Posts tagged with "Hospitality":

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New York's TWA Hotel features Amish millwork and midcentury touches

Anticipation is high for the TWA Hotel. Opening on May 15, the new hotel has transformed Eero Saarinen’s 1962 TWA Flight Center into a new lodging option for travelers passing through New York City's John F. Kennedy Airport. While there are a few unconventional airport hotels already out there, such as Stockholm’s 747-housed Jumbo Stay hostel, few are as all-encompassing as the TWA Hotel. Fully connected to the transportation hub's facilities, the project will feature a slew of quirky details and period-sensitive design elements. The former terminal’s neo-futuristic architecture will be accentuated by key space-age and midcentury modern furnishings. Ahead of its opening this May, the multifaceted project has been in the news a lot. While it was revealed late last year that one of the historic airline’s decommissioned Lockheed Constellation jetliners would become a cocktail lounge, it was recently announced that early reservations for the hotel’s 512 rooms would open tomorrow, February 14. Another overlooked but equally-important news item is the project’s use of custom-built millwork. Despite lower bids from international vendors, MCR/MORSE Development—the hotel's major owner and operator—opted for locally sourced and milled walnut for the guest room martini-bars, tambour wallcoverings, and other finishings. The developer turned to Highland Wood Products and Hilltop Woodworking, two Ohio-based Amish companies, for their expertise. Using twenty 18-wheelers’ worth of locally sourced walnut, 200 craftspeople produced over 40,000 square-feet of tambour wood. The skilled workforce employed age-old, analog techniques like steaming, suspending, sanding, staining, and sealing to ensure the material’s longevity. Channeling the same attention they often give to highly-intricate furniture, the craftspeople fitted out compartmentalized martini bars. Combined with brushed brass trim, mirrored glass, and backlighting, these pieces achieve a glamorous yet restrained look in perfect keeping with the project's overall interior scheme.
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The most hospitable designs from BDNY 2019

From November 10 to 12, Boutique Design Trade Fair (BDNY) hosted a lineup of hospitality-driven designers and manufacturers at Manhattan's Javits Center. From kitchen and bath manufacturers to textiles and furniture designers, more than 700 exhibitors showcased the newest hospitality design solutions for designers and architects alike. Be they for a hotel, restaurant, spa, or anything else, the products below will inspire. Plenea Foscarini Plenea provides both up and down lighting simultaneously. A rib-like panel illuminates the Pringle-shaped body, which, in turn, casts a soft, enveloping light in both directions. Rain and Cloudy ALPI Danish Studio GamFratesi collaborated with Italian wooden material purveyor ALPI on a collection of prefabricated wooden surfaces featuring a motif that resembles rain and clouds in a pixelated style. Aptly named, Rain and Cloudy are perfect for low traffic areas like residential projects, as well as high traffic areas like hotels. WEDGE Basin x Dyson Airblade Wash+Dry/Hand Dryer Neo-Metro Neo-Metro’s Wedge Basin ships prefabricated, making it easy to install in a jiffy. Outfitted with Dyson’s Airblade Wash+Dry hand dryer, it makes any public bathroom more environmentally sustainable and efficient by placing both washing and drying in the same location. Lura Collection Clodagh for Speakman Industrial plumbing purveyor Speakman collaborated with New York City–based multi-disciplinary design studio, Clodagh, on a collection of ergonomic fittings. With children, elderly, and those with handicaps in mind, the design features pulls, knobs, and mechanics that are easily used by just about anyone. Featuring sinuous curves, the collection includes shower valves, faucets, and levers available in a satin gold or silver finish. Smart Lighting x ARTIK Legrand x Samsung Just ask, and the lights will be dimmed. Pairing Samsung’s smart building platform with Legrand’s smart dimmers and switches allows any IoT-connected device to control lighting. Installed in place of existing electric plates, the system seamlessly connects to other smart home systems via wifi. Counterpoint Sonneman Aptly named, Counterpoint is a mobile-like fixture with arms of light that seemingly rotate. The arms on the ceiling-mounted fixture are adjustable and output 1070 lumens of LED wattage. Forum Shaw Contract Like a cubist painting, this collection of contract carpet tiles is designed to initiate conversation and meeting. The overlapping lines meet to form engaging geometric shapes that add dimension and character to gathering spaces. Ada Family Brendan Ravenhill Studio When L.A.-based designer Brendan Ravenhill learned that the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifies that fixtures can only protrude just four inches from the wall (when hung in hallways), he based this collection of lights on the concept of constraint. The wall-washing light features adjustable pivoting shades, or bi-lateral louvers, if you will, that allow light to be cast at any desired angle.

