W New York Downtown

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By Jaime Gillin
While in New York City last month, I spent a night at the new W New York hotel, downtown in Wall Street. Like all W's, this one was peppered with self-consciously 'cool' design-y touches, some of which grated a bit. That said, I was particularly impressed with two elements of the design: the undulating, glowing ceiling in the lobby (or, excuse me, the "living room"), and the built-in furniture in the guestrooms.
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According to Gray Shealy, Director of Global Brand Design for W Hotels, this hotel's design, or "narrative," is "inspired by the 'ripple effect' of energy and light manifested in striking, curvilinear forms." This effect is "meant to inspire and reinvigorate energy into New York's Financial District. These forward-looking forms, including the undulating lamella ceiling in the living room and the curves within the guestroom millwork, are all expressive of this concept, and use LED lighting technology to inspire a transformative mood in the property for our guests."


Was I transformed? Not really. But I really did like that undulating ceiling, designed and prefabricated by Graft Labs in Los Angeles. It made the space feel more intimate, futuristic, and also, cleverly, hid the ductwork overhead, as shown below.

Quite dramatic at night, as you might imagine.


The guestrooms echo the public spaces, with curvy built-ins that make efficient use of the tight floor plan and also create plenty of storage, and, in some cases, morph into headboards.


Inset lighting glows from behind the built-ins, washing the walls with a bright yellow hue.

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