Creative guru Baron lists 158 Mercer pad for $8.4M

Bon Jovi, Balazs have also called Beaux Arts building home
By Leigh Kamping-Carder | April 17, 2012 06:30PM

Frenchman Fabien Baron is something of a Renaissance man, having worked as a magazine editor, director, advertiser, perfumier and photographer, among other gigs. But when it comes to his Soho condo, he prefers a Minimalist aesthetic.

Baron’s unit at the celebrity-studded 158 Mercer Street, which he listed for $8.4 million last week, uses just six materials: walnut, oak, glass, plaster, stainless steel and a type of stone called Manhattan black schist. That’s according to the listing, handled by Dennis Mangone, a senior vice president with Prudential Douglas Elliman.

Baron founded the branding agency Baron & Baron in 1990. He has since helped shape the images of Calvin Klein and Burberry, directed television commercials, created perfumes for fashion houses, and worked on magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar.

Baron acquired his seventh floor unit at 158 Mercer, between Prince and West Houston streets, for just over $1.5 million in 1997, city property records show. He originally listed the condo with Mangone for $7.5 million in June 2010, but pulled it off the market about six months later, according to listings provider

Mangone is no stranger to the world of fashion. He counts fashion photographer Mario Testino and hip hotelier Ian Schrager as clients, and he was recently profiled in Interview Magazine, where Baron served as editorial director until 2009.

The Beaux Arts 158 Mercer was originally constructed in 1895, then converted to luxury lofts in the mid-1990s by an entity called BPM Associates. Also known as the New Museum Building after housing the contemporary art museum in the 1980s, the building has welcomed numerous notable residents, including hotelier Andre Balazs and Jon Bon Jovi, who purchased a penthouse there for $24 million in 2007. The rocker reportedly started quietly shopping the six-bedroom, 7,400-square-foot unit for $45 million last October.

The building is also where Mark Madoff, son of the notorious swindler Bernie, killed himself in 2010. The apparel company Esprit currently occupies the ground floor retail unit.

Baron’s 4,171-square-foot three-bedroom was renovated by the New York City architect Deborah Berke and won an award from the American Institute of Architects in 2001, according to the listing.

Along with its 59-foot living room and 450-square-foot master bedroom, the apartment features several quirky design elements. Electrical outlets are hidden under wood planks in the floor, the light switches are “sleek metallic slivers,” and the oak floors were “rift-sawed” to ensure the grain of the planks would lie straight, apparently augmenting the “modernist lines” of the home, the listing says.

Baron was not available for comment since he is in Paris shooting a commercial, a representative said. Mangone did not immediately return requests for comment.