For many, Willem van Es, was more than just a fine and commercial artist and custom wallcoverings-maker. He was a friendly face around the industry. You’ve seen him walking the floors at the Hospitality Design Exposition & Conference and HD Boutique tradeshows and enjoying himself at the HD Awards. And as the above picture shows, Willem was fashionable, making our fashion file page for looking dapper at the Party by the Pool event in Las Vegas.
Yesterday, we here at HD were saddened to learn that Willem passed away on Christmas night on an international flight bound for Amsterdam.
I met Willem when I first started at HD magazine. He had a great personality and passion for art. I remember my interview with Willem for a designer profile I was working on. He came to our New York offices one afternoon along with his dog Johnny, a Newfoundland. If you know this breed, then you know that they are fairly large dogs. Although Johnny sat there quiet as a mouse under the conference table some people in the office thought Johnny was a bear! Good memories.
He founded Willem van Es Design Studio Ltd. in 1997 with his wife Quincy in 1997 and his hospitality career took off with work that includes the China Grill in New York, Miami, and Mexico City; the Wynn Hotel and Venetian Resort, Hotel, and Casino in Las Vegas; and the Algonquin Hotel, Plaza Athenee, and Helmsley Palace in New York. He was also involved in boxing (he was known as the Dutch Bomber), sailing, and most recently, acting, starring in a documentary, Chelsea on the Rocks, about the place he called home for several years, the Chelsea Hotel.
He always made you smile with his charismatic persona. I know he made me smile. His cheerful and positive energy will be missed.
Do you have any memories of Willem to share? If so, please comment. Also, please visit the memorial page for Willem at http://memorialwebsites.legacy.com/willemvanes/Homepage.aspx