July 18, 2013

Illuminating the Hotel Lobby’s Signature

The Gansevoort Park Avenue in New York

The Gansevoort Park Avenue in New York welcomes hotel guests with a dramatic three-story lobby punctuated by tremendous aubergine chandeliers. The sophisticated elegance of the black-and-white interior feels contemporary and classic all at once. Photo courtesy of Gansevoort Park Avenue.

There’s a bit of magic conjured up in a well-designed hotel lobby. And I’m not referring only to the décor (but for those of us with design obsessions, a tailored, well-conceived public space does put us in a bit of a heady trance). In a bustling metropolis, a hotel lobby can be a den of calm, a retreat from the noise and dust, traffic and pavement just beyond the revolving door. And with the right mix of color, texture, furniture, fabric, accessories, and lighting, a hotel lobby can become a transformative experience.

It is inside this type of space where you can become anyone you wish—just think of all the movie scenes featuring unforgettable characters that take place in a beautifully grand or sleekly modern hotel lobby (22 famous ones have been filmed at Los Angeles’s Millennium Biltmore alone). In a high-end hotel’s gathering space, you can play a character on your own stage. Maybe you are a posh city dweller meeting a gorgeous stranger for a cocktail, or a mover-shaker business powerhouse putting together a merger. Or maybe you pretend to be an undercover agent waiting for your next mission to commence, or you are simply yourself—a visitor enjoying the amusing past time of people watching.

No matter the style label of the décor—modern, traditional, classic, or dramatic—memorable hotel lobbies share one significant commonality: a breath-taking chandelier! Note the disco ball at The Jane Hotel and the amazing art-glass sculpture at the Borgata (both below). These fixtures are integral to the mood and personality projected by each space, illuminating the hotel entry with power and panache.

In Manhattan’s Madison Square Park neighborhood, Gansevoort Park Avenue (pictured at top) mixes contemporary architecture (sleek columns and walls of windows) with a classic black-and-white color palette played out on high-end furnishings. Overhead, the soaring three-story space is filled with sparkling purple chandeliers—the true jewelry of the room. Interior designer Andi Pepper and architect Stephen B. Jacobs chose the custom-designed fixtures to bring their vision of 1940s glamour to life in the space.

The disco ball centerpiece of The Jane Hotel’s lighting scheme

The disco ball centerpiece of The Jane Hotel’s lighting scheme was bought by hotelier Sean MacPherson at the infamous Brimfield Antiques Show in Massachusetts. He kept the fixture in his home before placing it in the Manhattan hotel’s lobby. Photo courtesy of The Jane Hotel.

Many New York City hotels are known for the atmosphere that pervades the property. The Jane Hotel, owned and designed by hoteliers Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode, is a posh setting known for its nightlife and a regular crowd of young Hollywood faces. A distressed disco ball (rumored to have once sparkled in Studio 54) shimmers over the room’s eclectic bohemian splendor and provides a backdrop to see and be seen in the West Village section of the Greenwich Village neighborhood.

The Waldorf Astoria Chicago’s dazzling lobby chandelier

The Waldorf Astoria Chicago’s dazzling lobby chandelier is custom made and inspired by jewelry designs similar to those created in the 1920s by Coco Chanel and Christian Dior. Photo courtesy of Waldorf Astoria.

In downtown Chicago’s Gold Coast area, the Waldorf Astoria’s lobby design was inspired by Coco Chanel and Christian Dior. The Simeone Deary Design Group concentrated on distinct color palettes and intricate fixtures, including its signature chandelier, that showcase timeless elegance while incorporating elements of drama and glamour in the traditional room design.

The majestic Dale Chihuly chandelier Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City

The majestic Dale Chihuly chandelier evokes a modern feel, anchoring the massive entrance into the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. Photo courtesy of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.

Atlantic City, New Jersey’s, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has a grand lobby punctuated by marble archways and a dramatic Dale Chihuly art-glass chandelier. The work, constructed of spiraling red and orange glass pieces, is just one of the Chihuly sculptures on the property.

Our collaborators have their our own signature lighting products that we think would be perfect for illuminating dramatic spaces like these—whether in public areas or private residences.

Imagine: The 15-light Jacco Maris Ode 1647  welcoming visitors in a grand foyer, positioned over a large round glass-top table whose base is crafted from the same undulating, silvery high-pressure hose of the lighting fixture’s arms. The deep purple velveteen shades are echoed by the veining in the marble floor and heavy drapes of the same fabric softening floor-to-ceiling windows.

Imagine: The graceful Montone, with its artful ribbons of stainless steel, hanging low over a long dining table, projecting a glow of hospitality over a gathering of guests.

Imagine: The Zero Lighting Camouflage as the centerpiece under which an eclectic mix of seating gathers. Sofa, chairs, and settees cozy together for conversation while the laser-cut aluminum shade casts light in playful patterns.

Imagine: The stripes of golden light thrown from the Grupo B.Lux Tree suspension lamp as the perfect contemporary note in an envelope of architectural history, such as the wood-paneled library of an historic mansion.

We’d love to hear about your favorite hotel lobby and the signature chandelier that illuminates the space. Also share with us your vision of a breath-taking installation for one of our signature lighting pieces!

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