To create a new, very modern ‘classic’ in Manhattan, at the exact point where SoHo borders Little Italy and Chinatown, it took the work and experience of a prestigious team: an art collector client, Aby Rosen, an influential creative director with great experience in the hotel business, Anda Andrei, the BBB Beyer Blinder Belle architectural firm for the architectural and functional restoration of the 12-story building situated in one of the few remaining authentic SoHo streets, and the Danish designers of Space Copenhagen with their subdued, refined atmospheres, careful selection of personalized vintage furniture and Scandinavian touch. And last but not least, numerous works by artists including Holly Fowler, Alexander Calder, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Katie Yang and Dan Attoe, an integral part of the whole project.
A collaborative project which, as Anda Andrei explains, “intended to create a timeless place”, which nonetheless seems very contemporary. You make the first inevitable contact with art when you approach the building, which was constructed in 1961 as a postal deposit and was subsequently converted into a hotel in 1992: the gigantic 15 by 45 meter mural on the side, developed by the Groundswell collective with the collaboration of Jeff Koons, is an exuberant homage to the history and culture of the neighborhood. The empty, conceptual entrance lobby is decorated more discreetly with a mobile by Alexander Calder, while one of the neon compositions by Dan Attoe, Complicated Animals, marks the passage to the communal areas of the hotel, which are accessed via an Iron spiral staircase, a tribute to the cast iron district, which leads to the second floor. Here the communal spaces are multi-functional and host The Library, a room dedicated to socializing and work with informal décor and a meeting table, The Creative Studio, a more private area that can only accommodate 14 people, and The Blond, simultaneously a bar, nightclub and lounge, which, since the opening of 11 Howard, has become a popular nightlife spot thanks to its slightly exotic and seductive atmosphere. A more rational, serene ambience characterizes the 221 rooms and suites, in which Signe Bindslev Henriksen and Peter Bundgaard Rutzou of Space Copenhagen tried to create an almost homely atmosphere with carefully selected custom furniture and vintage pieces, as well as natural materials such as stone, wood and leather – materials that ‘improve’ with the passing of time. “Materials are very important for us – we love things that age well. We have the responsibility to create projects whose beauty will endure even when we are no longer here,” the designers remark.
Client: Soho Hotel Owner, Aby Rosen RFR Holding
Hotel Management: RFR Hotels
Architect: Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners
Creative Director: Anda Andrei Design
Interior Design: Space Copenhagen, Signe Bindslev Henriksen, Peter Bundgaard Rutzou
Lighting Design: Arnold Chan, Isometrix, Olivier Moitry
Furnishing: Fredericia, Gubi, Mater, Stellarworks, &Tradition