Mentored by a trio of modern geniuses, this architect/designer mixes intimacy and spectacle into hospitality interiors that even jaded guests won’t forget.
By Mary Scoviak
During Jeffrey Beers’ sophomore year at the Rhode Island School of Design’s architecture department, that discipline moved into temporary quarters near the studio for the glass program founded by Dale Chihuly. Beers wandered into the studio and says he “fell in love with the energy of glass.” He also shared his view with Chihuly that glass “is like a mini building: form, surface, texture, finish and color are all married together in one discipline.” The renowned glass artist not only taught Beers to blow glass, he asked him to be on one of his teams. He also encouraged Beers to seek a Fulbright scholarship to apply what he’d learned about glass to architecture.
That led Beers to a stint with Brazil’s world-famous architect, Oscar Niemeyer, followed by a job with the legendary I.M. Pei in New York. Then, in 1986, Beers launched the New York-based firm bearing his name. Since then, he’s worked on a variety of high-profile projects, including Miami Beach’s Fontainebleau, The Cove Atlantis, Paradise Island, The Bahamas and the Atlantis Dubai, New York’s Dylan Hotel and, most recently, the 40/40 Club, also in the Big Apple. Here Beers talks about his fearless approach to both design and charting a career path.
BD: What’s on your boards?
Beers: We’re working on a new hotel in Macau. It’ll be inspired by the belle epoque period, yet also be thoroughly modern to create a balance of intimacy and spectacle. We’ve also been commissioned to design a new spa, guest rooms and public spaces for the Ritz-Carlton San Juan, Puerto Rico. And one of our newest projects is the Gloria Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, which will open in 2014. It’ll be intimate and luxurious, yet will include a glass-bottomed pool for that touch of spectacle. The design also nods to the Brazilian love of nature with lush planted green walls.
BD: That’s a lot of international work. What are the best and worst parts of taking on such commissions?
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