The Beekman has been one of this year’s most hotly anticipated openings. The landmark property, which dates back to 1881, is considered to be one of New York City’s last architectural treasures, and has been rejuvenated under the experienced eye of Martin Brudnizki Design Studio.
Famed for its soaring nine-story Victorian atrium and majestic pyramidal skylight, and ingrained in New York’s prestigious cultural heritage, The Beekman captures the recent spirit of revival within Lower Manhattan.
The 287-room hotel is built upon the very site of the Chapel Street Theatre which, in the 18th century, hosted the first performance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Later, it became educational institution, Clinton Hall, housing a vast library, reading and writing rooms within which the likes of Edgar Allen Poe worked.
“The Beekman stands proudly as a monument to the historically rich past and we feel proud to have given life back to a building which has witnessed so much over the years”
Given the precious heritage of the property – its façade declared an official New York City landmark in 1998 – it was crucial that any restoration work was carried out with the utmost respect and sensitivity.
Acclaimed NYC architecture firm, Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel, had the pleasure of carrying out this work, lovingly unveiling and enlivening its bounteous original character.
Swedish-born interior architect, Martin Brudnizki, has in turn taken cues from the history and aesthetic of the building for the hotel’s interior.
“The Beekman stands proudly as a monument to the historically rich past and we feel proud to have given life back to a building which has witnessed so much over the years,” comments Martin. “It is a distilled vision of the New York of old.
“As with any historic project we had to take much care and consideration into the restoration process, ensuring the spirit of the building was retained whilst making it a workable space for the modern day.”
Martin has not shied away from a deep, opulent palette within the hotel’s public spaces – particularly given the abundance of natural light within the atrium. Dark woods, velvets and contrasting textiles create an inviting, yet refined feel.
“The lobby is an impressive area, with an aesthetic akin to that of a world traveler’s drawing room, filled with collected curiosities and objet d’art from around the globe,” explains Martin.
The artwork, too, has been carefully curated in line with the property’s striking interior and Queen Anne architecture, as well as the spirit of 19th century writers, such as Poe.
Curated and assembled by Katherine Gass, the collection represents 20 international and American artists, both well known and up and coming.
“Guests can peel away the fabric to reveal a fridge inside; we thought it would be a fun way to represent the way in which the feeling of old and new New York converge”
Ranging from paintings and photography, to sketches, sculptures and specially-commissioned site-specific pieces, the artists explore the ways in which we navigate our physical and emotional environment.
Martin has maintained an air of nostalgia throughout the interior, despite the modern comforts and cutting-edge designs he has incorporated.
“Throughout the entire hotel there is a strong sense of tying together the old and new,” he says. “This is particularly evident in the bedrooms where the mini bar resembles a fabric draped table, topped with a silver tray and stacked liquor bottles.
“Guests can peel away the fabric to reveal a fridge inside; we thought it would be a fun way to represent the way in which the feeling of old and new New York converge.”
The hotel’s well-appointed guest rooms feature custom-designed oak beds, complete with leather headboards and Sferra linens. The lighting scheme has also been custom designed by acclaimed UK lighting manufacturer, Chelsom, which worked closely with MBDS to create a classic yet eclectic feel.
Art Deco themed bespoke ceiling pendants in antique brass and frosted glass have been chosen for the entrance lobbies to the suites, while mouth-blown smoke glass chandeliers have been used throughout the guest rooms.
Bespoke orb ceramic table lamps in an olive green crackled finish complete with decorative collar were specified for the bedside tables, along with a kitsch foo dog table lamp in imperial blue. A duo of vintage-inspired chrome wall sconces positioned either side of a centrepiece mirror adorn the striking Carrara marble bathrooms.