Over the course of her illustrious career, the British designer Tara Bernerd has taken on an array of projects, from nightclubs and department stores to the interior of a 150-foot private yacht. In 2012, she completed Belgraves–A Thompson Hotel. Located in London, it was the hospitality company’s first property outside of the United States. Now, Bernerd has produced another edgy, boutique hotel for the Thompson portfolio, this one on American turf. Thompson Chicago, which debuted in October, occupies the former Sutton Place Hotel, built in the 1980s in the city’s exclusive Gold Coast district. Following an extensive interior makeover guided by Bernerd’s firm, Tara Bernerd & Partners, the 23-story building now contains 247 guest rooms, six two-level penthouse suites, a fashionable restaurant, and more than 12,000 square feet of meeting and catering space. The overall goal, said Bernerd, was to create a comfortable, “rough luxury” atmosphere. “We wanted it to feel aspirational but not intimidating,” she said.
Visitors enter a lobby that promptly reveals Bernerd’s knack for crafting environments that are sophisticated yet cozy. A timber-beam ceiling, wood paneling, weighty bookshelves, and seating upholstered in tweed encourage guests to linger with a cup of coffee and their favorite novel. Just off the lobby, a staircase constructed of black iron and brass mesh lends a subtle, industrial vibe. Throughout the hotel, raw materials such as concrete, metal, and brick are used in a ways that Bernerd describes as “seductive and soft” while still conveying a sense of refinement.
The lobby leads to a double-height atrium housing Nico Lounge, where a verdant, living wall measuring 36 feet wide by 22 feet tall serves as a striking centerpiece. Adjacent to the atrium is Nico Osteria, an Italian seafood restaurant led by the celebrated chef Paul Kahan. Its design includes a large open kitchen and Scandinavian-style tables and chairs.
For the guest rooms, Bernerd set out to create a residential vibe. “We wanted to keep it warm and not go too modern,” she said. The bedframes and headboards are crafted of wood and connect to side tables and a velvet sofa. Lacquered cabinetry is accented with leather, and eclectic artwork adorns the walls. In most rooms, floor-to-ceiling windows provide sweeping views of the cityscape and Lake Michigan.
Bernerd said she loved working in Chicago, particularly given its rich architectural heritage. “There’s such a serene elegance to the place, with its marvelous buildings and sense of scale,” she said, adding that she’d love to continue working in the city. “I hope we are embraced.”
Posts tagged with "Hotels":
In Las Vegas, you win some and you lose some. Lining up as what must be one of the biggest busts in Sin City history, the exceptionally-botched, Foster + Partners–designed Harmon Hotel, now has a date with the wrecking ball. The stubby 27-story tower—it was originally supposed to measure 49 stories but construction problems stunted its growth—never opened and no one ever checked in at what would surely have been a posh front desk. As AN reported in 2011, the Harmon Hotel was in the midst of a bitter lawsuit to allow demolition to proceed as some were claiming the structural deficiencies were enough to make even the shortened tower structurally unsound and at risk of collapse:
After discovering deficient steel reinforcing in early 2009, MGM left the foreshortened tower an unfinished shell but is now moving to implode the structure citing safety concerns. Alan Feldman, senior vice president of public affairs at MGM, said the company had submitted an engineering recommendation and demolition action plan to Clark County, Nevada detailing the structural shortcomings of the Harmon. “The city asked us to respond to the engineer’s report to determine the best way forward,” said Feldman. “We decided the best move is to take the building down.”The Harmon Hotel is part of MGM's $9 billion mega-development, CityCenter, which features buildings by Daniel Libeskind, Rafael Vinoly, Helmut Jahn, and others. The Harmon Hotel sits adjacent to Libeskind's ultra-luxury shopping center, the Crystals, which AN profiles in a past retail feature. Now, MGM has resolved that lawsuit and on April 22 received court approval to proceed with demolition of the tower. According to a report in Architectural Record, there won't be a dramatic, Las Vegas–style implosion. Instead, the hotel will be taken apart, piece by piece, over the next year.