NeoCon East Trade Show

​On November 15th-16th the Pennsylvania Convention Center ​in Philadelphia is hosting the region's most important commercial interiors event. NeoCon East​, will ​feature nearly 200 companies and provides​ insight into the workplaces, hotels and other public spaces of tomorrow.​ ​Programming will include more than 25 CEU accredited seminars, as well as an impressive group of keynotes: Alex Gilliam, Founder and Director, Public Workshop; David Insinga, AIA, Chief Architect, US General Services Administration’s Public Buildings Service; Suzette Subance Ferrier, IIDA, Studio Design Director at TPG Architecture; and Zena Howard, Managing Director at Perkins & Will, AIA, LEED AP.
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Product>Best of BDNY!

Hospitality design can be luxurious at any price point, with these standout pieces from the Boutique Design (BDNY) trade show in New York this past week. Suspenders Sonneman Creative director Robert Sonneman originally designed the idea for Suspenders in the 1980s before the technology needed was quite up to par. He filed patents for the ideation, and this year the modular design finally came to fruition. Composed of a power bar, hangers, and luminaires, the system can create everything from simple chandeliers to intricate patterned grids of light. BildenWood Wolf Gordon This super-thin new wood veneer material offering from Wolf Gordon is pre-finished with a matte lacquer finish, and a backing made specifically for drywall applications. BildenWood is offered in nine different wood species that all have a consistent wood grain appearance. X2 Bookshelf Resource Furniture Comprised of either solid oak or walnut, the X2's block shelves are made up of 48 wooden slats that allow for the unit to be composed into a variety of different shapes and angles, to accommodate any size space. Colt MDC Encore Collection These vinyl wall coverings look anything but synthetic. Colt realistically resembles pony hair, even having the ability to brush the nap in different reflections to capture light. The 6 x 6 squares also give the illusion of being hand-stitched. Stone Dining Chair Zachary A. This incredibly lightweight alternative to concrete can be left outdoors in all seasons and is available in multiple stone finish options, as well as custom colors. Venezia Fantini One of two new additions to Designer Matteo Thun's Venezia collection. This modern handle combines classic Murano glass with a base that is available in either black or chromed metal.
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Chicago's LondonHouse opens with infinitely Instagrammable rooftop bar and restaurant

One of the best ways to experience Chicago is from a rooftop, so naturally hoteliers are cashing in. Case in point: The new Goettsch Partners-designed LondonHouse. Located at the corner of North Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, along the East Branch of the Chicago River, the 452-room hotel boosts a three-story penthouse bar and restaurant. The LondonHouse is a hybrid renovation-new-build with 183,000 of its total 250,000 square feet located in the historic Alfred Alschuler–designed 1923 London Guarantee Building. The remaining 67,000 square feet are in a narrow sliver of a building that finally completes Wacker’s streetwall, filling an odd 20-spot surface parking lot. This contemporary curtain-walled addition acts as the entry to the hotel with a second-floor lobby and restaurant, the Bridges Lobby Bar.

The main draw of the hotel for guests and the public alike is the three-story LH bar and restaurant on the building’s roof. With infinitely Instagrammable views up and down the river, the scene is a veritable architect’s dream. Directly across from the hotel sits no less than, Marina City, AMA Plaza (formerly IBM), the Trump Tower, the Wrigley Building, and the Tribune Tower. With special attention paid to the city’s landmarks codes, a cupola of the Guarantee Building has also been opened for events, accessible through LondonHouse.

