Premier Hospitality

Kixby Hotel New York

Written by Roma Publications

Kixby Hotel

Kixby Hotel seamlessly blends past and present with compelling design, vintage influence and local art. The 195 guest rooms and suites of the hotel embody the relaxed sophistication of the New York City lifestyle, with interiors that echo its unique heritage and present-day New York touches. The hotel offers an artfully inspired stay filled with effortless luxuries.

PREMIER HOSPITALITY INTERNATIONAL chatted to Shawn Sullivan, Partner, Rockwell Group, to get a closer look at the design of Kixby Hotel.

What was the brief you were given?

“Rockwell Group was asked to conceive a cohesive design for the hotel’s public spaces – the lobby, lobby lounge, restaurant, and rooftop. The client asked us to draw upon the building’s history as the luxury Collingwood hotel when it first opened in 1901, which we paid attention to throughout the entire design process. Black Tap required us to create a more branded approach with a dedicated Black Tap entrance.”

How did you get involved with this project?

“Rockwell Group has a longstanding relationship with the hotel owners. I’ve also known the Black Tap team for a few years, and we worked together previously on two other locations: Las Vegas and Singapore. So it was exciting to work with two clients on a project that merges together.”

What was the timescale on the project?

“Conceptual studies started late 2017. We designed the Lookup rooftop and Black Tap restaurant in 2018 and the spaces opened in phases in 2019.”

What are the standout design elements?

“The overall look and feel for the lobby pulls from the architecture of the hotel’s original Beaux Arts façade and members’-only clubs, bringing in molding, muted colours, and modern takes on traditional furniture. We also drew influences from historic New York, juxtaposing classic and modern urban elements. For example, the entry features an illuminated, bronze screen inspired by old New York storefront gates separates the elevator vestibule from a small lounge beyond the check-in area.

“Smoothing the transition to Black Tap- the cocktail lounge- has a gritty, sophisticated feeling, with a dark palette that features gold accents, exposed brick, charred black wood walls in a chevron patter, and artwork by contemporary muralist Fumero. Here, we also added a bar with a back comprised of a metal mesh screen, separating the space into a main lounge and private lounge beyond the bar.

“The transition from the lobby and lounge to Black Tap is a total departure from the sophisticated old world style. We introduced an 80’s mix-tape vignette, wrapping all three walls with 4,000 old cassette tapes. The restaurant also features the brand’s signature CrazyShake Bar, which is covered in a subway white tile bar die and stainless steel top. Custom monochrome flooring, oversized neon accents, and street art-inspired installations add to the urban feel.”

What were the main challenges on the project?

“It can often be challenging to see solutions and opportunities that may not have been immediately apparent. For example, during demolition, we uncovered brick archways that lead to an interior courtyard attached to the lobby bar. This gave us the opportunity to provide outdoor seating in the summer. Circumnavigating unforeseen discoveries often leads to unexpected opportunities. There was also the exciting challenge of seamlessly blending Black Tap’s street-art inspired black and white aesthetic with a Beaux-Arts inspired, elegant hospitality offering.”

 How important was it to be involved with the project?

“Rockwell Group had an amazing opportunity to create a collection of spaces that brings a new social experience to the hotel. We were in the unique position to provide a fresh point of view for the property while also animating and celebrating the hotel when it originally opened. Furthermore, the hotel offers new F&B concepts from Black Tap in the cocktail lounge and rooftop. So we were also incredibly gratified to continue our collaboration with their team and invent something new for the brand.”

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