If every century is characterized by a real-estate frontier—the West in the 19th, suburbia in the 20th—the sky belongs to the 21st. New York City's One57 stretches 1,000 feet above Central Park—the Western Hemisphere's tallest residential building until Rafael Viñoly's 432 Park Avenue (at nearly 1,400 feet) opens its doors in 2015. Yet Mumbai's World One tower will dwarf them both when it's completed in the same year, topping out at 117 floors. Forget terraces; the ultimate amenity in these buildings is the view. Counterintuitively, furniture that sits close to the ground—sunken sofas, platform beds, low-lying armchairs—gives high-altitude dwellers the best vantage point to fully enjoy such extravagance. And when you're ready to get your head out of the clouds, "low furniture pushes individuals to interact with each other," says French designer Patrick Norguet, whose minimalist chairs have landed in MoMA's permanent collection. "It encourages a convivial attitude."
Furniture Hits a New Low
Now trending: tables, chairs, beds, and couches that sit close to the ground.
One of the still-impressive examples of modernist furniture, the Barcelona couch was designed in 1930 by the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (known as the father of the skyscraper) but looks as relevant as ever.
Starting at $9,211; knoll.com