LondonHouse 85 E Upper Wacker Dr., Chicago Tel: 312-357-1200 Architect: Goettsch Partners Interior Design: Simeone Deary Design Group

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AN Exclusive: Airbnb and Go Hasegawa imagine the future of the sharing economy and rural communities

  Airbnb has already radically altered how we travel and interact with the places that we visit. “Living” somewhere for a night has become a new model for belonging and interacting with a place, but it is not as simple as visiting somewhere and crashing on a couch. The new normal has also produced new disruptive economies that have affected rents, the design of our homes, and the identities of entire neighborhoods. This new model of economic and physical occupation of residential space is rooted in libertarian notions of the free market, where less regulation and peer-to-peer connection subverts traditional markets and opens up cheaper and more sophisticated ways of living and visiting. However, Airbnb is not stopping there. AN sat down with Co-founder and Chief Product Officer Joe Gebbia to discuss the future of housing and community, specifically their latest collaboration with Japanese architect Go Hasegawa as part of the exhibition House Vision 2016. Ten companies, including Panasonic, Toyota, and Muji were invited by renown designer Kenya Hara to participate in the exhibition opening in Tokyo this August under the theme “CO-DIVIDUAL Split but Connected, Separate but Gathered.” The curators view the home as the nexus of “energy, telecom, transportation, the possibility of aging society, the relations of city and local, the challenge of protection for village forests and rice terraces” The exhibition will feature 13 houses on display. Airbnb’s project with Hasegawa, Sugi No Ie (Yoshino Cedar House), started with a simple question, according to Gebbia, “How can a house be designed to be shared and to facilitate the relationship between the host and the visitor?” Hasegawa responded with an analysis of three trends in Japan. First, an aging population and intense urbanization is causing rural villages to shrink. Housing must be subsidized, but the population decrease is making that difficult. Secondly, in rural villages, community centers are the public gathering space for the town, and most members of the community use them. It is not a place for at-risk youth or for workshops, but the centers are literally the center of the community. The third important factor for Hasegawa is the ways in which Western visitors have the ability to affect the local economy. For small communities, the large nightly rents can have a huge impact, while the presence of tourists provides a ripple effect in the economy. For a small village such as Yoshino, in the Nara region near Osaka, the local economy has shrunk so much that 200 people have left and there are 750 empty homes. The solution: Hasegawa is building a hybrid community center-apartment on land donated by the town. It will be completed for the August exhibition. The aim is to attract visitors, but the center and Airbnb-rentable space would be owned by the community so that the benefits could be distributed as they see fit, hopefully recharging the local economy. The first floor serves as a living room and community center, where “the community is the host,” according to Gebbia. It could be considered a state-owned sharing economy, or at least a town-owned sharing economy. According to Gebbia, “the local experience benefits the visitors, while the community can feel pride in that it has to offer.” For Yoshino, this includes a small-batch sake factory, cedar production, a chopstick factory, and a busting leafer scene in the fall. The hope is for a second economy to spring up around the visitors, with locally-led tours and sake tastings, and other experiences. The house will be designed out of 28 types of wood from around the region, and the house’s plan and section are based on the ancient Japanese concept of engawa, a ledge that extends beyond the border of the house to invite in visitors to engage with the architecture. This public extension of the floor plane blurs the boundary between inside and out, as well as public and private. Airbnb plans to have the house available as a working prototype, and will be looking into this as a possible financial model for the future. Depending on the impact a project like this can have, but the ways in which these emergent technologies like Uber and Aribnb interact with the city and the existing markets is going to be an important issue for cities in the 21st century. Harnessing their power, rather than succumbing to it will be a challenge, and perhaps one that architects and planners can contribute in significant ways. House Vision 2016 Tokyo Exhibition
 July 30 ­- August 28, 2016 Rinkai Fukuroshin, J­area, 2­1 A omi, Koto, Tokyo
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Ironstate president David Barry talks placemaking, retail, and developing Staten Island

David Barry has made a name for himself developing mixed-use projects in retail and hospitality, including The Standard, East Village and the W Hoboken. His new residential project, Urby Staten Island, is on the market on the borough’s North Shore, with 900 units and a mix of retail, including a coffee shop, a bodega, and a communal kitchen—all supplied by an on-site farm.

AN’s senior editor Matt Shaw sat down with Barry to discuss his experience in developing hospitality and retail, and how that is informing his approach to Urby and the neighborhoods around it.

