Posts tagged with "Roman and Williams":

Placeholder Alt Text

The Met taps wHY for a $70 million renovation of the Rockefeller Wing

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has revealed a $70 million revamp of its Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, which hosts fine art from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. Thai architect Kulapat Yantrasast, founder of New York-based wHY Architecture, has been selected to update the wing’s 40,000 square feet of galleries as part of a master plan to modernize the museum ahead of its 150th birthday in 2020. The renovation, slated to begin in 2020 and finish in 2023, will reorganize and celebrate pieces that, when the Rockefeller Wing opened in 1982, were described as being from “the primitive world.” Once wHY completes the overhaul, each gallery in the wing will be flushed with natural light and use the vernacular architecture of the region represented within. From the renderings (the project has only just entered the schematic design phase and may still change), wHY has chosen to cover the ceiling of each gallery in white “ribs.” The walls, partitions, and plinths in each space will share the same stone-like color, creating an unobtrusive yet naturalistic space for viewing the art. As the Met director Max Hollein laid out at a press conference this morning, the goal of renovating the Rockefeller Wing was to better integrate the intertwined histories of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas with the rest of the Met’s collection. The Rockefeller Wing presents art from over half of the globe in a single place, and the history of the artifacts therein is deeply connected with that of Greece, Rome, and every other place typically explored in the “mainstream” art history canon. With the new galleries, said Hollein, this art was coming out of the “heart of darkness,” both literally and figuratively. Embarking on an ambitious plan to reorganize the museum’s galleries would have seemed absurd a year ago, when the Met was struggling to hit its financial goals and growth was stagnant. According to the Met’s president and chief executive Daniel H. Weiss, revenue has been up 41 percent after the museum instituted a mandatory admissions policy for non-New Yorkers in March. The Rockefeller announcement also coincides with Hollein’s 100th day on the job and the Met is hoping that the stabilization of its income and leadership will allow the institution to focus on reactivating its expansion plans and acquiring new contemporary art. Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors is handling a $22 million renovation of the museum’s British decorative arts and sculpture galleries, expected to open in 2020. A $150 million skylight replacement in the European Paintings galleries has closed off half the wing and is expected to wrap up in 2022, but will bathe works by the Dutch masters in the unparalleled light once complete. Perhaps most excitingly, David Chipperfield’s $600 million redevelopment of the Southwest Wing may be back on the table, as the museum is currently scoping out its fundraising options.
Placeholder Alt Text

Swedish photo museum plans its first New York City outpost

The Church Missions House, a historic, Renaissance revival building located at 281 Park Avenue South in New York City, will soon be the new home of Fotografiska. The Stockholm-based photography museum is scheduled to open an outpost in New York in spring 2019. The organization has chosen New York–based CetraRuddy to lead the design makeover and restoration of the landmarked space. Other collaborators on the project include Roman and Williams, which will design an avant-garde restaurant and bar on the second floor, Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, which will preserve and restore the stained-glass windows and limestone and granite facade of the building, and Linq, a tech firm that will design a multi-sensory experience for visitors using flavor, scent, and art. Fotografiska, which views sustainability as a core part of its philosophy, strives to use the power of photography to leave a significant impact on the world. “By following our vision of inspiring a more conscious world, we aim to raise the level of awareness and question what we eat, drink, and take for granted—nudging society towards more sustainable habits,” states Fotografiska on its website. The six-story Church Missions House building will further enhance the cultural significance of Fotografiska and the surrounding Gramercy neighborhood. Built toward the end of the 19th century, the extravagant facade embodies an era in which New York City became a center for art, architecture, and creativity, and it has housed numerous offices and non-profit organizations in the years since. The building is also recognized for its role in the Anna Delvey story, where in 2017, the New York City socialite was arrested on six charges of grand larceny for trying to swindle her way into owning the building by scamming wealthy business acquaintances and hotels. The building’s Italianate style is evident in its arched windows, elegant columns, and decorative enrichments—including elaborate cornices and balustrades. Although the building is located in the midst of lofty skyscrapers and bustling city blocks, it conjures images of the elegant Italian villas of the Renaissance, while at the same time providing the city with valuable restaurant, gallery, and exhibition space. As swaths of Midtown Manhattan continue to disintegrate beneath the rapidly expanding, corporate-run metropolis, the landmark building at 281 Park Avenue is becoming more prominent than ever before. “We have been looking for the right New York location for a while, and the Park Avenue South space is a great opportunity for us to finally start to change the world in the spirit of Fotografiska,” said Geoffrey Newman, project manager and shareholder of Fotografiska New York, in a recent press release.
Placeholder Alt Text

