In NYC, Joe Ginsberg’s Artisanal Hotel

People / Places / March 10, 2016

The coolly beating heart of New York’s Marmara Park Avenue boutique hotel is its lobby, handcrafted by Joe Ginsberg’s atelier with his team of artisans.

There’s the floor created in a terrazzo technique by cementitous resins poured into bronze inserts, the walls of seamless Carrara marble toweled on for a polished, luxe quality, and the ceilings of reclaimed, hand-dyed oak beams.

Its aim is to create an otherworldly sense of calm, and it succeeds. “We want guests to feel a tranquil sensibility – a repose from the street,” Ginsberg says. “They enter into a sanctum that brings them into another world.”

They can check in at desks made of cast limestone, sit in club chairs carved from solid walnut or benches of walnut and bronze, and pluck books from oak bookshelves created specifically for those who choose to be readers. Then there’s the banquette inspired by Balmond – and upholstery on synthetic leather in a look that mimics the embroidered designs on Spanish bullfighters’ jackets.

“It’s a haven for the world traveler,” he says.

The idea was that it be timeless in nature, with pure lines and reflected light on interior contours and architectural details – and explore how materials can relate to one another.

“They’re different in character but symbiotic in the nature of their dialog,” he says. “We invite the guests in and they have a surprise at every turn. There’s a jovial kind of sophistication – a dialog of accents and materials and design that’s supported by the details.”

Central to that experience is the entry vestibule – a place where nature and the street come together in a tonality that may look pale, but that offers tremendous depth because of the nature of the detailing.

“The tone is a light beige or gray and feels airy,” he says. “We achieved it with enough foundation of a design that speaks in a very classic way.”

It’s the perfect backdrop for a tranquil, elegant and metropolitan experience.

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Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.




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