The Architect’s Newspaper: At Urby, you focus on public space. Is this something you have been thinking about throughout your hospitality work, or is it new to this project?

David Barry: It’s been a little bit of an evolution that we’ve crystalized in this project. I’ve done a lot of apartments over the years in these outer-borough locations. More recently, I have been doing hotels—what is called, roughly, “lifestyle” hotels or what used to be called “boutique” hotels. There has been an evolution in real estate as people move to urban areas but are on the move and cyber-connected all the time. I think this has given rise to a desire for urban residents to connect more to their spaces, to connect to each other more, and to move in the direction of a community.

When you’re programming those spaces, the end goal is really just to create a product that people connect with better and to provide a better experience.

We can put in a screening room and just let it exist, but in my experience, I’ve learned that there was an opportunity to take another step further and get people to connect to your product in a way that creates an emotional connection in a way that the big brands weren’t doing until recently. That’s what we’re striving to do with Urby.

Does this connection come through the retail and the shared spaces in Urby?

Yeah, I think the retail is really more about place-making and that has been around for a while: I look at Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk at Seaside, Florida, or any of that kind of stuff. We need to get life on the streets; we need to get retail mixed in and incorporate mixed-use development.

What’s a little more unique about Urby is that we are not just leasing curated retail out to third parties and creating a place, but we are taking those public spaces and being more thoughtful about how to make them an everyday piece of people’s lives. So instead of having amenities that you might use once in a blue moon, we tried to be really, really thoughtful about what is going to enhance somebody’s experience on a daily basis. We want to ensure that our commitment to programming is going a little bit beyond with things like the urban garden or the communal kitchen or the coffee shop that is embedded into the lobby. It is about connecting people around food and wellness in a sense.

I think that because Staten Island is a little bit more of a green, spacious borough, and we had a pretty substantial roof area, we thought that a roof garden could engage residents. We have a farmer-in-residence who helps residents participate—the fruits of that labor are eaten by anybody in the cafe or in the kitchen. 

How are you thinking about retail at Urby?

In this instance, we’re spending a lot of time being very particular and choosy about who we want to go into that space. Because the retail is about place-making, there’s an equation where you can’t necessarily squeeze every single dollar of rent out of it if you want this place to be made in a unique and a different way. That’s what we’re striving for—to create a place that’s authentic and that hosts regional retailers and restaurateurs, whether they’re from Staten Island, Brooklyn, New York, or New Jersey. It’s not a mall concept where we’re preleasing to national credit. We’ve learned to recognize that upfront and to pay a lot of attention to how you choose the retailers and how you support them.

The architecture of the buildings and the pedestrian experience are very important. There are thousands of decisions and some of them have bearing on the neighborhood in general, while others just have bearing on residents or particular constituencies within the building. We tried to pay attention to the architecture and how the building fits into the community, particularly with respect to pedestrians. I think we’ve been really thoughtful about both of those considerations in this project: How pedestrians experience the building and the development in terms of the sidewalks and the landscaping and the street width, etc.

What role does design play in all of this?

Design has played a huge role in this project. We specifically went to Europe to find a non-American architect for this property. Not because I discriminate against Americans, but because we’re trying to think about using space differently and have a different viewpoint on creating smaller urban social spaces and public spaces. The way the Europeans think about space with their city centers that have been so tight and so constrained with a lot of people next to each other for so long, you know. I think it was really interesting to bring in creative firm Concrete from Amsterdam. It feels very different than anything else you’ve experienced, at least in the residential sphere, and a big part of that is the European sensibility and this European eye and creating spaces that encourage people to mingle or connect.

It’s interesting to bring that into the New York area because it is becoming a world city. We’re all more cosmopolitan, we travel a lot, and it’s neat to take things from different societies. I think one thing Europe has that’s great is the piazza, right? That whole street culture and plaza culture is some of the best in the world, you know, in terms of how Europeans use their indoor-outdoor space and connect with each other. It’s been really interesting to work with Concrete and bring that over here to experiment with it.

How do you think this retail environment and improvements will radiate out from Urby?

