New York Palace Hotel

September 9, 2014
Photo courtesy of Lasvit
Photo courtesy of Lasvit

The New York Palace, a luxury Midtown hotel on the corner of 50th & Madison, recently completed a $140 million redesign. The renovation transformed the property’s premier rooms and suites in The Towers – a hotel-within-a-hotel – as well as upgrading its lobbies and specialty suites and creating six new restaurants and bars.

Decorative lighting played a major role in setting the right tone for each space – a carefully judged blend of Madison Avenue history and contemporary, high-end hospitality. In particular, four specially created pieces by Czech glass manufacturer Lasvit were used in different locations throughout the hotel; the timeless beauty of glass providing a traditional edge that is tempered and tailored to suit a more modern design aesthetic.

One of the first pieces guests encounter is the golden bubbles of Aurum in the hotel’s main lobby. Interior designers Champalimaud transformed the space, giving it a brighter, more contemporary feel by streamlining and redefining the existing architectural elements. To lighten the room, they deployed a neutral colour pallet and layers of gold leaf trim. Aurum takes centre stage, its glass bubbles, suspended in air, transform its surroundings, bringing light and warmth to the space. Created by Lasvit’s in-house designer, Jitka Kamencová Skuhrava, the piece took inspiration from nature – in bird nests and clusters of sea-grass.

Another original space, the Lobby Lounge is located near the hotel’s 51st street entrance and provides a relaxing respite from the hustle and bustle of New York City. The light reflected from the hand-wrought bronze sconces lining the lounge’s rich macassar ebony walls creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. The new design allows for an easy transition from morning coffee to afternoon tea and on to the evening’s cocktail service.

“In reconstructing The New York Palace’s main Lobby, we wanted to both honour the hotel’s classic and historical elements and add a modern edge,” says Alexandra Champalimaud, President and Principal Designer of Champalimaud. “Now, the Lobby acts more as a transitional space. Previously, it was large, but undefined. There was not an obvious place to congregate. With the addition of [new bar] Trouble’s Trust and the Lobby Lounge, there are designated, energetic spaces to meet.”

The dark leather seats and stately carpets of the lounge are brought to life by Dandelion, an explosion of bubbles creating a warm, intimate space in an otherwise dark, serene interior. Designed by Libor Sošťák, Dandelion combines hand-blown glass bubbles in tones of amber and smoke, together radiating a warm golden glow filled with dynamic energy.

New York-based architecture and interior design firm BBG-BBGM (now part of HOK) was retained to create a comprehensive master plan for the re-use of the hotel’s public spaces, including another of the hotel’s bars, Tavern 51. Here, Glass Beads, a linear glass art sculpture runs above the serving area. The sculpture is inspired by beads on thread and features hollow spheres in amber, yellow and clear glass, evoking a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

BBG-BBGM were also responsible for updating one of the hotel’s (indeed one of the world’s) most expensive suites, a room with breathtaking vistas of the Empire State Building and Manhattan skyline. Lasvit’s Champagne Rain is the centerpiece of the space. Inspired by its luxurious namesake, the three-ring reflective installation features colourful hand-blown droplets cascading from the ceiling, almost capturing the rush of champagne bubbles to the brim of a flute – a suitably impressive toast to the magnificent rebirth of this New York classic.