Danish design studio SPACE Copenhagen is known for the distinct new-Nordic minimalism that runs through its work, which ranges from interior design for hotels and restaurants to the design of furniture and lighting collections.
The studio founders, Signe Bindslev Henriksen and Peter Bundgaard Rutzou, were bought on board to work on 11 Howard, a major new hotel in the heart of New York’s SoHo, a district dedicated to NYC’s creative community. Their role was to set the hotel, part of the Design Hotels group, apart from its neighbourhood counterparts by combining Danish design traditions with a raw and industrial New York feel.
Owned by hotel magnate Aby Rosen, 11 Howard is housed in a 15-storey building, dating back to the late 1800s, that rises above the low-level urban landscape.“Rosen wanted to create a destination, very different from the typical NYC hotel,” Henriksen explains, “yet still belonging to this vibrant area.”
The studio was first approached about the project by independent creative director Anda Andrei, previously president of design for Ian Schrager. “Andrei called us summer 2014 and explained the project to us and asked if we were interested. A week later we met with Rosen in NYC and two weeks later we started working on the hotel,” she adds.
The collaboration was at once liberating and edifying for the studio. “In our initial dialogue with Rosen we talked more ambiance, spatial qualities and values rather than concept and style, which is exactly the way we love to work,” Henriksen explains. “In terms of working with Andrei, besides having a great eye, she also has an amazing insight in how to structure the process of designing a hotel: what is important, the guest experience, all the small details. We learned a lot from that collaboration.”
As well as the hotel’s 221 rooms, SPACE Copenhagen worked on the hotel’s library area, nightclub and entrance lobby, which is defined by a large abstract metal installation, and an elegant Alexander Calder-designed light mobile. “The lobby is a very important space to us,” Henriksen explains.
“It’s like a mental transition area, coming from the urban atmosphere, the dynamic of the street, before entering the privacy of the other public spaces or rooms. “Very early on we decided to locate the double-height entrance space in the local and intimate atmosphere of Howard Street, to relate the inside of the building to the scale of the city, as well as offering the feel and scale of a home when entering.”
The library, which features wide wood floorboards and deep rugs, is designed to be a homey and comfortable space. “We have curated and designed the furniture in the same way as we would have done for a private home,” Henriksen explains. The rooms follow suit, with furniture and lighting selected in the same way as the couple would for a domestic setting. The rooms include many of the practice’s own pieces, which are handcrafted in Denmark, and feature a lighting collection designed by the practice exclusively for the hotel. The upshot is a high-end hotel with a relaxed, Scandinavian aesthetic in the heart of downtown New York.
SPACE Copenhagen mixes Scandinavian simplicity with high-end luxury for the interiors of a new hotel in the heart of creative Manhattan