Where we’re located in Stapleton is really the historic part of Staten Island, and so it got disinvestment and kind of went off people’s radar. I hear a lot of stories from people saying things like, “Oh my God! Bay Street! When I was a kid, we used to go there, and my father used to take me to a restaurant and we would go out after.” That is what I think Urby is. I think it’s like a reason to check out the North Shore of Staten Island.

It’s going to have a really great impact on Bay Street. I think there are some really neat things about the scale and the architecture of that street and the little park there, Tappen Park. I think what it really needs is some attention and some notoriety, and I think that once people have a reason to come to that neighborhood, it will get some. Typically,it’s done often with artists who go to places like Williamsburg and Bushwick and then, before you know it, they’re having some little pop-up things or some art shows or their friends are opening a cafe or whatever it is, and that is getting people talking about it. Staten Island had been a story of kind of suburbanization. Why? Because the Verrazano Bridge opened in ’62 and, boom, the floodgates turned on in Staten Island, and that was a period of time when the world was kind of deurbanizing. So it developed in a bit of a peculiar way, because the people that inhabited the South Shore and those new developments on the mid-island and South Shore had kind of written Bay Street off.

Why did you feel this site was appropriate for this kind of strategy?

Well, part of the strategy with this is that it’s just getting so prohibitively expensive to live in Manhattan or in the well-trafficked Class A locations. Part of the attraction of this location was that it’s formerly industrial and the neighborhood needs some revitalization. It has great mass-transit links, particularly for Staten Island, in that it’s got a subway stop that goes directly to the ferry and it’s on the waterfront.

It connects into Bay Street, which is historically a street with a lot of retail, a lot of restaurants. During most of my career, a lot of the story for the outer boroughs has been the redevelopment of these formerly industrial places in Williamsburg, Bushwick, Long Island City, Staten Island, South Bronx, Jersey City, right?

So I really saw this North Shore waterfront as a continuation of that movement of expansion to the outer boroughs where housing is more reasonably priced. This was a great opportunity to start with mass transportation and riverfront access in a borough that has not had a lot of creative investment or development in the last 20 or 30 years. The elected officials, the community leaders, and the regular old residents seem to be very excited. The EDC [Economic Development Corporation] just opened the park that’s in front of Urby, and the city is really working hard through various departments like EDC to also attract attention to this neighborhood, and I think it’s one that needs investment and has a lot of potential, and the same thing with the elected officials in terms of, you know, of Staten Island because I think that most people recognize that for a society, for a city, for a community to thrive and to move into the future, there needs to be investment of some sort into that community. They’re incentivized and they’re excited and they’re being helpful about getting more private investment attracted to that area.

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Architects in Sweden implementing solar technology to keep popular ICEHOTEL open year-round

Each year, guests flock to Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, for a chance to stay at ICEHOTEL, a seasonal hotel made of ice from the Torne River. But in 2016, guests will have the chance to enjoy ICEHOTEL all year long. The new 12, 900-square-foot extension will connect to ICEHOTEL’s existing structure during the winter months and feature a curved roof with greenery, providing space for tobogganing. To prevent ice from melting, Swedish energy company Solkompaniet will install a solar-powered system to keep the building cool during the summer and the 100 days and nights of the midnight sun. “We will use the physics of Isaac Newton. In the same way we normally make energy efficient housing that keeps the cold out, for this project we’ll use it in reverse to keep the cold in,” architect, sustainable construction design expert, and hotel, bar, and art gallery project partner Hans Eek said in a statement. Some aspects of the design will change on a yearly basis. “Ice has an interesting effect on creativity. As it’s not permanent, it makes you dare to try ideas that you wouldn’t otherwise. It’s very liberating. The idea of a project that marries this transient tradition with a semi-permanent, year-round element is very exciting,” project artist and creative senior advisor Arne Bergh said in a statement. The project is currently sourcing investments and is scheduled to open December 2016.
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Product> Home and Away: Residential and Commercial Furnishings

