In conversation with: architect Jean-Michel Gathy on designing Aman New York

Architectural and interior design firm, Denniston, under the supervision and leadership of Jean-Michel Gathy, is responsible for the design statement encased in the newly opened Aman New York. Situated in the architecturally significant landmark of the Crown Building, Gathy has embedded the peace promised by Aman’s Sanskrit-derived name in the heart of Manhattan along with with his own unmistakable design DNA…

Aman New York Garden terrace bar

Aman New York is located at the prestigious address of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street and has undergone a vast transformation to become Manhattan’s newest destination for unmatched luxury, sheltering 83 elegant guestrooms and suites, three social dining venues, a world-class spa, and an exclusive collection of 22 private homes representing the first urban Aman Residences.

Following true to the Aman DNA of understated elegance, offering sublime privacy, unparalleled service, and relaxed elegance, Jean-Michel Gathy has integrated aesthetics from East and West and curated  the palpable tranquillity with the brand’s Asian roots.

“Everything included in the Aman DNA is about being understated,” shares Gathy. “We did not fully bring minimalism to Aman New York but sincerely respected the Aman DNA in which we associated the energy that New York City requires.”

“Peacefulness is the ethos of Aman. What makes Aman New York peaceful is the high level of attention given to the acoustic treatment within the building, enhanced further by layers of panelling and material as well as the incorporation of the fireplace to create a quiet environment within the guestrooms. There is a strong sense of partnership in the design of the Crown Building and the layout of the interiors, they are geometrically conceptualized, powerful and simple. The muted colours, simplicity of materials and the overall harmony create the feeling of peacefulness throughout. We are dealing with a composition and not a juxtaposition of elements.”

fireplace and seating in neutral tones in guestroom at Aman New York

Image credit: Aman New York

Aman New York has honed its offering with its transformative influence on mind, body and spirit through harmoniously designed environments transporting guests out of their everyday lives. With Gathy’s signature use of Asian characteristics, the design transformation presents the balancing and subtle juxtaposition of many contrasts – old and new, East and West, natural and manmade.

wooden table and natural light in the corner suite of Aman New York

Image credit: Aman New York

The arrival experience sets the tone for an aesthetic journey which complements the powerful statement of the building’s gilded splendour. The double-height atrium with multilayers of the textured ceiling and wall panels dressed in natural fabrics in muted tones hints at the brand’s Asian heritage while imbuing spaces with the meditative beauty and inimitable tranquillity of nature with the flower arrangements inspired by Japan’s classical Ikebana, celebrating the unceasing heartbeat of Manhattan.

Every suite offers a functioning fireplace, a first in New York City, while bathrooms are opulent and oversized with oval soaking bathtubs, marble rain showers and double vanities. Large windows offer dynamic views, and the use of organic, natural materials brings a sense of balance and harmony reminiscent of Aman resorts of the East. Oak, walnut, and aromatic cinnamon woods add lustre to finishes, floors, doors, and custom furnishings while bronze, brass, and stainless and blackened steel contribute gleaming warmth and edgy allure. Inspired by the airy architecture of Aman’s properties in Southeast Asia, pairs of bespoke double-pivot doors have been created to form bespoke central partitions, allowing guests to transform the atmosphere, creating a lofty open-plan layout or intimate private spaces.

garden terrace with screens and firepit at Aman New York

Image credit: Aman New York

The crowning glory of Aman New York is its broad selection of exciting social venues, the verdant 14th-floor spacious 7000 square foot wraparound Garden Terrace offers year-round dining, a rarity in one of the most densely populated cities in the world. The Garden Terrace is flanked with water features adding a soft and soothing touch, and fire pits creating a sense of drama and energy. Restaurants include Arva, Aman’s convivial Italian restaurant, and Nama, Aman’s interpretation of Japan’s “WASHOKU” dining tradition, which features a Japanese Hinoki wood counter for omakase-style fine dining.

“Aman New York has included all the facilities that you would want right at your door,” commented Gathy. “The travellers can go down to the city streets and are in the epicentre of the city, but when you want to come back and relax, you have your own sanctuary. The venue we have designed is extremely well located, in the middle of the action, but still remaining a peaceful retreat.”

Respecting the Crown Building’s storied heritage, the opening of Aman New York marks a new era for hospitality and is the culmination of a monumental transformation of the iconic Crown Building in Manhattan. This 100-year-old Beaux-Arts building has undergone a remarkable restoration and transcendent design by Jean-Michel Gathy, carefully reimagining urban design for the epic conversion in order to transport guests away from the frenetic pace of the city to the inimitable tranquillity of Aman.

Main image credit: Aman New York