Gazing at the custom studio drift light sculpture that dazzles above the living room of this Tribeca apartment, designer Rodney Lawrence finds himself rapt. “It’s segments of stained glass made into these cubes that are stacked into different levels. It reminds me of the stained glass version of Superman’s headquarters.”

The description is fitting for the whole home. Before Lawrence had his way with it, the 4,000-square-foot loft space in lower Manhattan was a massive void of developer-​added Sheetrock walls with a few preserved columns from its industrial days. But his repeat client, a single father of two college-age sons and a younger daughter, “wanted to live a little differently, in not such enclosed spaces.” Lawrence’s mission became “Keep that openness, but at the same time create moments of intimacy.”

To show off the homeowner’s massive art collection, it was decided the walls would stay crisp white—White Dove by Benjamin Moore–with “very clean, minimal” embellishments to the architecture. Clusters of enviable custom and midcentury furnishings crop up throughout the loft, inviting guests to get comfortably lost in conversation. Perhaps the most intimate of these is a small vestibule just off the living room, inspired by Japanese tearooms and cloaked in de Gournay panels that conjure Whistler’s Peacock Room with its hand-painted gold birds. “It’s the perfect place,” the designer says, “for two people to have a drink.”