Anthony Bourdain, 1956-2018, was a budding developer and an astute observer of the urban condition

Anthony Bourdain was a culinary maverick, gifted writer, engaging TV host and, as one Vassar College graduate put it, “a foodie who wasn’t insufferable.”

He was also a budding developer, sophisticated architecture patron and astute observer of the urban condition.

Bourdain, who took his own life last week in France, was well known for his writing about the restaurant industry, including his bestseller, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, and his television shows that explored the people, places and cuisines of faraway cultures, most recently Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on CNN.

He also had a vision of building a global food market for New York City, a place that would feature 100 vendors from around the world serving the fare they know best, including “hawker food” as found in Thailand and South America. inspired by a food hall in Singapore

Inspired by a food hall in Singapore, Bourdain Market was going to be the retail anchor for the redevelopment of Pier 57 off West 15th Street in Chelsea, with Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors as designer of the food market. Announced in 2014, the 155,000-square-foot project would have been a food lovers’ paradise, the culmination of everything Bourdain gleaned from his world travels.

Bourdain got far enough in the design stage to reveal enticing renderings of his proposed food emporium, with a farmer’s market, Asian-style night market, bakery, oyster bar and beer garden on the roof.

But he ran into problems getting the project off the ground and disclosed last December that it wasn’t going to happen at that location. One problem was obtaining visas for all the people from other countries needed to bring the market to life. Bourdain also said Pier 57 was a complicated site and that he never had a lease with the developers.

“Launching what is admittedly a very ambitious venture has proven to be challenging at every turn,” he said in a statement obtained by Eater NY. “It seems increasingly clear that in spite of my best efforts, the stars may not align at Pier 57.” Google now leases the one-time ocean liner pier.

Bourdain said in his statement last December that he still hoped to carry out the project elsewhere in New York City, as long it’s true to his vision.

“I promised a certain kind of market to New Yorkers and to potential vendors, and if that vision becomes clouded, diluted or compromised, it is no longer something that our city needs,” he stated. “I remain hopeful that New York will someday have such a market – I still passionately wish to create this resource that New Yorkers deserve.”

On Friday, the founders of Roman and Williams, Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, expressed sorrow about Bourdain’s passing.

“We are deeply sadden[ed]] and heartbroken by the loss of our dear friend and collaborator Tony,” they wrote in their Roman and Williams Guild page on Facebook. “He pushed the limit with everything he did and taught us to open our hearts to new adventures, human connections and explore the unknown. A true pioneer and culinary innovator. We are blessed for the time we had with him.”

Their message was one of many ways people reacted to the news of Bourdain’s death in a hotel room at age 61. In New York, mourners created impromptu memorials with flowers and notes outside two now-closed locations of Brasserie Les Halles, where he once worked. On Amazon, sales of Bourdain’s books skyrocketed. At least two restaurants announced plans to raise money to aid suicide prevention programs, in Bourdain’s memory.

 

In their tributes, more than a few fans referred to Bourdain’s role as an urban raconteur, highlighting the places where people come together to enjoy food and each other’s company.

“He taught us about food—but most importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown,” tweeted former President Barack Obama, who had noodles and beer with Bourdain during a Parts Unknown episode filmed in Hanoi.

“He brought the world into our homes and inspired so many people to explore cultures and cities through their food,” tweeted celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

“I watched his show when I was in space,” recalled astronaut Scott Kelly. “It made me feel more connected to the planet, its people and cultures…He inspired me to see the world up close.”

