Multidisciplinary architecture and design firm Crème / Jun Aizaki Architecture & Design has envisioned the newly opened Kimpton Theta in New York, managed by Highgate.
Inspired by the Theta brainwaves that are most present in moments of self-reflection and meditation, Crème adapted the existing building by architect and self-proclaimed Modernist Morris Lapidus to create a tranquil urban oasis.
Kimpton Theta features a reimagined lobby, coffee lounge, market pantry and fitness amenities, as well as 364 guestrooms and suites. Rooftop F&B venues are set to open in Spring 2024.
Overseen by Lucid, Highgate’s in-house design and construction Studio, Crème’s design evokes a sense of serenity with architectural moves that create intimacy, gentle layering and rich textures. Handmade materials focused on craft alongside art, books, objects and a botanical layer coalesce in a residential quality of comfort. In the lobby, new structural forms act as portals to separate spaces for an inviting gathering place where culture and community connect.
“I wanted to create an oasis that offers an unexpected escape from New York’s fast-paced Theater District,” says Jun Aizaki, founder and Principal of Crème. “We aimed to design a hotel that is as luxurious as it is inviting, including unique touches that add both comfort and functionality.”
General Manager Mark Pandaleon adds: “Kimpton Theta has a sense of retreat that permeates every corner, allowing warmth and familiarity to envelope guests and curate an ultra-personalised experience.”
In the lobby, Crème respectfully adapted Lapidus’ original architecture for the present day. His work, alongside that of Isamu Noguchi, an American sculptor of Japanese heritage, informs portals to create four distinct yet harmonious areas. Seeking to create a fresh and cosy lounge, Crème included a plush mix of seating, potted plants, diverse textures and subtle screening devices to provide both a collaborative communal area and intimate nooks.
Directly opposite the main entrance, a statement feature wall resembling concrete depicts an aerial view of an imaginative park. At the entry reception, colourful artwork is placed behind the horizontal corrugated concrete reception desk and bespoke sofa with playful ceiling light fixtures overhead.
To the right of the entrance, guests are invited to grab a quick bite from Café Otto. Window niche sofas, café tables and chairs, and a communal table all include charging ports and provide ample seating. The lobby’s large windows in combination with wall sconces and a chandelier supply abundant lighting.
Masako Fukuoka, Studio Director at Crème, explains: “Coming in from bustling 8th Avenue, visitors are enveloped in a soft sculptural space. We wanted to create a place where guests can slow down, feeling safe and welcomed. I’m happy that the completed lobby does exactly that.”
The guestrooms and suites reflect the same design ethos as the public areas, with gentle layering, artistic touches and nods to Modernism. The elegantly designed spaces feature warm wood tones, tactile finishes and soothing colour accents.
Asymmetrical details continue from the lobby alongside clever millwork solutions. Custom-designed wallpaper created through a collaboration between Jun Aizaki and Saatchi Art acts as a sculptural feature wall that is both euphoric and soothing. In the bathrooms, handcrafted tiles bring elegance and sophistication while an abundance of shelving and an adjustable make-up mirror add convenience.
In early 2024, Kimpton Theta will welcome Bar Sprezzatura, a rooftop restaurant in partnership with TableOne Hospitality inspired by the relaxed elegance of the Italian Riviera. Founded in San Francisco, Bar Sprezzatura will bring the effervescence of Positano to Midtown Manhattan through its convivial atmosphere, signature spritzes and elevated cicchetti. The venue will be Bar Sprezzatura’s second location and first on the East Coast.