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Architecture

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

By | Architecture, Design

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

American firm Handel Architects have completed a New York hotel with porthole windows that give it an uncanny resemblance to children’s game Connect Four.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

Comprising one seven-storey block adjoined to another that is twelve storeys high, the Dream Downtown Hotel occupies a renovated former annex of the National Maritime Union of America.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

Overlapping layers of perforated metal clad the smaller of the two blocks, where the circular openings create juliet balconies for the guest rooms behind.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

Porthole windows also feature on the taller block, which has a slanted exterior of stainless steel tiles.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

The architects split the building into two during the renovation, when they removed the middle sections from four floors to create a screened pool terrace at the centre.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

The hotel building also contains two restaurants, a gym, an event space and shops.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

See more stories about hotel architecture in our dedicated category.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

Photography is by Bruce Damonte, apart from where otherwise stated.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

Here’s some more information from Handel Architects:


Dream Downtown Hotel is a 184,000 SF boutique hotel in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. The 12-story building includes 316 guestrooms, two restaurants, rooftop and VIP lounges, outdoor pool and pool bar, a gym, event space, and ground floor retail.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

Dream sits on a though-block site, fronting both 16th and 17th Streets, and is adjacent to the Maritime Hotel, which sits adjacent to the west. In 1964, the National Maritime Union of America commissioned New Orleans-based architect Albert Ledner to design a new headquarters for the Union, on Seventh Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

Two years later, he designed an annex for the headquarters on the site where Dream currently sits. A few years later, Mr. Ledner designed a flanking wing for the annex, which would eventually be converted to the Maritime Hotel.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

In the 1970s, the Union collapsed and the buildings were sold and used for various purposes in the years that followed. In 2006, Handel Architects was engaged to convert the main annex into the Dream Downtown Hotel.

Dream Downtown Hotel by Handel Architects

The otherness of Ledner’s 1966 design for the National Maritime Annex was critical to preserve. Along the 17th Street exposure, the sloped façade was clad in stainless steel tiles, which were placed in a running bond pattern like the original mosaic tiles of Ledner’s Union building.

Louis Vuitton Étoile Maison by Peter Marino, Rome

By | Architecture, Design, flagship, Retail Design, Store concept

Louis Vuitton Etoile Maison by Peter Marino Rome Louis Vuitton Étoile Maison by Peter Marino, Rome

Hot on the heels of openings in Singapore and Sydney, Louis Vuitton opens another stellar maison – its division of superflagships – in Rome. Illustriously called Louis Vuitton Étoile Maison, the new store measures a rather grand 1,200 sqm. and is housed in a three-storey landmark building that previously accommodated the historical Spazio Étoile, the city’s very first movie theatre.

Louis Vuitton Etoile Maison by Peter Marino Rome 02 Louis Vuitton Étoile Maison by Peter Marino, Rome

Peter Marino, the new york-based architect responsible for Louis Vuitton store interiors across the planet, redesigned the buiding’s interior, retaining the visual drama by its impressive staircase winding around a wide open atrium that allows in floods of daylight.

Louis Vuitton Etoile Maison by Peter Marino Rome 03 Louis Vuitton Étoile Maison by Peter Marino, Rome

Next to the interior, Marino also designed a series of furniture pieces for the store. Similar to other maisons, the Louis Vuitton Étoile Maison features special retail sections and merchandise, such as a bag bar, trunk room and its so-called Haute Maroquinerie line of leather goods. Obviously, the entire range of Louis Vuitton collections for men + women’s presented here. But what makes the roman maison unique is its 19-seat cinema which screens short movies by renowned directors.

Louis Vuitton Etoile Maison by Peter Marino Rome 04 Louis Vuitton Étoile Maison by Peter Marino, Rome

Handmade cinema is a documentary produced by Luchino Visconti di Modrone and directed by Guido Torlonia, and marks the beginning of a project that emphasizes the history of the building and the new maison’s passion for the craftsmen of cinema. Additionally, there’s a partnership with the city’s prestigious Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia that aims to encourage the development of new film talent. The Louis Vuitton Étoile Maison opened with a massive party that pulled a large crowd of Vuitton dignitaries and glitterati from italy and abroad.

Images copyright by Caterina Di Iorgi & Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton Etoile Maison by Peter Marino Rome 24 Louis Vuitton Étoile Maison by Peter Marino, Rome

Louis Vuitton Etoile Maison by Peter Marino Rome 25 Louis Vuitton Étoile Maison by Peter Marino, Rome

Louis Vuitton Etoile Maison by Peter Marino Rome 36 Louis Vuitton Étoile Maison by Peter Marino, Rome

Louis Vuitton Etoile Maison by Peter Marino Rome 37 Louis Vuitton Étoile Maison by Peter Marino, Rome

Eliseevsky grocery store, Moscow

By | Architecture, Design, Interiors, pos, Retail Design, Stores

Eliseevsky grocery store Moscow 02 Eliseevsky grocery store, Moscow

Eliseevsky store is probably one of the most famous stores in the entire Moscow. Do me a favor, if you’re strolling along the beautiful Tverskaya st., don’t forget to find that wonderful place. Muscovites always loved it. Even right after Perestroika, when all Moscow stores were completely empty, people still came to Eliseevsky to admire its beauty. Well, I guess that’s perfect justification for the proverb “Man does not live by bread alone”!

