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Boutique’s Elites

(January / February 2012) posted on Wed Feb 01, 2012

Twelve top-tier hospitality projects took home the trophies in the sixth annual Boutique Design Awards.

By Matthew Hall

click an image below to view slideshow

Best Hotel
Dream Downtown, New York
Handel Architects LLP, New York

Converting a building that noted architect Albert Ledner originally designed to house a maritime union hall into a flagship Dream hotel was potentially a nightmare commission for Handel Architects. For example, natural light was scarce within the ’60s-era structure. To help overcome that problem, designers took the bold step of removing four floors from the center of the building to create a new pool terrace that’s overlooked by guest rooms with balconies. Beyond that, the Handel team worked to saturate the hotel interiors with the Dream brand’s trademark mix of the sexy and the surreal. That includes the 200 hand-blown glass globes that float through the lobby and congregate over The Marble Lane restaurant (shown), filling the space with what designers describe as “a magical light cloud.” Says competition judge Eric Lam: “The design statement matches perfectly with the name of the establishment. Dream Downtown is vibrant, chic and authentically boutique.” The hotel also won a BD Award for Best Exterior.

Best Restaurant
Cupola Pizzeria, San Francisco
CCS Architecture, San Francisco

If you don’t think a mall-based restaurant can be elegant, this cutting-edge space in San Francisco’s Westfield Centre should change your mind. The 100-seat restaurant and bar takes its name from the architectural structure it sits under on the mall’s fourth floor; the design concept intermixes elements of a Milan fashion show and the regional food and wine of Naples. Its centerpiece is a high-gloss red “runway” table that leads to the restaurant’s Italian-made pizza oven.

Best Nightclub
IPIC Theater, Scottsdale, Ariz.
ID & Design International, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

This 48,000-sq.-ft. luxury entertainment venue combines a full-service movie and dining experience. It’s home to eight digital movie auditoriums, a lounge/bar and a full-service Mediterranean restaurant. Competition judges were especially impressed with how designers used a variety of architectural and lighting elements to create several intimate areas within a large, open space.

Best Spa
Espa at The Istanbul Edition, Turkey
HBA/Hirsch Bedner Associates, London office

This three-level spa draws inspiration from Istanbul’s traditional hammams, or Turkish steam baths, with its domed ceilings with faceted cut-outs and a rich materials palette that includes embossed metal and leather flooring. The goal was to create a space where guests feel both indulged and protected, designers say.

Best Hotel Lobby/Reception Area
Mondrian Soho, New York
Morgans Hotel Group, New York; BNO Design, New York


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