Bamo, BBG-BBGM and Champalimaud help redesign The New York Palace

The New York Palace, a luxury midtown hotel, completed the second phase of its $140-million renovation, with the addition of six culinary destinations and a redesign of its hotel Lobby and Towers Lobby. 

San Francisco-based design firm Bamo, which was tapped to redesign the hotel’s enhanced VIP Towers Rooms and Suites, was also employed to transform the private Towers Lobby. New York-based architecture and interior design firm BBG-BBGM was retained to create a comprehensive master plan for the re-use of the hotel’s public spaces as well as design interiors for two previously unused spaces of the north Villard Mansion: the new street-facing bar, Tavern on 51, as well as the Rarities lounge. Meanwhile, New York-based design firm Champalimaud was selected to remodel the hotel’s main guest reception area and lobby, as well as a new bar, Trouble’s Trust and the new Lobby Lounge.


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The inspiration for The Towers Lobby redesign was drawn from the hotel’s historic Villard Mansion, serving as a transition into the tower’s guestrooms and suites. The new walls of the lobby have wood grain paneling with silk fabric insets. The space has warm-toned carpeting and fabrics, as well as contemporary artwork. The lighting infuses a residential atmosphere. 

Bamo’s team for this project included Steve Henry, principal; Brady Johnson and Landes Cobb, interior designers; and Carmen Bringas, project manager and associate.

While staying true to the hotel’s classic aesthetic, Champalimaud transformed the hotel’s main lobby into a more contemporary space by streamlining and redefining the existing architectural elements. To lighten the room, Champalimaud deployed a neutral color palette and layers of gold leaf trim. Leather fabrics, blue lounge chairs and artwork curated by The Art Advisory add splashes of color to the off-white envelope. The Diego Rivera-inspired mural that wraps around the second floor crown molding was commissioned to New York-based EverGreene Architectural Arts. The abstract mural tells the story of the Villard family who owned a railroad and shipping enterprise during the industrialization age when the Villard Mansion was built. References to New York's harbor are represented through depictions of ships and trains.

A stone floor pattern inspired by an Italian Renaissance motif, made of Rossa Verona, nero marquina and carrara marble, grounds the lobby level. Other highlights include a chandelier, comprised of hundreds of hand-blown glass spheres, that draws attention to the lobby’s gold leaf ceiling and historic marble fireplace. A redesigned reception area showcases silk fabric panels and new marble floors. 

While creating The Palace’s new bar, Troubles Trust, Champalimaud aimed to capture the feeling of a “downtown” bar uptown. Under the Lobby’s grand staircase, the den-like lair features burgundy lacquer walls inset with traditional embossed leather panels. A floor to ceiling wine display forms the backdrop of a bar resembling liquid metal. Fluid c-shaped tufted leather banquettes and chocolate leather lounge chairs provide flexible seating arrangements.

Another original space, the Lobby Lounge is located near the hotel’s 51st street entrance. The light reflected from the hand-wrought bronze sconces lining the lounge’s macassar ebony walls creates a warm and inviting atmosphere. The new design allows for an easy transition from morning coffee to afternoon tea, and finally cocktail service.

Champalimaud’s team for this project included Alexandra Champalimaud, president and principal designer; Winston Kong, principal in charge; Elisabeth Rogoff, senior designer and associate; Stella Bok, project designer and project manager; Kelly Kimes and Ellie Lochridge, project designers; Rosalva Almonte, Liz Miller, Karen Broschart and Melanie Li, designers.

The inspiration behind Tavern on 51 and Rarities is derived directly from the north section of the Villard Mansion that the venues are housed within.  Old New York influenced the two spaces – one a public bar, one an exclusive lounge.  The two spaces share a common aesthetic made up of colors and fabric routed in historical charm.  They are decoratively connected by a landmarked staircase, as well as an illuminated metal and glass vitrine display case that extends through the center of the staircase. The vitrine was designed specifically to house the curated scotches offered at Rarities. 

Tavern on 51 is open to the public with entrances both within The New York Palace as well as from 51st street.  The bar is ornamented with polished metal, glass, and mirror to display the glassware and liquor, playing against woodsy landscape.  The venue has original stained glass windows, as well as a light sculpture that encompasses the entire rear wall that is balanced with gold plaster and hidden light sources. 

Rarities is a destination available to The Towers guests and is located on the second level of the Villard Mansion’s north section.  All of the historical elements have been kept, with antique and artifact embellishments from the 1880s. The mix of furniture and soft goods were curated, and the whiskey and deep aubergine color palette enhance the original millwork.

Two more culinary options will grace The New York Palace’s lobby. Both dining venues are helmed by chef Michel Richard. One is a restaurant called Villard Michel Richard, the name paying homage to Henry Villard, the 19th-century financier whose namesake mansion is still a part of the hotel, and the other is a French market with café seating called Pomme Palais, whose moniker is a play on the “Big Apple.”  The restaurant has two dining rooms. Jeffrey Beers International designed both spaces.

The New York Palace’s renovations are scheduled for completion in fall 2013.