Thanks to the increasingly sophisticated tastes of clients and consumers, it’s becoming harder to discern a distinct boundary between residential and commercial furnishings. These tables, chairs, benches, and stools attest to the success of such stylistic crossovers. Los Andes Tables Bernhardt Design This collection of beautifully crafted tables takes inspiration from the lush landscapes and natural elements of the Andes Mountain Range. Nature and modern design take shape in the solid walnut Los Andes collection, with the raised rim mimicking the peaks and plateaus of the rugged mountains in Chile. Designed by Ignacia Murtagh. Okura Ligne Roset This curvy, cushiony settee could anchor a cocktail lounge or a living room with equal aplomb. The collection includes a footrest, armchair, and medium and large settees, available with a high or low backrest. The base is offered in chromed or lacquered steel. Designed by Eric Jourdan. Polygon Tables Herman Miller In their expression of pure geometry, the Polygon Table series provides an elegant solution to the need for all manner of surfaces, at home, the office, and elsewhere. The structure of the table’s wire base yields a dual advantage: a symmetry of form that uses minimal material for maximum strength and a logical method for scaling up or down in size and height to accommodate various dimensions of round, triangle, and hexagon tops of painted Formcoat. By unifying the color of base and top—in a choice of black, white, or gray/graphite—a single table has a subtle appearance, and a gathering of tables, nested or stacked, create an organic composition. Each shape is available in three sizes and heights. Designed by Studio 7.5. Roi, Mat, Fou Avenue Road The three stools, each subtly different, feature a French walnut varnished base and a leather seat. Designed by Christophe Delcourt. Press Room Chair Suite NY In 1958, the Dutch government commissioned famed architect and designer Gerrit Rietveld to design a chair for the press room of the new UNESCO building in Paris. Rietveld was part of an elite group of designers who had been tapped to collaborate on the new building, including Hans J. Wegner, Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, and Marcel Breuer. Rietveld's chair was meant as a comfortable lounge chair for the low reading table for journalists. However, due to budget limitations, Rietveld's new chair was never produced—but the original design drawings and scale models were preserved, and the chair has been launched for the first time in 2015 exactly as Rietveld had envisioned it. On the underside of each chair is a poem by Christian Morgenstern entitled "The Aesthete," one that Rietveld sometimes printed underneath his designs, reflecting his opinion that a chair was not meant to rest, so it didn't need the comfort of a bed. With solid oak or walnut armrests. Available in 18 fabric options and 9 leather options. Designed by Gerrit Reitveld. Fawley Bench e15 This new product family consisting of a solid wood table, bench, and stool emphasizes the pure use of material and a clear design language. In addition to European walnut and solid oak in oiled or white pigmented finishes, the collection is also offered in black, highlighting the elegant silhouette. Designed by David Chipperfield.
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Product> Checking In: Amazing Hospitality Designs

Hospitality design is all about visual impact and physical comfort. From pedigreed modernist classics to eye-popping contemporary works, these pieces will make any lobby or lounge area a memorable space. Jewels Garden Carpet (pictured at top) Moooi Fabricated using the Chromojet high-definition printer, which creates remarkably realistic images, this flamboyant collage of flowers, gemstones, and Madras motifs is definitely lobby-worthy. Designed by Sacha Walckhoff, Christain Lacroix Maison. Toa Ligne Roset The origami-inspired form of this cushy chair can be upholstered in leather for formal settings or cotton or wool for more casual decors. Ash frame, in natural or black stain. Designed by Rémi Bouhaniche. Air Sofa Luteca Its form inspired by structural I-beams, the frame of this sofa appears to float above the floor. Available in eight colors of leather upholstery. Designed by Alexander Andersson. Mixi Modular Watermark Cabinet Fringe Studio The Mixi Modular Watermark Cabinet is a chest of drawers with custom dark brass finished drawer hardware and a corresponding steel base. Mixing the old with the modern, this piece is finished with a printing process that runs fluid across the cabinet in a marbleized vintage book design. Series 7 Chair, 60th Anniversary Edition Republic of Fritz Hansen To mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Series 7™ chair, two special editions of the 3107 chair have been made. The chairs have been created with a masculine or feminine perspective: one with a dark blue shell with powder-coated legs, while the other features a pale pink shell with gold-plated legs. Each piece comes with a golden plate mounted on the bottom of the shell, documenting it as part of the limited release. Available only throughout 2015. Designed by Arne Jacobsen. Roundabout Lina Roundabout is a modular composition of seats/poufs that can be converted into bar stools, coffee tables, or chairs. Attached to one another by flexible joints, these elements can be composed into various compositions without limitation, in rows or clusters that fit in narrow halls or wide spaces. Smart joint elements on the poufs enable rotating one piece around another. Suitable for public places, offices, hotel lobbies or galleries, the collection is made of plywood, fabric covers, and high-density foam.
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Somewhere Over the Rainbow: The Pantone Hotel opens in Brussels

