Stonehill & Taylor designs The Refinery

New York-based architecture and interior design firm Stonehill & Taylor was responsible for the industrial-chic look of The Refinery, located on West 38th Street at the heart of New York City's Fashion District.

According to Christina Zimmer, principal at Stonehill & Taylor, the design narrative was guided by the historic facts surrounding the building and how the design team imagined people to be living and working there in early 20th century.

The building dates back to 1912 when the internal spaces were used for industry, predominantly hat making. Taking into consideration the Neo-Gothic façade and its industrial interiors, the firm maintained this duality, reflecting it throughout the interior by lending an industrial, raw elegance to the guestrooms and rooftop bar, while crafting refined public spaces in the lobby.


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The lobby's design derives its inspiration from the façade's Neo-Gothic detailing, which the design team reinterpreted. White plaster groin vaulted ceilings and a 72-foot-long entry runner transition guests through an arcade-like experience to the reception area. The wood reception desk and curated artwork behind it, including a custom installation of hat making tools, link the current design with its history.

The bar incorporates plaid patterned wood walls, intimate lighting and tea-related furnishings evoking the feeling of a tea salon from the early 20th century. The bar is both separated from and part of the lobby, rendered more intimate with custom gothic-inspired glass partitions.

The guestrooms have a tailored yet raw aesthetic. The design vision was to expose the bones of the building and create an industrial loft like feel. All guestrooms have concrete ceilings and distressed hardwood floors with custom rugs. Desks inspired by old sewing machines, upholstery with over-locking seams and steel and leather headboards each reference the garment industry and the building's heritage. Signature floor lamps, inspired by fashion photographers' lights, and custom mosaic stone flooring are also included, alongside polished brass and antique bronze details.

The industrial-chic aesthetic continues in the rooftop bar. The 3500-square-foot space provides a year-round rooftop hangout, with views of Manhattan. The roof is divided into three sections: indoor, indoor-outdoor and outdoor. The indoor lounge has a fountain and fireplace. The ceiling of this space was made with wood salvaged from the dismantled water tank previously at the top of the building. The indoor-outdoor main bar area has salvaged French terracotta floors, and a 1,200-square-foot retractable skylight. The open-air outdoor lounge has casual seating to enjoy city views.