Search results for "Rockwell Group"
Cleveland Public Square
Cleveland Public Square reopens after major renovation by James Corner Field Operations
Ever swum in a cenote? Grand Hyatt spa designed by Rockwell Group inspired by freshwater swimming holes
Lest you think Virgin Hotel’s new outpost in downtown Chicago is a mild adaptation of its parent company’s ribald corporate persona—tempered for the historic confines of its art deco host—just know the lounge features a plush, circular “shag room.”
The first U.S. location of Virgin Hotels inhabits the Old Dearborn Bank Building at 203 North Wabash Avenue in Chicago’s Loop, one of only two office buildings designed by architects Cornelius Ward and George L. Rapp. Finished in 1928, the 27-story building was named a local landmark in 2003.
On one hand it seems an unlikely fit for Virgin, whose bushy, hang-gliding CEO Sir Richard Branson exudes an aesthetic and sense of humor that draw more on his playboy persona than his royal honorific. But there is whimsy in the original building, too. Facade ornaments depicting peacocks, acorns, and mustachioed old men mesh with the hipster sensibility informing some of Chicago’s ongoing boom in boutique hotels. “It was clear that they didn’t want a hotel that was Britannia, over-the-top,” said Diego Gronda, managing and creative director at Rockwell Group Europe. “They wanted it very respectful, but with a wink.” The design directive, Gronda said, went something like, “Don’t add TNT and destroy it, and don’t be boring.”
Chicago architecture firm Booth Hansen, led by Marshall Butler, headed up restoration efforts, which were demanding after years of poor retrofits and neglect. Many of the historic features of the original bank had been covered up, battered, or both. Designers made silicon casts of intricate ceiling panels, replacing shattered tiles that in some rooms made up more than half of the ceiling. Original terrazzo floors and a stately curved stairway greet entrants who enter beneath a relatively understated overhang.
Once inside the lobby, however, guests are as likely to notice the cheeky art as they are the Jazz Age grandeur. A custom-designed red carpet flows down the stairs, spilling into a blob by the entrance like a giant pool of paint. Famous paintings are restaged with stuffed animals behind the check-in counter, an old cigar store that now accommodates guest interaction via smartphone.
That chic enthusiasm dulls a bit at the threshold to the 250 “chambers,” or guest rooms, giving way to a subtler palette mostly devoid of splashy art pieces. Though area rugs depict abstractions of London’s Tube and signature red phone booths, cool creams, and whites aim for serenity in what Virgin’s PR material describes as “home away from home” for its frequent travelers. The floor plan responds to a uniformity of business-class accommodations. The roughly 300-square-foot rooms open onto a small entryway with a sink, split closets, make-up table and mirror, toilet, and shower with a tile bench. That area closes off with a shade, leaving the bedroom a separate retreat. In an interesting touch smartly cornered by Rockwell Group Europe, custom beds feature a bonus headboard at the bottom corner for guests to lean against while reading or surfing a mobile device.
The heart of the hotel is the Commons Club, a double-height space beginning on the second floor that features a towering, elliptical bar, a cozily furnished “funny library,” and the moody “shag room” that can be closed off with a curtain and illuminated by an LED disk hanging overhead. Wary of overpowering the space with Virgin’s signature red, Gronda instead snuck it into the details in the carpeting—though it still screams in leather touches on the center bar, which frames a kind of exploded chandelier made from silver balls with zinc and long mirrors. Amid all this, the floor plan maintains a clean sightline from the Shag Room at the building’s south end to the daylight brushing the exposed kitchen against the northern exterior wall.
Though surely over-the-top by purist standards—ceramic molds of English bulldogs are chained outside pet-friendly rooms; Branson’s self-explanatory art installation “Large Ball of Tangled Chargers” adorns the concourse of the business floor—Rockwell’s marriage of old and new befits the boutique hotel model and the historic setting alike. Is it the start of a British invasion? Virgin plans to open another hotel in Nashville next year, and has set its sights on New York for 2017.
A flagship Neiman Marcus store, marking the company’s expansion into New York, is scheduled to open in Hudson Yards in 2018. The store will occupy 250,000 square feet—or one-fourth of the retail space—at the Shops at Hudson Yards, a retail destination designed by the Boston-based firm Elkus Manfredi Architects. The announcement by the high end retailer further cements Hudson Yards as a center for fashion-related businesses.
The building’s glass curtain wall will afford shoppers a view of the High Line and also the Culture Shed, a Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Rockwell Group–designed structure that is the planned home of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Group. The three-story luxury store will face the public plaza designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects in collaboration with Thomas Heatherwick. The store will have a dedicated entrance on 10th Avenue between 31st and 32nd streets, as well as multiple access points throughout the complex.
Neiman Marcus is not the first fashion brand to call Hudson Yards home. The high-rise tower at 10 Hudson Yards, now under construction, will be the world headquarters for the leather goods maker Coach and the U.S. corporate headquarters for L’Oréal.
The Dallas-based Neiman Marcus, which was acquired by Ares Management and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for about $6 billion last year, also owns the Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York City, which is scheduled to undergo a multimillion-dollar modernization. The company is also opening an outlet store, Last Call Studio, later this year in Brooklyn.
The Neiman Marcus store at Hudson Yards will be showcased in a three-month exhibition, Hudson Yards: New York’s Future Is Rising, that opened at the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle on Saturday, September 6, 2014. The exhibition will feature models and renderings of the transformation already underway on Manhattan’s west side. Exhibit goers will receive a build-your-own Hudson Yards postcard set designed by paper engineer and graphic designer Keisuke Saka as part of the “Make City” series of paper crafts that includes New York, London, and Tokyo.
The 28-acre Hudson Yards, developed by Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group, is the largest private real estate development in U.S. history and will bring more than 17 million square feet of commercial and residential space, more than 100 shops and restaurants, 5,000 new residences, 14 acres of public open space, a public school, and a 175-room luxury hotel to the city.
On April 11, The Contemporary Austin announced that it had selected Cambridge, Massachusetts–based Reed Hilderbrand Landscape Architecture to design a master plan for its historic Laguna Gloria site. The master plan will seek to reconceive the 12-acre estate on the shores of Lake Austin, which comprises woods, meadows, and waterfront zones, as well as the Italianate 1916 Driscoll Villa. The goal is to create an ideal art-in-nature experience that will include a new sculpture park.
“This is an exceptional commission,” said Douglas Reed, partner of Reed Hilderbrand, in a statement. “The historic character of Laguna Gloria is a legacy of its terraced landform overlooking Lake Austin, the villa, its gardens, and the site’s diverse ecology. It is already exceptional among America’s cultural sites, and we look forward to expanding its natural appeal to support the Contemporary Austin’s remarkable curatorial program. It is an honor to be called on to design the master plan for what will become a must-see location for the art world.”
Reed Hilderbrand was selected by a committee headed by Frederick Steiner, Dean of the School of Architecture and Henry Rockwell Chair in Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. The Cambridge firm beat out two other finalists to win the job: Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture of San Francisco, and Norwegian firm Snøhetta.
Trahan Architects of New Orleans, New York’s Lord Cultural Resources, and ETM Associates of New Jersey are also on the design team. Local Austin collaborators include Urban Design Group and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.