A recently restored Frank Lloyd Wright house on Chicago’s far North Side will be open for weekly tours this summer, starting May 7. The Emil Bach House, 7415 North Sheridan Road, is a Chicago Landmark and an entry on the National Register of Historic Places. As a vacation rental, the carefully crafted private dwelling invites Wright enthusiasts to stay a while. Its fortress-like street frontage conveys a verticality unusual to Wright’s work, offering deep, inset windows and brick columns on the lower floors instead of the more typically expansive Prairie-style planes that protrude from the upper bedroom level. Built in 1915 when its location set back from the eastern edge of Sheridan Road would have given it uninterrupted views of Lake Michigan, the house was first a private home for Bach, a brick company president whose brother had a Wright-designed house just a few blocks north. That building was demolished in the 1960s. The house was open to the public briefly during last year’s Open House Chicago, while it was still undergoing restoration work by Harboe Architects, but May 7 marks the start of the rehabilitated building’s weekly guided tours. Wright’s custom built-in furniture, which divides the common floor into intimate areas around a central fireplace, was replicated based on original plans. Previous owners had removed most of the wooden benches and even a dining table budding off the hearth that runs parallel to the bevy of front windows. To enter the building, visitors take eight turns along a rising, winding approach leading to a front door that actually faces toward the back yard—a somewhat forceful division of public and private space that is classic Wright. Natural light abounds throughout the upper floor, which houses two bedrooms, a guest room / study, and two bathrooms. Wright specified “sunshine yellow” paint for the walls—a detail that was restored along with built-in desks proportioned to Wright’s diminutive frame. Evanston-based Morgante Wilson Architects furnished the interiors with space modern furniture to update the vibe without corrupting its historical significance. Now a vacation rental, the Emil Bach house is managed by the owners of the Lang House—a 1919 bed-and-breakfast next door. Guided tours of Bach House will be offered on Wednesdays, May 7 through September 24. Tickets are $12 general public, $10 students/seniors/military, and free for members of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. Tickets and information are available at www.flwright.org and 312-994-4000. For rental information and further inquiries on the historic Emil Bach House, please visit www.emilbachhouse.com or email email@example.com.
New York's newest boutique hotel, Row NYC, opened its doors at the end of March in Times Square. This launch comes after two years and $140 million were spent on developing the 1,331-room property at 800 8th Avenue, a collaboration between Highgate Hotels and Rockpoint Group. This hotel strives to bring the pulse of the city into the experience of its visitors and redefine the Midtown Manhattan hotel experience. Row asked New York–based architecture and design firm Gabellini Sheppard Associates to integrate elements of the city's redesigned grittiness into their hotel. Upon entering the space, visitors are immediately confronted by a twenty-four-foot-high entry space that draws off of the electricity of the surrounding area. The double-height lobby is accessible through a grand, illuminated staircase meant to lend a theatrical sensibility to the entry sequence. The entryway combines industrial and organic elements to create a space that feels both intimate and limitless. The reception area is flanked by two light sculptures by New York artist Yorgo Alexopoulos. Row's restaurant, District M, features items from New York's most famous bakeries and bistros including Payard, Murray's Cheese Shop, and Balthazar. A full market is expected to open later this year called City Kitchen that will offer additional cuisine from around the city. According to a statement from Row, "it will be a respite for foodies who work in the area and allow guests to get a taste of New York's finest without ever having to leave the property." The hotel will have a digital art gallery that features work by Ron Gabella, the so-called "godfather of U.S. paparazzi culture." The collection will feature images of Manhattan during the late seventies and early eighties. Never before seen images by Gabella will be featured in guest rooms.
Zaha Hadid has designed another seemingly-structurally-impossible parametric building form that is set to touch down in Macau in 2017. The building, which could be equally at home in Miami or Dubai, is a large block that has been punctured by three curvaceous openings. The entire mass is encased in an exposed exoskeleton that twists and turns along the structure's contours. The project was undertaken at the behest of Melco Crown Entertainment, casino magnates who have contributed the City of Dreams resort to the gambling-soaked Chinese island. The developers commissioned Hadid to create the fifth hotel located on the property, which will top out at 40 stories and house 780 rooms in over 1.6 million square feet of space. Other expected amenities include luxury retail, specialty restaurants, spa facilities, a roof-top pool, and a number of gaming areas. The external latticework varies in patterning as it crawls up the structure's facade. It is densest at its middle, where it navigates the irregularities of the design's central void, and becomes more elongated at each of the building's poles. The interior is more angular, awash in crystalline glass outcroppings subdivided by triangular grids. These walls collide with the curved base of the structure's opening to create a 130-foot central atrium that welcomes arriving visitors to the hotel. Construction for the newest member of the City of Dreams is already underway.