Eliseevsky grocery store Moscow 09 Eliseevsky grocery store, Moscow

Anyways, even the building of Eliseev’s Gastronome is historic by itself. It was built in the 18th century and at first was a luxurious apartment block. The owners were slowly changing until the 19th century when St. Petersburg millionare Grigory Eliseev decided to purchase it. Oh, he had a whole Moscow to choose from, from Petrovka and up to Arbat. However, Grigory preferred to set up Eliseevsky store on Tverskaya.

Eliseevsky grocery store Moscow 03 Eliseevsky grocery store, Moscow

The whole rebuilding thing was completely secret. The house was covered with scaffolding, and nobody really knew what was going on inside. There were lots of rumors spreading around including the most ridiculous ones, like the one that Eliseev was building a Bacchus temple (Bacchus was a Greek god of drinking). However, the truth was that Grigory wanted to set up a store that would stun the entire Moscow.

Eliseevsky grocery store Moscow 04 Eliseevsky grocery store, Moscow

The works were finished by 1901. The gastronome was finally opened, and huge crowds of Muscovites flooded the place. No wonder – no one in Moscow has ever seen anything like that! The famous Russian writer Vladimir Gylyarovsky later wrote about his experiences. He jokingly called the store “the temple of gluttony”, and to be honest his descriptions of the place were very precise. During the Soviet times, we couldn’t believe all those tasty things were once sold there. In fact, we perceived it as just another Russian fairy tale!

Eliseevsky grocery store Moscow 05 Eliseevsky grocery store, Moscow

Let’s see what was so special about Eliseevsky store. The first two stories were turned into huge, sumptuous halls with stunning decor. Amazing fretwork, gold coating and chrystal chandeliers were more than enough to blow anyone away! In short, it was a one, big, breathtaking palace! By the way, the assortment completely matched the level of decor, as the store probably had anything that could ever come to mind. There were all kinds of foreign goods – olive oil, French truffles, oysters and more. Don’t forget that we didn’t have shopping malls in Russia back then, and many Muscovites never even heard about those things let alone saw them.

Eliseevsky grocery store Moscow 07 Eliseevsky grocery store, Moscow

However, the choice of Russian goods was no less, as you could easily buy caviar, fish, ham, milk and anything else your Russian heart desired. The tea and coffee department of Eliseevsky store quickly became famous, as there were many sorts of those drinks brought from around the globe. Plus, there was a bakery right in the store, and it also became very popular since the baking was fresh and very tasty.

Eliseevsky grocery store Moscow 08 Eliseevsky grocery store, Moscow

There also was a fruit department where you could buy exotic fruits from all around the globe. Until today, the thought of it amazes me – how on Earth did Eliseev Gastronome manage to pull that off? We didn’t have strong logistics back then, and yet the place had no less choice than modern retail stores. Amazing! In addition, there was a wine section in the gastronome. By the way, the store’s full name was “Eliseev Gastronome with Russian and Foreign Wine Cellars”, so you can say that the rumours about Bacchus Temple weren’t very far from the truth. Oh, and I forgot to tell there were so many wine sorts that it was nearly impossible to choose one without the help of the staff.
The variety of goods wasn’t the only priority, as Grigory also cared a lot about the service and the design. It was his idea to put the fruits on counters in form of pyramids, and it’s been that way since then. In short, the place abided by the highest standards as even the shop assistants were educated and spoke foreign languages. Needless to say, after the Revolution the store was done for. Grigory moved to France, and his former store became “Gastronome #1″. Judging by the number, even Bolsheviks respected the place. However, despite their attempts, even during Soviet times people continued to refer to it with its original name. Many came from the farthest places in USSR to just look at the former Russia’s most famous gastronome, and although the decor was slowly deteriorating, Eliseevsky still retained its original charm.

Eliseevsky grocery store Moscow 10 Eliseevsky grocery store, Moscow

It was pretty weird to see all those rude, Soviet sellers with tiny amount of low quality goods inside the store. However, it’s good they didn’t close it or even demolished Eliseev’s Gastronome. After the fall of Communism, it was restored by the new owners, with all the fretwork and chandeliers put back into their place. By the way, the restoration was made using the old blueprints, so rest assured you’re aren’t shown a cheap copy. The choice has also returned, but it’s hard to surprise us with loads of goods anymore, with all those “Mega” and “Ashan” stores around. However, there is and there will be no second Eliseevsky store in Moscow, so I think it well deserves your time!