A dream that ended just short of delivery this ambitious 12-room hotel project in the jungle of Phuket, Thailand died about 3 weeks before completion when its owner Johan Hanson suddenly passed. Each room was themed differently as partiers retreated from the pool area below to continue the fun. Storyboards show what was to be. Alas the building and all of its expensive furnishings and mosaic work have been returned to the jungle. The first image above shows an installation by famed artist Arne Quinze. It was to be a giant butterfly sculpture to adorn the building facade. Indeed an onsite butterfly farm was to provide these beautiful creatures to be released daily to the grounds.
Birch Coffee on Columbus and 96th Street has quickly become the neighborhood staple it was meant to be. Classic touches of tin and copper and dark woods give it that comfy, familiar feeling coffee shops should have.
DNAinfo Opening coverage
The WESC brand is all about street credibility. When we first came to the space we were annoyed by the noise and vibrations from the subway station below. We decided to make that a plus by adding a lighting system activated by vibrations. When trains came into the station, red lights above the skateboard ramp referenced ceiling lit in sequence finalizing with the interior WESC signage. When the train left the station a few minutes later the red lights went off and blue lights went on in sequence. Patrons celebrated what could have been a distraction.
Method Magazine Opening coverage
A comedy club design is a challenge unless you decide to have fun. We custom designed flock Sock and Buskin wallpaper with two (happy) Sock discarding the (sad) Buskin. A drink rail circled the stage so handpicked patrons could be abused by the comics. The metal Stand Up/NY sign behind the performers has a TV monitor behind it to show flames or color or black and white films. I added levels to help viewing. There isn't a bad seat in the house.
New York Weekly Opening coverage
SNAP was built as a female-friendly non-macho sports bar. Custom designed wallpaper highlights the world of sports a century ago. The ceiling is made of a vinyl wall covering which features a crowd from a 1960's football game. The bar is made of ash as used in baseball bats and has its own embedded sports ticker in it. The bar stools are made of basketball leather and the banquette seats have football stitching. A kayak hung from the ceiling features lighting intended for dining below. Old photos of sports teams and trophies bought at flea markets complete the story.
Bantam was a dive bar with a touch of glamor. The bar-top was an old English greenhouse entrance door under-lit and covered with a tempered glass panel. Columns were fire ratec, enclosed in glass and washed with dark blue LED lights creating a sexy noir feel. A flickering old neon Whiskey sign dominated the tented backyard. Images on film decorated the glass doors back-lit by the street lights outside.
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The summer season brings pop ups to the Hamptons at spaces that change their name regularly. Dune was Cain before Paige Hospitality and Strategic Group decided it was a great place to entertain their vacationing clientele. The short season calls for meager budgets as operators have only from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend to make their money. Rents are for a year, not the 16 viable weekends. Dune had to be fun and clean to encourage the wealthy to spend their money on bottles. We chose a nautical theme consisting of white and blue paint with lots of rope and glass fishing buoys. Old photos of 1960's Isle of Capri jet-setters adorned the walls. Large display fishing lures were strung over the dance floor. There was no time to order materials so everything was bought and installed the same day. I made the Dune sign myself from found wood and store bought letters. It and the space lasted for years.
New York Times Opening coverage
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The DL features a large roof with palm trees and an island bar. The glass walls remain but the roof is retractable, weather permitting. Seating areas cater to larger parties who want to feel as if they have been taken to a tropical paradise despite the ever-present cityscape.
The Room at Harry O's was done as a Sundance installation but remained up long after the hordes had left. It features my first use of an infinity forest. The back bar was made from old cowboy belt buckles. As Utah is a "dry" state liquor could not be displayed.