In his TV programs, Bourdain didn’t just feature the restaurants catering to rich people. He sought out places that serve everyday fare for the masses—pizza and hotdogs in Chicago, falafel in Dearborn, lake trout in Baltimore. He went to depressed areas so he could look at the underbelly of cities, just like he wrote about the underbelly of the restaurant world. Along the way, he shared his opinions about what keeps cities alive, and what doesn’t.

One of Bourdain’s most memorable programs was a No Reservations episode for The Travel Channel called “The Rust Belt,” which he also referred to as “The Fucked Up Cities Show.” In it, he visited three downtrodden cities, Buffalo, Detroit and Baltimore, to see what lessons they hold.

“I think that troubled cities often tragically misinterpret what’s coolest about themselves,” he wrote on his blog afterwards. “They scramble for cure-alls, something that will 'attract business,' always one convention center, one pedestrian mall or restaurant district away from revival. They miss their biggest, best and probably most marketable asset: their unique and slightly off-center character.”

He was big on travel. “If I am an advocate for anything, it is to move,” he said. “As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes, or at least eat their food.”

Bourdain was reportedly working on a documentary about Detroit when he died. He admired the resilience of its residents working to recover from hard times, and he wondered what that recovery might look like. He was a champion of authenticity in a world consumed by fads.

“One only need look at New York’s Lower East Side, or Meat District, to see what’s possibly coming down the pike for Detroit when it inevitably 'recovers.' What’s coming down the pike for all of us,” he blogged in 2013.

“Empty lots and burned out buildings are bad. But are cupcake shops, galleries and artisanal baristas necessarily better? Maybe, probably, but maybe not. And we better ask ourselves if that’s what we want.”

Bourdain’s writing was full of caveats like that. He didn’t have all the answers. And he never got to open his global food market. But he left behind a body of work—and a legion of fans and collaborators—that make it possible to see what’s most promising about cities, and how to capitalize on them.

Placeholder Alt Text

At Roman and Williams' flagship restaurant-store, everything is for sale

As restaurants try to drum up alternative revenue and traditional retail outlets continue to feel the squeeze from online shopping, Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors has brought the best of both worlds at their new flagship store in SoHo. The 7,000-square-foot design store, café, and flower shop, neé Roman and Williams Guild, is a showcase of Roman and Williams’ work. Here, diners can lick the plate clean and then buy it. Roman and Williams is well known for their work at the Standard Highline and ACE Hotels as well as high-end residential projects. Expanding into a consumer-facing brick-and-mortar space in an expensive Manhattan neighborhood seemed like a natural progression. The 44-seat La Mercerie café within the Guild is built out with pieces from Roman and Williams' new Founding Collection, and everything is for sale. The café’s light interior palette of blonde wood and pastel blues, described by Roman and Williams as “watery-blue cast, pale-gray floors and an indigo enameled kitchen” matches the exterior of the landmarked building. But walk to the back of the restaurant and through the arched threshold, and those muted colors are replaced by deeper hues of blue and a more rustic tone in the back showroom. This is where interested customers can pick up pieces in a more traditional design setting, with a heavy emphasis on wood, leathers, and fabrics. The Guild also houses a flower shop helmed by local botanist Emily Thompson, and her arrangements can be found throughout the entirety of 53 Howard Street.
Placeholder Alt Text

Roman & Williams revive eclectic Americana with a redesign of Freehand Miami's restaurant and bar

Ah, the elusive art of tasteful mismatching. Design studio Roman & Williams exhibited the skill in spades in their recent redesign of Freehand Miami hostel’s restaurant and bar, 27. The lounge-style eatery is dappled in the bright motifs of their custom hand-drawn pieces, hand-selected local artwork, and vintage wallpaper in keeping with the hotel’s eclectic Americana vibe. In place of cookie-cutter tables and chairs is lounge seating, couches and even wicker furniture draped in textiles and upholstery that clash brilliantly. Housed in a classic 1930s art deco building and inspired by the now-defunct Indian Creek Hotel, the Freehand is one of those places where you’ll find a pineapple-shaped table lamp and bunk beds draped with woven threadbare coverlets. Working together as set designers for prominent Hollywood films, Stephen Alesch and his wife Robin Standefer founded Roman & Williams in 2002 after actor Ben Stiller asked them to design his home in Los Angeles. Alesch and Standefer drew on their experience designing the interiors of iconic boutique hotel destinations such as Ace Hotel New York, The Standard Highline, and the historic The Highline Hotel. A far cry from the over-polished, antiseptic feel of most hotels, the Freehand Miami’s new restaurant reads like a residence whose owner brings home a few too many souvenirs from his  South American sojourns. With its distressed wooden ceilings and hodgepodge though nonetheless precision-selected furniture, the Freehand is redolent of a coastal summer camp where everyone is on first-name terms and the margaritas flow freely.
Placeholder Alt Text

