With a reportedly 4,000 more hotel rooms opening in New York by the end of the year, last night, we had a chance to preview one of the arguably most collaborative efforts: the James. Set to open September 1st, the hotel, located at the edge of Soho at Grand and Thompson Streets, is designed by the Office for Design and Architecture (ODA) in collaboration with Perkins Eastman and custom interiors by Amanda Sullivan and the James design team. But it doesn't stop there: its second-floor Urban Garden was created by landscape designer Rebecca Cole; uniforms are by Andrew Buckler; the roofdeck pool deck's bar is by Thomas Schlesser; and the entire hotel is an art lover's dream. Nature-inspired guestroom numbers are courtesy of artist John-Paul Philippe; interior designer Cristina Grajales, who has designed homes for the likes of Brad Pitt and Helmut Lang, picked the furnishings for the third-floor glassed-in Sky Lobby's retro cool feel; there's a Corridor Arts Program with pieces chosen from Artists Space, all playing off signs that one would find in popular tourist destinations; and each of the 14 floors of 114 guestrooms features work by a different artist curated by Matt Jensen, all based on nature and landscape. Our favorite pieces overall: a retractable screen in the guestroom created by Dutch designer Nienke Sybrandy, which features a print of an outline of a tree comprised entirely of computer code, and a wall of recycled keyboards covering the wall leading to the Sky Lobby by Sarah Frost.
Highlights of the night included catching up with our PR friends at Denihan (the hotel's management and development company) and Dan Klores; getting a first-look tour of the rooms and the penthouse; models donning the Buckler-designed uniforms who obviously stood out in the crowd, especially the male model with piercing eyes; and noshing on and figuring out the passed apps. If the cheesecake lollipops and the label on the cookies in the giveaway bag point to anything, we think David Berke will be at the helm of the hotel's yet-to-be named Schlesser-designed restaurant set to debut in November. Exciting indeed.
Want a look at more New York openings? Check out our roundup in our May/June issue.