The Dermatologist Celebrities Have on Speed Dial Opens a Groundbreaking Wellness Space in New York
Inside New York Dermatology Group’s new integral health and wellness wing—a stunning, all-white space spanning 7,000 square feet on the second floor, replete with custom-made treatment rooms that look like futuristic pods—it is completely silent. A refuge of sorts from the fumes and fuss that fill Fifth Avenue directly below, the office, known as NYDG, is getting ready to open its doors to the public. Dr. David Colbert, the brains behind this operation (not to mention countless celebrities’ complexions, Sienna Miller, Naomi Watts, Robin Wright among them) is finishing up with a patient two flights overhead, where his office has long been a destination for those seeking his famous lasers and unparalleled skill with wrinkle-smoothing injectables.
Here, on the second floor, is where Colbert and his team of hand-selected, world-class physicians—including orthopedic surgeon Dr. John G. Kennedy; obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Kathleen Mulligan; and internist Dr. John F. Adams—will offer an inside-out approach to wellness that feels prescient in its merger of cutting-edge science and bespoke self-care. “We are not a spa,” says Colbert as he walks the hallway, peering into pods filled with IV drips and collagen beds and two cryotherapy chambers, one large enough to dance around in. “We are a wellness clinic staffed by board-certified physicians who went to medical school—there are no posers here.”
Colbert is alluding to the rise of so-called well-washing—a phrase coined to explain the trendy and lucrative self-care industry (floating tanks! infrared saunas! organ massage studios!) that boasts explosive growth but lacks the research and training that ought to back it, and offers an incomplete approach to health. “Our DNA is prevention, performance, and maintenance—at all stages of life,” he says, ticking off the list of transitions he’s watched clients of all ages go through over the past 20 years, from pregnancies to sports injuries and ailments.
Inside a NYDG treatment room designed to look like a futuristic pod by the architect Brandon Haw.
Photo: Albert Vecerka / Esto
With a five-page treatment menu offering everything from facial rejuvenation and body contouring, as well as hormone, shock wave, and phototherapy, it’s hard to know where to start. That’s why each client is paired with a physician to speak about goals and concerns. “It’s a completely coordinated and custom approach,” says Colbert, singling out his team’s programs for weight loss, which can include one-on-one nutrition counseling, as well as body sculpting services and cryotherapy for cellulite, and travel packages, most of which begin with a vaccine before a far-flung trip and end with an IV drip for jet lag. Even more? “If you’re down here and you’re getting a facial and someone notices a black spot, he or she is going to send you for a skin-cancer screening upstairs, where there are four board-certified dermatologists with over 20 laser treatments on hand.”
Speaking of facials, clients can drop in for Colbert's famous Triad treatment, a favorite among his red carpet stars for its ability to pack microdermabrasion, laser toning, and a light chemical peel into one 45-minute transformative experience. Those who prefer an organic-based skin-care session can sign on for a noteworthy first instead: Enter Susanne Kaufmann’s in-house treatment cabin at NYDG, where the Austrian naturalist has officially set up her first U.S. shop. Her 90-minute bespoke facial combines her extraordinary custom products with lymphatic drainage and deep massage work; each session begins with a foot bath and travels up the body to the face, making sure to hit the kidney and lungs, two points of high importance in Chinese medicine, says Kaufmann. “Don’t underestimate the power of touch.” With an enzyme peel and a 12-day after-care course, including innovative ampoules that tout Vitamin C, Ectoine, and CoQ10 anti-pollution complexes, it will leave you feeling, as Colbert puts it, “like a kid again.”
Brandon Haw Uses Yacht-Building Techniques For this High-End Dermatology Clinic
The architects collaborated with an Italian yacht builder and Paolo Cassina Custom Interiors for this luxe 7,000-square-foot dermatology clinic located above Fifth Avenue in New York City.
by Zachary Edelson
Courtesy Albert Vecerka / Esto
Some interior retrofits transform a decrepit space into something beautiful. Others face the opposite challenge: How to create a design that doesn’t ruin an existing space. That was the task facing Brandon Haw Architecture (BHA) when the firm was asked by the New York Dermatology Group (NYDG) to install a treatment clinic in an enormous 110-by-4o-foot hall with 16-foot-tall ceilings. Thanks to numerous tall windows, the second-floor room receives ample sunlight and has extensive views of the surrounding “Ladies’ Mile Historic District” in lower Midtown Manhattan. Haw tells Metropolis that a bad design would cut the clinic off from the city, making it generic and dull: “There would be no ‘there,’ there,” as he put it.
Haw’s first move was to condense most of the clinic’s treatment rooms into a single, self-contained pod that would sit within the main room. The space around the pod—which included circulation, a waiting area, reception desk, and small retail stand—retained full exposure to the room’s light and views. The pod only reaches 11 feet into the air, so a series of stained-wood baffles helps conceal lighting fixtures and other mechanical equipment. The pod itself is wrapped in custom-fabricated fiberglass panels—what Haw describes as a “curtain frozen in time.” The fiberglass was designed and fabricated with Paolo Cassina Custom Interiors and an Italian bespoke yacht manufacturer (most yachts feature fiberglass hulls and/or parts)
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The fiberglass panels, with a few exceptions, are actually flat. The curve is generated by the gentle curve of the pod’s wall. (In a few tight spots near the reception desk, the fiberglass panels are actually curved.)
