IT MIGHT SOUND A LITTLE STRANGE FOR THE SPACE OF A HOTEL TO BE CALLED ‘PUBLIC,’ BUT FOR IAN SCHRAGER, THIS SPACE’S HOTELIER, PUBLIC IS A MAJOR OVERTURN AND CONTEMPORARY MODEL AMONGST THE WORLD OF LUXURY HOTELS.
It might sound a little strange for the space of a hotel, which is an establishment whose operations are conventionally far from the notion of a public space, to be called ‘PUBLIC.’ While the name and the meaning it conveys is in fact contrary to most people’s perceptions and familiarity, for Ian Schrager, the hotelier, owner of ‘PUBLIC’ and a legendary trendsetter who practically co-created the concept of a boutique hotel and brought it into popular recognition, PUBLIC is a major overturn and conceptual revision that strives to create a fresher and more contemporary model amongst the world of luxury hotels. While the world is seeing the birth and growing success of Airbnb and the significant effect it has had on the hotel business at the global scale, Schrager believes that PUBLIC is a new model that comes with its own strong point — the redefined concept of the hotel’s communal space that highlights the vibe and feel of a community space while maintaining the level of luxury that Airbnb accommodations aren’t able to offer.
Herzog & de Meuron is the firm Schrager chose to call upon to turn the idea into reality. The ambience and experience curated for the hotel can be explained with the term ‘tough luxe,’ which is essentially the lessening of a certain excessive atmosphere and services while a sense of luxury and the unique characteristics of the hotel are stylishly sustained. The simplification includes the absence of room service and a check-in process that must be completed by the guests themselves via their smartphones. Schrager is confident that such approach will potentially moderate the overindulgent services and protocols of conventional hotels, which are replaced by contemporary technology that contributes to the greater convenience of the guests and efficiency of the operational processes.
The hotel’s interior elements are comprised of 367 rooms that may be compact in size but contain a unique sense of upscale accommodation, while Schrager succinctly explains the inspiration behind the design as ‘cabins on a yacht.’ The space houses a ‘Public Kitchen’ and ‘Louis,’ a restaurant serving light snacks while the bar area is located on the rooftop where guests can relish in a nice hangout session with the Manhattan skyline as backdrop. Another highlight of the program is Public Arts where cultural activities such as seminars, musical performances and parties are held. It reflects the public space-oriented program of ‘PUBLIC’ and its attempt to grant the hotel’s guests and interested individuals access to participate in different public activities taking place as a part of the hotel’s idiosyncratic and purposefully curated spatial experiences.
TEXT: WICHIT HORYINGSAWAD