by Shreeparna ChatterjeeFeb 18, 2021
It does not feel like a big hotel. There is an intimate, almost residential vibe to The Times Square Edition hotel. Unlike any of the other hotels in the neighbourhood, the hotel’s ground floor entryway is not at all attention-seeking — as one would have expected of a hotel in Times Square, New York City. A glass curtain and a cream limestone doorway lead you indoors, where a long cream bench guides guests to the lobby elevators. A metallic custom art installation appears like a bullseye at the end of the hallway.
Forty-two storeys, housing 452 rooms, rise from behind a 17,000-square-metre LED billboard that covers the building’s bottom half. Interiors designed by international firm Yabu-Pushelberg’s founders, George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, along with partner and legendary hotelier Ian Schrager, recreates and reinvents the golden age of Times Square, the world-famous icon, for the present. Botanicals surface as the dominant theme, running riot almost all through the interiors alongside a neutral palette.
From the moment you enter the hotel’s doors on 20 Times Square at West 47th Street, you are transported to another world. It’s like a decompression zone. A long ivory hall, with venetian plastered walls and ceiling, and a floating custom green mirrored stainless sphere inspired by Anish Kapoor and the colours of Jeff Koons draw you in. Once you arrive at the lobby on the eighth floor, you are greeted with lush green walls, cream curtains and wood panelling, and dark herringbone floors. The adjacent Lobby Bar is dressed up in contrasting ivory tones with natural light flooding the area from floor-to-ceiling windows. Together, they are a series of black and white spaces that can convince you that you have left the colourful Times Square far behind.
At every step, the refined and understated spaces of the hotel are juxtaposed against the energy, vibrancy and chaos of Times Square. Each of the two extremes serves the other, and continuing to stand out on its own as well. In unison, you discover something new, original, and even stronger. This clash of worlds, this surreal sense of space and time, is best experienced on the outdoor terraces, appropriately named the Bladerunner Terraces, that frame the various public floors. On the terrace off the Lobby Bar, you could choose to be in your own private oasis, to escape in a cocoon-like area or face the brilliance of the flashing lights and popping colours of Times Square for the best light show in the world.
Designed like outdoor rooms with botanical hedging, the outdoor spaces in the expansive terraces are inspired by the L’Orangerie at Jardin des Tuileries in Paris. And considering what a novelty terraces are in the area, these lush garden-like spaces, designed by Madison Cox, with their incredible array of plants, trees and ivy, are perhaps the biggest indoor landscaping effort in the country. They are literally, multi-level gardens in the sky!
The public space interiors are pronounced in rich woods, lush velvets, waxed leathers, polished marbles and smooth metals, the private guest room are highlighted by white oak floors, linen upholstery, and parchment-coloured drapes. On their own, these elements may not echo luxury as clearly as the rest of the design descriptions, but the effect is remarkable to say the least, when they all come together for the guest rooms.
Almost all the hotel's restaurants have outdoor spaces as well, including 701West, the signature fine dining option with its electric blue and velvet banquettes, antique silk rugs, wood panels and white marble mosaic floors. Here Yabu Pushelberg’s initial plans for the rooms showed black and white as the dominant palette. The neutral palette that they currently sport is the perfect antidote to the hectic life just outside the hotel’s doors. In fact, the entire hotel is!