Mondo Marino: Honoring New York’s Favorite Leatherman

by Wendy Sy Photographed by Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan
Friday, June 2, 2017

The Four Seasons penthouse. The Getty high-rise condominium. The retail flagship of Chanel. These are just a few of the celebrated architectural projects by Peter Marino, who received the City of Design Award yesterday at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) Spring Symposium and Luncheon.

The event kicked off at the New York Academy of Medicine with a cocktail reception and book signing with Marino, dressed in his signature head-to-toe black leather, aviator sunglasses and a slew of silver rings. Guests waited on line to purchase copies of The Garden of Peter Marino (Rizzoli) and Peter Marino: Art Architecture (Phaidon Press).

Before lunch was served across the street at MCNY, the institution’s Ronay Menschel director and president Whitney W. Donhauser and chair of the board of trustees Jamie Dinan welcomed Marino to the stage to show a presentation of his work. “The reason why I became an architect is because I don’t speak so well,” he said. “I hope these pictures will speak for themselves.” The slideshow, which provoked many oohs and ahhs in the crowd, was like a virtual tour around the world, featuring luxury stores, residences and commercial space from Paris to London and then of course, New York.

“Walk up Madison Avenue or down Fifth and you’ll see one Peter Marino design after another,” said Dinan, who admitted he was a bit starstruck when he first met the prolific architect and designer. The City of Design Award recognizes creatives who have made New York the design capital of the world and those who inspire future generations to bring their talents to the city.

A piece of advice that Marino offers to aspiring designers is to “work for two to three different firms in your first six years and out of school. Get your license and then think of where you want to specialize.” In addition to running his 160-person architecture firm founded in 1978, he designs decorative objects (think sculptural bronze boxes) and furniture.

What would Marino like to design next? “Any cultural institution for music or art and a low income housing project,” he said. “I know I could raise the level of life for many families.” For someone who claims to be deficient at public speaking, those lines were worth a thousand pictures. 


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