Albany Bahamas Resort Honeycomb Building Architect: BIG + HKS + MDA Location: Albany Bahamas Client: New Providence, The Bahamas Completion: TBD A team comprised of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), HKS, and MDA has unveiled its design for the Honeycomb building at the Albany Bahamas resort. This 175,000-square-foot private residential building takes its name from its hexagonal facade, which mimics the naturally occurring shapes in the coral reefs found off the shores of New Providence. When completed, it will be the tallest structure on the island. Infinity pools on each level create stunning vistas of the Elysium-like surrounds of the golf resort, connecting guests directly to this manicured world of pleasure. Swimmers on their own private balcony pools can imagine that they are immersed in the marina and the ocean beyond. Summer kitchens reinforce this connection to the natural surroundings while providing all of the comforts of modern technology. “Our design is driven by an effort to maximize the enjoyment of the abundant natural qualities of Albany in The Bahamas: the landscape, the sea, and the sun,” said Bjarke Ingels in a statement. “A honeycomb facade functionally supports the pools making them sink into the terrace floor and provides spectacular sight lines while maintaining privacy for each residence. Drawing inspiration from its coastal setting, the hexagonal design evokes the natural geometries you find in certain coral formations or honeycombs.” The building contains units with diverse floor plans to suit a variety of pampered lifestyles, while the architecture itself melts into the lush flora and fauna of the resort’s grounds. All images courtesy BIG.
During Chicago’s last real estate boom it was all condos, and during the following bust developers were all about building apartments. The buzzword during this modest recovery, if you can call it that, is hotels. Eavesdrop used to have panic attacks thinking about a completely condo-fied downtown, with a deflated business district. The new-and-now planned or rumored hotel for every block of the Loop, it seems, leaves us confused. Is this good or bad? Will tourists fill these West Of The Shopping hotels on the weekends? Will the Loop get a much-needed jolt of life after 6:00 p.m.? It’s hard to defend the Loop to New Yorkers, whose inevitable first question is, “Where are the people?” In Eavedrop’s humble opinion, it’s only going to happen with good design, as no one is going to stay after work to sit and sip in a cookie cutter Westin lobby (sorry, Starwood!). The glut of new projects from Hyatt, Kimpton, Virgin, Hilton, and the new Indigo better up the design ante—dump your in-house designs for something truly unique. Additional plus: most of these appear to be adaptive reuse and not tear downs—fingers crossed!
After several false-starts, plans to re-open the landmark building as a hotel appear to be underway. Jeffrey Holmes of Australian Architecture firm Woods Bagot is the latest figure attached to the project. Developers David Bistricer and Joseph Chetrit of the Chetrit Group purchased the Brooklyn property for $81 million from Watchtower Society in November 2012 but progress subsequently stalled. Selldorf Architects and Gene Kaufman have both at times been tipped to lead the rennovation, but neither is currently affiliated with the project. While initial prospects looked grim, the city has recently approved plans to change the building's certificate of occupancy, allowing for construction to begin with an eye towards a summer re-opening, a year later than expected.