Courtesy Albert Vecerka / Esto
The rooms themselves feature ground quartz flooring (a highly durable surface typically found in car showrooms) and a stretched plastic ceiling lit by LEDs. The digitally-controlled ceiling and accent lights are programmed with several different settings, such as a calming low-light for waiting or a brighter light for treatment. In total, the 7,000-square-foot clinic includes eight standard treatment rooms, a blood infusion facility (reportedly, they’re great for hangovers), nutrition center, and two cryotherapy rooms for -196° flash freeze sessions. (Some rooms are located in back rooms adjacent the main hall.)
Haw says that the design aims to ultimately be “serene, calm, and timeless,” and the last term may be especially apt: Compared to the old office, Haw says, the NYDG’s doctors are receiving fewer complaints about time spent in the waiting room.
May 3, 2018
INSIDE THE NEWEST WELLNESS MECCA TO THE STARS
Dermatologist David Colbert—whose clients include Naomi Watts and Elizabeth Olsen—opens his doors, plus a separate VIP entrance.
Photography: Alec Kugler
Two floors below the chic offices of Dr. David Colbert (go-to derm to the likes of Naomi Watts, Elizabeth Olsen, Chloë Sevigny, Robin Wright, and Sienna Miller), and his colleagues at New York Dermatology Group, lies a gleaming white 7,000-square-foot oasis—the newly-minted NYDG Integral Health & Wellness clinic. “We wanted to create an integrated center of global excellence for medical and holistic therapies to optimize physical aesthetics, performance and wellbeing,” Dr. Colbert explains.
Encompassed in the sprawling, pristine white space are eight pod-inspired treatment rooms, an IV room for blood infusion therapies, two cryotherapy chambers (one electric, one liquid nitrogen), lasers for tattoo removal or younger skin, and a LightStim LED bed. A private entrance and concierge are available for discreet comings and goings of VIP guests.
But don’t confuse this clinic for a spa. “We specialize in world class aesthetic, performance, nutrition and complementary therapies that enable and empower our clients to optimize their potential,” Dr. Colbert says.( Hey, if this is the guy who makes 49-year-old Naomi Watts look like *that*—we’ll take it all, please.)
The clinic is also home to internal and travel medicine doctor John Adams, orthopedic surgeon John Kennedy, and OB/GYN Kathleen Mulligan. Dr. Kennedy will oversee treatments such as PRP and shock wave therapy, while Dr. Mulligan will offer cosmetic gynecological treatments including vaginal rejuvenation and labial filling. And, come summer, nutritionists will help patients create customized weight loss programs, which can, of course, be conveniently coupled with body contouring treatments like SculpSure or CoolSculpting.
The new office is also home to the first US outpost for celebrity-beloved esthetician Susanne Kaufmann. The $850 Bespoke Rejuvenating Facial is the hero here, though there are a plethora of other options, too—a 90-minute facial treatment that blends traditional Chinese medicine principles with massage of the fascia (another buzzworthy wellness-word of late). You’ll take home the remaining 12 of 15 ampoules, too, to keep the glow going longer.
For devoted fans of the practice’s more clinical treatments, there’s the NYDG 119 Sculpting facial—a firming treatment that uses radiofrequency and LED, and, of course, should your skin need more serious attention, you can always take the elevator up two floors for your fill of Colbert himself.
Architect Brandon Haw hews a stunning dermatology
office out of fiberglass
By OLIVIA MARTIN • May 28, 2018
The 11-foot-tall fiberglass panels were handmade from four different molds in an Italian boat-hull factory. The curves in each panel were hand-drawn by Haw and then refined digitally. (Albert Vecerka/Esto)
A massive light-filled loft on 5th Avenue is a prime canvas for interior architecture. Unless, of course, the client brief requests eight treatment rooms, a nutrition center, two cryotherapy care centers, a reception area, a retail area, and a few support spaces to go along with it. Then, things get considerably more complicated.
These were the opportunity and the accompanying complications architect Brandon Haw faced when he was tapped to design the New York Dermatology Group (NYDG) Integral Health and Wellness flagship office by his friend Paolo Cassina, the Italian designer. “We grappled with the idea of how we could put this much activity in this wonderful, big space and yet somehow hang on to the light and volume,” Haw said. “With that in mind, I began to play around with the idea of these light, ethereal curtains around the treatment rooms. As the idea of the curtains started to gel, we asked, ‘What if we created a pod and put that in the middle, so that you come into the reception area along the very large windows overlooking 5th Avenue and then follow that line of windows around to your treatment room?’”
