Touring New Projects With Two New York Design Stars

Visits to 11 Howard, a new hotel, with its creative director, Anda Andrei, and the landmark Manhattan House, refreshed by Vicente Wolf.

Photo: Courtesy of Manhattan House
Photo: Courtesy of Manhattan House

The other day, I visited 11 Howard, a new hotel, with its creative director, Anda Andrei, and a day later the landmark  Manhattan House, refreshed by Vicente Wolf. Each designer gave me a personal tour.

Anda Andrei, who is the president of Anda Andrei Design, also happens to be the creative director of Soho’s new 11 Howard hotel. Andrei, pictured here in front of the lobby sculpture by Danish studio Space Copenhagen, which designed the bespoke furniture for the hotel as well. After posing with the sculpture, we started our tour of what had formerly been the site of the Soho Holiday Inn.
During my tour, Andrei’s team was still putting the finishing touches on the lobby — which is seen completed here in a rendering. “Instead of a light fixture,” Andrei says, pointing to the ceiling, “we are going to hang this 1976 Calder mobile.” And since Aby Rosen is the developer of this property, that would seem the natural thing to do. Project architects, Beyer Blinder Belle, along with Space Copenhagen have insured that the design program “has a certain modesty and honesty and lightness,” Andrei says. Photo: Alex Morris Visualiation Ltd
When I admired this great-looking 1960s Gio Ponti chair in the library, Andrei instructed me: “Pick it up! Feel how light it is,” before demonstrating the point with one finger. For the past three decades, until 2013, Andrei worked with hotelier Ian Schrager, working on iconic properties including the Delano (where she collaborated with Philippe Starck), the Gramercy Hotel (where she worked with Julian Schnabel), and the Gramercy Park Condos (which had her working closely with John Pawson).
As we made our way up this staircase leading to the second floor and the hotel’s lounge, the Blond, we took a walk through the library. Guests will want to spend time working or relaxing in the great room where three Hiroshi Sugimoto photographs are but some of the featured artworks. Photo: Alex Morris Visualiation Ltd
Each of the 221 guest rooms have 11-foot-high ceilings and furniture designed by Space Copenhagen. “I wanted the feeling of the hotel to appeal to young people, but also be a place where their parents would like to stay,” Andrei says. “I wanted to create an instant classic.” Photo: All rights reserved 2015
A rendering of the exterior of 11 Howard opening in April. Andrei is also masterminding the redesign of Asbury Park under iStar, which includes over 20 residential, hotel, and mixed-use projects. Stay tuned for more. Photo: Ivor Ip
The following day, I met up with Vicente Wolf, seen here, whose renovation of the landmarked Manhattan House has been ongoing since 2015. The plans include updating the lobby spaces, and the five penthouses, one of which is still undergoing his decorating tweaks. We met in his completed five-bedroom, five-bath penthouse, created by joining two apartments. Ever the global traveler, Wolf decorates with an eclectic array of his travel finds, including the large French baker’s table that he’s perched on, which he got in Paris; the female torso from Thailand; and the carved-wood shell from Indonesia. His fifth book, The Four Elements of Design, published by Rizzoli, is coming out in April.
My parents’ first apartment after they married was in this building. I had a real déjà vu feeling that part of the apartment that we were standing in could have been theirs. The 1950 structure, designed by Gordon Bunshaft, was then rental units, and it would not have looked anything like this. Wolf completely gutted the two apartments to create this 4,026-square-foot unit and raised ceiling heights where structural aspects of the building would allow. He added sleek new touches like the wood-burning-fireplace surround. This penthouse also features a wraparound terrace. Photo: ” “
What had been a snug confined workspace is now a gleaming stainless-steel-and-polished-mahogany state-of-the-art kitchen with Miele and Wolf appliances, plus a giant window (not pictured). Photo: ” “
The stainless-steel bed frame, facing away from the window, is classic Wolf: modern and leanly elegant while referencing a classical design, in this case a four-poster, or canopy, bed, usually hung with lots of fabric.
The cozy man-cave-y study is decked out in wall-to-wall carpeting, featuring rich earth colors of leather and velvet custom-designed furniture by Wolf. As we left the penthouse, Wolf was off to get some equipment for his upcoming trip to Mustang, in Nepal, where altitudes reach up to 14,000 feet above sea level, which he describes “as untouched as Bhutan was 20 years ago.” And as far away from Manhattan as you can get. Photo: ” “
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