Developer Taps Starchitects, Baz Luhrmann For Miami Cultural & Residential District

A tired strip along Collins Avenue in Miami, once populated by swanky hotels, will soon be returned to its former glory days. The Miami Herald reported that Argentinian developer Alan Faena is moving forward with his grand vision for this ghostly side of town, dubbed the "Faena District Miami Beach," which will consist of an elaborate mix of residential, hotels, retail, and cultural space. Modeled after his successful transformation of the Puerto Madero district in his hometown of Buenos Aires, this new plan aims to turn this washed up, beachfront stretch into a bustling cultural and residential neighborhood. And to accomplish this, Faena has enlisted the help of big name architects such as Norman FosterRem Koolhaas, and Roman & Williams. The developer just broke ground on the first phase:  A lavish 18-story condo tower designed by Foster + Partners with apartments, ranging from 4,000 to 18,000-square feet in size, and costing up to $50 million. Across the street, Koolhaas' OMA will design a cultural center with a domed auditorium and an underground parking garage with shops on ground floor. The firm will also overhaul the understated Atlantic Beach Hotel and turn it into an open courtyard building for retail. The developer has also purchased the run down Saxony Hotel and asked Roman & Williams to renovate the interior of the historic landmark. And apparently designers aren't the only creatives coming on board this project. Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann—of the flashy, over-the-top productions, such as The Great GatsbyMoulin Rouge, and Romeo and Juliette—will work in some currently-vague capacity, along with his wife Catherine Martin, in what the Herald has called a “creative role’’ at the hotel. Should we expect to find his visual spectacles projected on walls of suites playing to soundtracks by Jay-Z?
Placeholder Alt Text

PRODUCT> Roman and Williams for Waterworks

Though the ten-year-old design firm Roman and Williams has worked on high profile projects for NYC's Ace Hotel and the Breslin restaurant, The Standard Hotel and its "iconic" Boom Boom Room, the new food hall for Facebook's campus, celebrity homes for Ben Stiller and Gwyneth Paltrow as well as their own two homes/design laboratories, founders Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch have never launched a product line of their own. For their very first collection they collaborated with Waterworks on R.W. Atlas, a series of industrial yet elegant bathroom fixtures inspired by traditional American craftsmanship. A marble slab tops the Metal Two Leg Single Washstand (below), an Unlacquered Brass stunner that speaks to the collection's overall masculine/feminine power play. “R.W. Atlas is part of our ongoing interest in embracing the idea of American utility, but imbuing that with a sense of glamour and sophistication,” explains Standefer, principal of Roman and Williams. Like the rest of the collection, its primary components are made from brass and are available in a variety of finishes, including Burnished Nickel and Carbon. We appreciate the attention to detail in the knurling on the Single Hook and the Volume Control Valve as well as the consistency of aesthetic in the Exposed Thermostatic System. "This product marries a heritage of great American design perspective with decades of experience engineering and producing the highest quality products. Throughout the process, we were inspired by the idea of utilitarian objects that are made exceptionally well and that work beautifully for generations," said Peter Sallick, Waterworks’ CEO. While each piece is a genuine thing of beauty - a great example of what can happen when good design and quality craftsmanship come together - we wonder whether an entire bathroom-full of R.W. Atlas pieces would look like the set of some steampunk fantasy - albeit a very elegant one. Depending on your taste that might be precisely what you're going for, though we advise being choosey and balancing the Exposed Thermostatic Valve with Metal Wheel Handles, for example, with the comparatively simpler Wall Mounted Lavatory Faucet with Metal Lever Handles.