One of the locations for the April fashion portfolio "NY, NY 10021" is the home of Lee Mindel, a co-founder of the New York-based architecture and design firm Shelton, Mindel & Associates. Mindel and his partners have designed everything from private homes and corporate headquarters to the interiors of ocean liners and Gulfstream jets. But Mindel's most personal creation is his Manhattan loft, located in a former hat factory. We asked him to tell us a bit more about the space.

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How did you approach the design of your loft?
I was inspired by the fact that, with its four exposures on four window walls, we had the opportunity to open it up onto the roof. The design solution was taken from its context, which is that it's surrounded by water towers. I created an abstracted form of a water tower that goes from the main floor up through the roof to the garden. This iconic water tower shape that defines the New York skyline became the shape that defines the spaces within the loft.

You're also a collector. Tell us about some of the prized possessions in your home.
Many items are works by architects who are part of my DNA, people with a good philosophy who inspired me to become an architect. There's a Charlotte Perriand bookcase, a Jean Prouvé center table and consul, an Alexandre Noll sculpture, and works by Poul Kjaerholm and Tom Dixon.

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Our intent is to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. There's a great architect, an icon for most of us, named Louis Kahn, and he said "Materials tell you what they want to be." Kahn had the ability to reduce space to its primal elements, so whether we're designing a new house, a corporate thing, a ship or an airplane, we try to distill ideas to their most pure and meaningful state.

For more information on the firm's work, see