A striking façade and reimagined interiors – both by Gene Kaufman Architect – mark Cambria Suites’ first NYC location

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    The first Cambria Suites in New York City, the premier location for Choice Hotels’ premier, highest-end brand, is now open for business at 123 West 28th Street in Chelsea’s Flower District. The flagship site has been designed tip to toe by Gene Kaufman Architect (GKA), from the gently curving façade to the urban chic interiors that will set the tone for all future U.S. Cambria locations, including a GKA-designed Times Square location at 30 West 46th Street set to open next fall.The project’s developers are the brothers Robert and Philip Chun of We Care Trading Company LTD.

    Choice was drawn to GKA because of the firm’s track record for maximizing key counts in a market with less space, more competition and higher costs than any other in the U.S. For this first New York Cambria, a completely customized rather than brand-standard 56,500-square-foot, 18-story hotel, GKA configured 135 comfortably sized suites ranging from 230 square feet to 400 square feet.

    For the exterior, GKA designed an elegant, softly-curving façade that offers a quiet contrast to the perpendicular fronts of the hotel’s neighbors, a Hilton Garden Inn next door and a Marriott Fairfield Inn across the street, both designed by GKA.

    The unique interiors were designed by GKA’s interiors team, known for creating sleek, contemporary decors that bring the city into the hotel in stylish and eye-catching ways. For this project in the heart of Chelsea, the group chose materials that recall the area’s industrial past and developed a unifying floral concept, realized in wall hangings, wall coverings and framed artwork, that alludes to the surrounding Flower District.

    Said GKA principal Gene Kaufman: “Choice invited us to completely reimagine Cambria’s interiors, and that’s what we’ve done. The layout and design of both the common areas and the suites work together to maximize open space and deliver a fun, fresh and distinctly New York sensibility.”

    While an earlier planned opening of the hotel was pushed back due to construction delays, the extra time gave GKA the chance to tweak every detail of the design to achieve the desired effect.

    A new look for Cambria
    To announce its entry into the New York market – the premier hospitality market in the country – and to set the tone for all future U.S. locations, Cambria sought a design concept that would add a sense of luxury and urban chic to the identity of its highest-end brand.

    GKA rose to the occasion, designing a loft-like lobby that is as sophisticated as it is welcoming. The reception, lounge/bar and dining areas flow easily into one another, the open space interrupted only by carefully placed groupings of contemporary, custom-upholstered couches and sectional pieces (by Munrod) and streamlined lounge chairs (Nios, by Arcadia).

    Enhancing the loft-like ambiance and recalling Chelsea’s manufacturing past are contrasting areas of concrete and raw-wood planked flooring, concrete wall finishes (by Get Real Surfaces, as are the concrete floors), fragmented mirror mosaics (by Mixed-Up Mosaics) and bronze-tinted glass. The striking yet unobtrusive overhead light fixtures (by Eureka and Marset) are reminiscent of, but more elegant than, the kind of industrial lighting that might have once been found in Chelsea factories (the table and floor lamps are by Vibia and Artemide, respectively).

    Contrasting nicely with the lobby’s warmer tones are the jewel-like colors of the arresting oversize floral wall hangings, handmade in felt by local artist Liora Manne using a needle-punch process. The images of giant flowers in full bloom, replicated in photo collages (printed by Koroseal) lining the hallways and in framed artwork in the suites, erupt with intense, bold color, reminding guests of the surrounding Chelsea Flower District.

    Upstairs, guests will find thoughtfully planned, comfortably sized and well-appointed suites that offer a respite from the city, a place to relax and regroup. Each of the rooms, which range in size from 230 square feet to 400 square feet, has a generous sleeping area; a large, functional work space; a sizable bathroom; and guest seating. Custom wardrobes and dressers maximize floor space by incorporating every kind of storage a guest might need. Plank flooring, sliding glass shower doors and, in many of the suites, floor-to-ceiling windows that let in abundant natural light, create a feeling of expansiveness.

    Completing the picture is gentle, understated lighting and soft-toned bedding, wall coverings and carpets (by Shaw Hospitality Group) offset by gold-accented draperies.

    Daniel Fountain / 28.04.2015

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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