Winter months in the Benelux countries are not known for blue skies and bright sun. So perhaps there's an altruistic underpinning to the design of the new 59-room Pantone Hotel in Brussels. Did architect Olivier Hannaert and interior designer Michel Pennemann seek to lift the seasonally-depressed spirits of the populace through the colorful palette? We'd like to think so, although the relentless branding campaign by the client raises a smidgen of doubt. To wit: The Pantone roller bag won't get lost in the sea of black Tumi bags on the luggage carousel. Trundle down the hall, and find your color-coded room: Key fobs graphically remind you where you are—if that's necessary: Once inside, the bed linens resemble a color chip; the walls, even more so: Room service! Maybe a spot of tea will help you feel at home: Expecting visitors? Invite them to pull up a chair: Unpacked, it's time to go explore the city. What better means of transportation—conveniently available through the front desk—could there possibly be, to best appreciate the local architecture than a two-wheeled color swatch? And in case you've forgotten a toiletry essential, never fear—Pantone is here (and increasingly everywhere).
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21c Hotel Bentonville

When the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opened in 2011, it put the town of Bentonville, Arkansas, on the map for art lovers. Now, a new boutique hotel by Deborah Berke Partners promises to further boost the town’s cultural cachet. Intended to be a destination in its own right, the 21c Museum Hotel Bentonville opened in February 2013, just a quarter-mile from the Moshe Safdie–designed museum. In addition to its 104 guest rooms, the hotel doubles as an art gallery, offering 12,000 square feet of exhibition space. Berke’s restrained architecture serves as a suitable backdrop for exuberant artwork, from psychedelic wallpaper by Brooklyn’s Chris Doyle to life-size, green plastic penguins by the Cracking Art Group. “I really loved making spaces for the work,” said firm founder Deborah Berke, noting that she graduated from RISD and has long been involved with artists. “Doing a hotel where the arts play a key role is a very good fit for me.”
The Arkansas outpost marks the third 21c hotel, all designed by Berke. The hospitality company emerged in 2006, when two art collectors in Kentucky—Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson—commissioned Berke to convert old warehouses in Louisville into a hotel and museum filled with 21st-century art (hence the name 21c). The project was a hit and led to a similar venture in Cincinnati. The Bentonville location was the first to entail ground-up construction. For the flat, open site, Berke created a simple composition of two distinct, rectilinear volumes. A one-story volume fronts the street and houses public functions (a lobby, restaurant, and exhibition space); behind it, a four-story volume—the town’s tallest building—contains the guest rooms.   White walls and polished concrete floors characterize a series of stripped-down galleries, which are open to the public 24 hours a day. The atmosphere is warmer inside The Hive, a casual restaurant where guests sip coffee by day and cocktails by night. “We really wanted an active bar and restaurant area,” said Berke. A 125-seat dining room contains wooden tables and chairs and soft banquettes. In the lounge, the bar is faced in white brick and topped with indigenous limestone.
The guest rooms are “simple and gracious,” said Berke. Featuring a neutral color palette with dashes of color, the rooms are outfitted with tasteful modern furnishings and original artwork. Co-owner Brown even contributed her own creations, such as photographs of farm animals screen-printed on throw pillows. Berke emphasized that the hotel’s art program is not some contrived branding experiment. “It’s true to the soul of who these people are,” she said of the owners. “They’re smart, inventive, and delightful to work with, and they believe in what they’re doing.” That passion seems to be paying off. Berke is currently designing 21c Museum Hotels for Lexington, Kentucky, Oklahoma City, and Durham, North Carolina—promising to put more American cities on the cultural map.