The Lipstick Building is a skyscraper located at 885 Third Avenue near 53rd Street in New York City. The building features a post-modernist design that causes it to stand out against the square, plain structures located nearby, such as the NYC Post Office. This structure features an elliptical shape, as well as a telescoping appearance, where upper floors have a smaller footprint than those at the base of the building. The stepped-in structure of the building's levels, combined with its red granite exterior, gives it an appearance that resembles an opened tube of red lipstick. The Lipstick Building is also referred to as 53rd at Third based on its location.
Architects Phillip Johnson and John Burgee designed the Lipstick Building in an Italian Baroque style, and the structure was completed in 1986. It features 34 floors and a height of 453 feet (138 m). Bands of richly colored red granite are combined with ribbon-style windows and stainless steel accents to give the building its stylish, modern appearance. Red granite columns support the base of the structure, and help to form the first two levels. A massive lobby with an elevator bank is positioned in the center of these columns. The lobby of the Lipstick Building is also home to a coffee house known as the Lipstick Cafe.
Given the elliptical shape of the Lipstick Building, all of its interior and exterior walls are curved, resulting in a lack of corners and straight lines. This means that there are no corner offices, which are seen as a sign of rank or prestige in many United States workplaces. From another viewpoint, one could argue that every office in the building is actually a corner office. The telescoping nature of the Lipstick Building allows more natural light to reach the streets around the structure than a traditional square building. This structure was influenced by New York City building codes relating to day lighting and views.
While the Lipstick Building has been home to many businesses since its opening, perhaps none were more famous than that of Bernard Madoff, who leased the 17th through the 19th floors. Madoff operated an illegal Ponzi scheme out of this building, and scammed investors out of billions of dollars. Coincidentally, just after Madoff was arrested in 2008 and sent to prison, the owners of the building filed for bankruptcy. The building then became the property of the Royal Bank of Canada, which formed the New Lipstick LLC to manage the structure.