaum, whose projects include 50 Scollard, The Britt Residences and Maple Leaf Square.
Bisha is a good example, says Mandelbaum. Located around the corner from Natasha the Residences, the condo-hotel (though not a Lanterra building; it’s a Lifetime Developments project) is named after Charles Khabouth, the city’s hospitality king. Its spicy design, including velvet walls and onyx and leather detailing, is meant to match the man himself. Bisha’s designer, Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge, was also tapped to work on Natasha the Residences.
“The project genuinely looks, feels and behaves like Natasha’s private residence,” says Munge. “
"The project genuinely looks, feels and behaves like Natasha’s private residence. It features lush gardens and beautiful transitional design details reminiscent of luxurious homes in Paris, London and New York."
lush gardens and beautiful transitional design details reminiscent of luxurious homes in Paris, London and New York.” There are black herringbone hardwood floors with marble accents, cove lighting that illuminates wainscoting, and playful touches like swinging chairs on the terrace.
“It’s very much like a home,” Munge says. “The social spaces connected to the outdoors are carefully curated with art and statement pieces, including a tall abstract sculpture by Kelly Wearstler, against Natasha’s favourite colour palette of black and white.”
“Being a woman in business, I learned a long time ago that when I wore black, I felt more confident,” Koifman says. “When it comes to my lifestyle and home, it’s more about being monochromatic,” she says. “I like that vibe of it feeling clean, so you’re allowing the energy of the room to come through versus all the colour.”
At the condo, the developer commissioned American artist Peter Tunney — a friend of Natasha’s whose work she adores — to create graphic artwork for the common areas. The text-heavy works will appear in the gym, behind the concierge desk and in other spots throughout the building.
Amenities, meanwhile, include a sixth-floor sky lobby with 24-hour concierge; a media content studio; an all-black fitness room with a texturally rich brick, metal and rubber material palette; and a grand dining room connected to an indoor/outdoor kitchen with a pizza kitchen and Korean-inspired barbecue tables. A retractable NanaWall system lets in the breeze.
"...what I love is that the amenities are truly an extension of your unit. You actually have 20,000 square feet of play space."
Additional amenities include a concert room with a grand Yamaha Disklavier piano (Koifman has the same one at home); the tower’s has a red lacquered lid meant to evoke Louboutin’s famous red soles; co-working spaces; a children’s play area and a luxury pet space (Koifman has two Labrador retrievers — black, of course).
“When you think about living in downtown, your space is small,” says Koifman. “You’re living in 500 to 700 square feet, but what I love is that the amenities are truly an extension of your unit. You actually have 20,000 square feet of play space.”
One of the cutest amenities, she says, is the old-school laundrette with its vending machines. (All the suites also have their own washers and dryers.) It’s meant for washing larger items like a duvet, but it’s also about more than that, Koifman says.
“Think of any major romantic movie — and this is very me — where boy meets girl while she’s folding her undergarments. We wanted to create this sense of community where people do their laundry, have a cup of coffee and meet.”
Suites are priced from the $500,000s and sized from 400 to 800 square feet; penthouses range between 800 and 1,250 square feet. For more information, visit lanterradevelopments.com.
Read the article by Iris Benaroia in The National Post