Like a beacon, purple fluorescent signage announces the Moxy NYC Times Square, enticing passersby and tourists alike to enter. Stepping onto the terrazzo floors of the double-height atrium lobby and greeted by a stunning, suspended, grizzly bear sculpture by Japanese artist Hirotoshi Sawada, patrons immediately feel they are far from Midtown Manhattan’s frenetic pace. With architecture by New York-based Stonehill & Taylor, public space and guestroom interior design by Toronto-based Yabu Pushelberg, and restaurant designs by New York-based Rockwell Group, this hip hotel fuses a refined aesthetic with comfort and affordability—an unusual find in New York.
“It’s a comfortable and stylish hotel for today’s modern traveler,” says Mitchell C. Hochberg, president of Lightstone Group, the property’s owner and operator, “someone of a certain state of mind rather than an age group, someone who values the experience, clever design, convenience, community, and great food and beverage.”
Bold, yet versatile design
Yabu Pushelberg worked within these parameters—as well as the confines of New York real estate and a historic 1907 building that was first a hotel and most recently offices—to develop the design language for Moxy, a Marriott brand that first launched in Europe. “We evolved the brand with a freshness, a sense of adventure, and an incredible attention to detail,” says Glenn Pushelberg, firm principal at Yabu Pushelberg.
Yabu Pushelberg conveys this experience in the 612 guestrooms by maximizing their tight, irregular footprints with savvy touches. A custom integrated sink and vanity made from glazed lava stone is scaled for each room—whether a 150-square-foot double, a 220-square-foot twin quad, a double-double, a queen with a twin loft, or a king suite, the largest of the lot at 350 square feet. Flexible guestroom furnishings include a desk and seating that can be folded and stowed when not in use. Cubbies beneath the bed provide storage, and materials such as leather, canvas, and wood flooring add an organic sensibility, and a welcoming sense of familiarity. This palette translates to public spaces, into the second-floor Bar Moxy and its adjacent lounges and co-working spaces, also designed by Yabu Pushelberg. The team painted the low ceilings, wiring, and ductwork white and employed a palette of light wood, while a copper bar adds warmth. Hailed as the hotel’s social heart by Hochberg, the bar transforms into a vibrant lounge with a live DJ, drawing crowds in the evenings.
Immersive social spaces
Similarly, Moxy’s other two restaurants, designed by Rockwell Group in collaboration with TAO Group, which operates the hotel’s F&B spaces, were created as destinations. Legasea Seafood Brasserie lures patrons to its second-floor space thanks to vivid street-front signage and a grand staircase. The space boasts custom details such as a ropeand- cork ceiling system that absorbs sound—and ties into the menu’s nautical theme—patterned concrete floor tiles, and stitched leather shades on the bar’s light fixtures.
Adept at working with the challenges of a historic building, Rockwell Group dealt with the ceiling constraints by creating the illusion of height. “In the center of the dining room, we had a skylight as part of a historic shaft,” says Shawn Sullivan, a partner and studio leader at Rockwell Group. “We enlarged the perception of that skylight by wrapping mirrored panels from the vertical surface of the skylight to the horizontal surfaces of the ceiling. From anywhere in that area, you see reflection of daylight.”
Equally engaging is the amusement park-themed rooftop bar, Magic Hour, with a discreet entry through iron gates that lead to the elevator lobby—which features black-and-white flooring and funhouse mirrors—and up to the roof with its various rooms, terraces, and three bars. “Perched 18 floors above the city, Magic Hour embodies an urban amusement park concept, but with a decidedly grown-up, wink-wink sensibility,” Hochberg says.
A departure from the hotel’s other spaces, Magic Hour features whimsical design elements including animal-inspired sconces; giant, custom-designed, animal-shaped topiaries; lounge furniture that rotates on a turntable like a carousel; a miniature golf course designed by TAO Group called ForePlay; and a retractable roof of custom arched fabric panels by Rockwell Group as a nod to circus tents.
And upon leaving Magic Hour at the wee hours of the morning, patrons can stop at Egghead—a Rockwell-designed, grab-and-go storefront restaurant serving breakfast sandwiches—the perfect ending to this one-of-a kind, fantastical escape in the city.
who Architect: Stonehill & Taylor. Interior designers: Rockwell Group (restaurants and bars); Yabu Pushelberg (public spaces and guestrooms). Rockwell Group project team: Shawn Sullivan, R.A.; Michael Hill; Linda Daniels; Kevin Yi; Lea Cojot; Michael Horwitz; Susan Nugraha; Eve Taylor; Amp Thongtawach. Yabu Pushelberg project team: George Yabu; Glenn Pushelberg; Marcia MacDonald; Andra Hatward; Josh Leung; Emillie Jones; Joanna Wenderska; Jacob Mailman; Crawford Noble; Cody Kullman; David Watchorn; Bahar Ghaemi; Dylan MacKinnon. Contractors: C&A Seneca Construction; Magnetic Builders. Lighting: Focus Lighting. Engineering: ADS Engineers. Kitchen: Next Step Design. Landscape: Town and Gardens. Graphics: wink Design. AV Designer: Anthem SSL.
what Wallcoverings: D&W Design Inc.; Delta Millworks; Area Environments; Roberto Cavalli Home. Laminate: Formica. Walls: D&W Design Inc.; Delta Millworks. Flooring: Sullivan Source; Franklin Terrazzo; Midtown Terrazzo. Interior lighting: Savoy Lighting; Circa Lighting. Exterior lighting: Focus Lighting. Door hardware: Baldwin. Glass: SPANCraft Glass. Seating: Stellar Works; Affiliated Importers Ltd.; Karen Cherkerdjian Studio; Matter; M Crow & Co.; Living Divani; Swan Italia; Klaus; Baxter; Stephen Kenn; Vitra; Dinerite Seating; Carousel USA. Upholstery: Holly Hunt; Cortina Leathers. Tables: Stellar Works; Affiliated Importers Ltd.; Mattiazzi/Herman Miller; Balanza Co. Storage systems: USM Haller; Avenue Road; Saint-Damase Hotel Furniture.
By Danine Alati
May 1, 2018