To preserve the light and open layout of New York Dermatology Group’s Integral Health and Wellness flagship center on 5th Avenue, architect Brandon Haw situated a fiberglass volume in the center of the office, which contains private treatment rooms. (Albert Vecerka/Esto)
Haw began sketching a wavy line suggestive of such a curtain and was considering a modular screen system when he and Cassina spoke with Fabio Rombaldoni of Sailing, who had worked on a number of residential projects as well as yacht interiors.
The trio came up with the concept of using a yacht-hull maker to fabricate four different panel molds that joined together seamlessly to form an organic, wavy pod in the center of the space. “It was custom-made by hand in Italy, and it was quite amazing,” Haw explained. “The panels are imbued with color and the consistency by the process itself with no external spraying or painting.” The opalescent white fiberglass panels were mapped out in Italy at full scale like a giant puzzle and then exported to the United States where they were assembled.
Haw and his team paired the subtle, shimmery white pod with bronze fittings and used the existing industrial dark-wood flooring. Then they lowered the ceiling plane by creating a bespoke wood baffle so that the eye would be drawn up to the edge of the 11-foot-tall pod and then to the sleek wood planks. To continue the airy aesthetic in the enclosed treatment rooms, Haw selected pulverized quartz flooring that is bright and a little sparkly but extremely durable and easy to clean.
Sidec quartz flooring and wallcoverings from Wolf-Gordon keep private treatment rooms bright, but easy to clean. Haw had components fabricated so that the medical supplies fit neatly into the top of the storage unit. (Albert Vecerka/Esto)
To outfit the rest of the office, Haw and Cassina delved into what they felt a wellness space should be: “sumptuous, luxurious, comfortable,” Haw said, where people feel “comforted, but at the same time get a sense of clinical efficiency.” To truly embody those descriptors from wall to wall, Haw and Cassina designed a line of contract sofas, seating, and side tables specifically for the NYDG office that will be commercially available later this year. The furniture is sleek, with unexpected cutouts and an emphasis on smaller love seats, which accommodate one or two persons, rather than long sofas. (You might have a friend with you, but when was the last time you cozied up with random fellow patients? Exactly.) “The way I come at architecture and design is all about the use of the space and lifting the spirits of the people functioning within the spaces—both the clients who are coming in and the employees who are there every day. Timeless elegance was at the forefront of this project, and there was a great attention to detail.”
This attention to detail and creative process make the paradoxical space—open and private, light and dark, comfortable and clinical—look and feel just right.
A Wellness Destination in New York, Brought to You by NYDG
The famed Dr. David Colbert expands his practice, creating an oasis for wellness and integral health in the center of Manhattan.
June 29, 2018 2:00 pm
By Albert Vecerka/Esto.
Located at 119 Fifth Avenue in the classic Flatiron district, New York Dermatology Group’s newly renovated health and wellness facility occupies a sprawling 7,000 square feet. The space includes eight state-of-the-art rooms, an I.V. infusion suite, nutritional consultations, two types of cryotherapy, collagen beds, as well as various laser and other related devices. The environment is impressive. Realized by Brandon Haw Architecture who worked alongside the expert fabrication and installation team Paolo Cassina Custom Interiors, it’s a space one can get used to very quickly.
“My goal with NYDG Integral Health and Wellness is to create a global center of excellence where natural, holistic, and wellness services could combine with more traditional medical therapies,” said Dr. David Colbert, the founder and the head physician at the center. “I like the idea that a patient could visit the fourth floor for a skin-cancer check and an aesthetic procedure and then head to the second floor for wellness-based therapies like a Susanne Kaufmann detox massage, collagen bed, cryotherapy, and I.V. therapy.”
Yes, Susanne Kaufmann is in the house! The highly praised product line is well-curated and is coupled with facial and body treatments. Specially trained in the Susanne Kaufmann protocols, a team of expert aestheticians will offer a customized menu of facial and body services targeted to the client’s specific needs and interest.
By Albert Vecerka/Esto.
And there’s more. Colbert explains, “In addition to the dermatological services, we already offered our patients on the second floor access to internal medicine with Dr. John Adams. In the Wellness Clinic we extended the reach of the practice to include Dr. John Kennedy, a world-class orthopedic surgeon and gynecologist Dr. Kathleen Mulligan.”
Colbert is board-certified by the American Academy of Dermatology and board eligible in Internal Medicine. He has been established in private practice in New York City since 1995, and many boldface names, from Naomi Watts to Alessandra Ambrosio, flock to see Dr. Colbert (unless he’s out surfing! Yes, he’s an avid surfer). And there’s also Lauren Hackney, the lead medical aesthetician who specializes in lasers, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and creating customized treatments and at-home care, based on patient concerns.
“Our clinical patients are embracing the integration of health and wellness. They are already engaged in these type of services, but until now they had to go to two or three, even more, places to experience them all. They are excited to be able to have everything in one luxurious place—and with physicians and practitioners, they trust. It’s the way of the future,” said Colbert.