Inside Trump Tower: Donald Trump's Manhattan high rise

President-elect's New York home has a minimalist facade but eye-wateringly lavish interiors

Trump Tower
(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

After a brutal slugfest of a presidential campaign, billionaire businessman Donald Trump was last week elected US president in one of the biggest shocks in American political history.

The charismatic but divisive entrepreneur has been the focus of adulation from one side and derision from the other, with his very own Trump Tower in New York City often finding itself the focal point of protests and rallies. But what more is there to know about this towering, gold-tinged hallmark of the future president's public image?

Completed in 1983, the mixed-use Trump Tower rises a full 664-feet above 5th Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, and contains, among other things, offices, restaurants, a hotel and Trump's very own private residence.

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After purchasing the flagship store of the now-defunct Bonwit Teller department stores in 1979, Trump demolished the original building with the intention of constructing the city's "first super-luxury high rise" in its place.

He commissioned famed architect Der Scutt to design the building, making use of sharp right-angles and a brooding black exterior to create an imposing, dominating structure that the tower's own website describes as "a world famous testament of Mr Trump's grand vision".

But while the outside is uniquely and formidably minimalist in style, the same cannot be said of Trump Tower's eye-wateringly lavish interiors.

Upon entering the building via its main entrance (there's a secret entrance for residents on 56th street), visitors are greeted by a six-storey-high atrium, with a cobweb of escalators, mirrors and brass all vying for your attention within its shimmering marble walls.

The atmosphere of this vast, bustling space is vibrant and urgent. A 1984 New York Magazine article described how the "peach-tone marble amplifies the gurgling of a dramatic 80-ft waterfall as well as the voices of those who've come to gawk at the opulent decor and the six floors of expensive shops".

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Meanwhile, a New York Times article from the same year described the intricate interiors of Trump Tower as "preposterously lavish" and "showy, even pretentious".

Moving further into the building, four gold-painted elevators transport visitors from the ground floor to those above, with one extra private elevator that leads directly to the current Trump family residence on the top floor, before his big move to the White House in January.

And it's these elevators that reveal an unusual truth that speaks to the bullish, ambitious nature of the man who gave the building its name; the tally of 68 storeys often attributed to Trump Tower is in fact a lie.

The residences of Trump tower start, technically, at the 20th floor, yet, deciding to take advantage of the inconsistent mishmash of shops and the atrium that comprised floors 1-19, Trump decided instead to refer to the first residential floor as floor 30, sneaking an extra ten storeys into the overall count for the building and exaggerating the grandeur of the structure.

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES:shoppers and diners visit the Trump Tower on 5th Ave. in Manhattan 29 October, 2004. New York's Fifth Avenue and the Champs-Elysees in Paris are the most expensive add

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(Image credit: 2004 AFP)
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According to a 2003 New York Times article, Trump clarified this decision by saying ''I brought it before the various agencies and got them to agree that I could start the building at Floor 30, because it equated to approximately 300 feet above ground." This technique, which has been credited to Trump, has been used in countless buildings across the US in the years since.

Following the controversial entrepreneur's remarkable ascension to the presidency, he has used his eponymous tower as a place to hold meetings. Most recently, he invited interim Ukip leader Nigel Farage to a meeting at Trump Tower where the new president-elect was described by Farage as "relaxed and full of good ideas".

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Trump has apparently told advisers he would still like to spend time in New York when he can. His wife, Melania, is expected to move to Washington, although it's unclear when the move will happen as their ten-year-old son Barron is midway through a school year in New York.

"Trump has spent the last three decades, for the most part, cosseted within Trump Tower," says the New York Times. "His apartment is on the 58th floor, and a designated elevator takes him from there to his office on the 26th floor."

After a turbulent and gripping few weeks in US politics that saw rank outsider Trump win against the odds, Trump Tower retrospectively stands as a testament to the businessman's tenacious, extravagant and often controversial road to the ultimate position of power. Had he lost, he would have been comforted by the fact that his home is 11 times bigger than the White House.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22:The gift shop in the Trump Tower building is viewed on 5th Avenue on July 22, 2015 in New York City. Donald Trump, who is running for president on a Republican ticket,

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(Image credit: 2015 Getty Images)
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