In 2007, Zaha Hadid received commission from Omniyat Properties to design the 312-feet-tall Opus Office Building in Dubai. Now, she has been given opportunity to continue this structure’s development beyond solely its architectural exterior. Spain-based Meliá Hotels International announced Hadid as designer for their second hotel in the United Arab Emirates (their first is in Bar Dubai). The internationally renowned architect will be given full creative design of the interior and exterior of the ME by Meliá Dubai Hotel, to be located in her Opus Building. Set to open in 2016, the project will be Hadid’s first hotel designed in entirety. The Opus Building is a unique mixed-use complex. Two edifices make up the plan yet are conceived as a single cube, interconnected with a hollow free-form shape in the middle. During the daytime, a reflective facade creates the illusion of solidity. It is only at night that light from the interior causes the space to appear to outside viewers. Hadid will design the interior of the ME by Meliá Dubai hotel as she completes its rendered exterior. The hotel will occupy 250,000 square feet within the Opus Building, consisting of 100 rooms, restaurants, and top food and beverage brands. The highest floors are planned as exclusive, privately owned apartments and penthouses that will also receive the service of hotel staff. Meliá Hotels International assures that the ME by Meliá Dubai “will stand out as one of the most striking landmarks on the Dubai skyline.” When completed, it will be set in stark competition to other dynamic Dubai structures, like SOM’s Mashreq Bank Tower, in the increasingly luxurious development of the city’s Burj Khalifa district. Renderings Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
Miss out on your Bauhaus opportunity because you were not an artistic youth in 1920s and 1930s Germany? Now, architecture and design enthusiasts can revive their desired pasts as students at Walter Gropius’ iconic design school, at least in sleeping accommodations. The Bauhaus School of Design in Dessau, Germany has converted one of its studio buildings into a boutique hotel with dormitory-style rooms for overnight rental. Visitors can spend the night in spaces that once housed some of the biggest names in modern architecture, when they were still just students. From 1923 to 1935, the Bauhaus studio building contained 28 rooms for architecture students studying at the school. Now, hotel clients can choose from 20 different spaces, each furnished with the steel tube furniture of architect, designer, and former Bauhaus instructor Marcel Breuer in recreation of the original dormitory accommodations. Select rooms have been designed to reflect some of the Bauhaus’ most famous alumni. Beginning in late October, these specialty rooms can be rented out, according to the visitor’s architectural preference. Among these dorms, the New York Times’ T Magazine says, is a room in the style of Josef Albers that contains replicas of the furniture he created for himself while at the design school and another, representing architect Franz Ehrlich, decorated with furniture he designed for the German Democratic Republic in the 1950s. The Bauhaus Studio Building offers single accommodations from €35 and doubles from €55. But, be warned, like in the Bauhaus’ student dorm days, bathrooms and showers are communal and accessed from the hallway.
Located on the paradisiacal island of Hawaii, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) has been critically acclaimed by architectural experts and luxury aficionados for its modest yet stunning elegance. In celebration of its classic design and architectural beauty, the hotel has launched a microsite where tourists can read about the resort's history, virtually explore its modernist look, and take a sneak peak at hotel founder Laurance S. Rockefeller’s private 1,600-piece art collection. Named for the million-year-old Mauna Kea volcano, the 258-room hotel was designed by SOM's Edward Charles Bassett. When it opened its doors in 1965, it was immediately considered one of the nation’s most exclusive hotels. A 2006 Hawaii earthquake ravaged the island's coast and caused severe structural damage to the hotel, closing the resort for the next two years. In December 2008, after tedious renovation efforts and $150 million in restoration expenses, the Mauna Kea re-opened its doors with a warm aloha spirit. Rockefeller wanted the Mauna Kea to embody a blend of cultures at the heart of the bucolic Hawaiian islands. His desire was not to alter the landscape, but rather to have the hotel blend into its surroundings. The hotel's design follows the land’s natural shapes and curves and incorporates lava rock within the hotel’s structure. In 2007, the hotel received an Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in recognition of its unique open-air design, natural ventilation system, and oceanfront accessibility. The Mauna Kea art collection, distributed throughout the hotel, encompasses 1,600 pieces originating from Art from India, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Melanesia, and Polynesia.
The TWA terminal at JFK airport in New York may soon change prevailing opinions that sleeping at the airport is strictly a last-resort decision. Reports have recently circulated that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has named André Balazs—the hotelier behind the Standard hotels in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles—to develop the iconic TWA terminal in Jamaica, Queens. According to an exclusive interview with the New York Post, the terminal will be transformed into a hotel and conference center with a spa and fitness center, retail space, eateries, and a flight museum. The facility will be called The Standard, Flight Center. Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye told the Post in a statement, "The Port Authority is committed to preserving the essence of [Saarinen’s] iconic design and to continuing to work with [Balazs Properties] on a plan to transform the historic TWA Flight Center into a one-of-a-kind hotel and conference center in the heart of JFK’s central terminal area." Andre Balasz Properties could not be reached for comment. Eero Saarinen designed the terminal in 1956 that then opened in 1962, though flight operations were suspended in 2001. Four years later, JetBlue began construction of a new terminal that encircled the original building and has been open since 2008. Saarinen’s terminal has since remained vacant, with the exception of a handful of rare and exclusive events.