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The Lola hotel (lolahotelnyc.com), opening December 1 at 29 East 29th Street, has a storied history. Originally built as the female-guests-only Martha Washington Hotel in 1903, and later hosting actors like Louise Brooks and Veronica Lake, the property was closed in 1998 and reopened in 2003 as the Hotel Thirty-Thirty. Now it’s reopening again after a $15 million makeover led by Highgate Hotels branding executive Susan Jaques, who designed the new lobby and bar and enlisted L.A.’s famed fashion and celebrity photographer Matthew Rolston as the lighting designer. “We flanked the long corridor from the entrance to the lobby with bronze mirrors to create a sense of arrival,” Susan says. The thirteen-foot glazed-ebony-wood door adds to the drama.

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

The lobby lounge has a dusky palette of smoky-gray suede walls and caramel-colored distressed-leather banquettes. Rolston not only designed the lighting scheme for the lobby and bar but also curated the art. “I was inspired by the idea of a bubble,” Matthew says. “Given Lola’s history as a hotel for women, I thought of the building as a protective bubble. Then I was inspired by the bubble series of fashion photographs by Melvin Sokolsky for the art, and then I was drawn to Tom Dixon’s bubble pendant lamps.”

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

The view from the lounge looking back toward the entrance hall, with mohair velvet seats facing the leather banquettes. “The entire first floor was completely gutted,” Susan says. “We opened the space by raising the ceiling a couple of feet and created the 29th Street entrance.”

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

Over Champagne cocktails with Susan, Matthew decided to design a lighting scheme that would be as soft and reflective as light filtering through a flute of Champagne. Behind the bar is a custom-designed David Hicks–inspired bronze mirror along with chandelier made with Tom Dixon’s globe pendants. The bar will be pairing macarons to go with those Champagne cocktails.

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

Gensler Architects renovated the 276 guest rooms with bathrooms featuring mosaic-tiled glass showers.

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

The bedrooms are inspired by Eileen Gray with Bibendum chairs and side tables and luxuriously downy beds.

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

When Dodie invited me to explore the house on my own, I never expected to meet this extraordinary Picasso over the fireplace.

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

Now imagine how I felt when I discovered that there were actually three Picassos in attendance in this room! These paintings were sold at a Sotheby’s “Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale” in May of this year.

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

The Rosecranses’ myriad collections included a group of six Chinese hard-stone archaistic Bi Discs.

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

There are incredible views from virtually every room. This is the one from the dining room.

Photo: Wendy Goodman

Here, his Floor Chandelier for Swarovski, with 6,400 crystals strung together in grid patterns on an interlocking frame.

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

It was interesting to see that with all his geometric and mathematical ideas for systems of furniture, his own office contained a simple plywood work desk and old-fashioned bentwood chairs found, he says, “a long time ago at a flea market.”

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

Opposite the work table is a bulletin board with some of Dror’s conceptual projects, illustrating how the same mechanics enlisted in the Shield Table and QuaDror interlocking system can be applied to architectural projects.

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

Dror then took out a sample of one of his “Volume.MGX” pieces that transforms from a flat structure to a self-supporting 3-D design.

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

All 1,200 L-shaped pieces of this lamp are made of polyamide plastic printed on a Selective Laser Sintering machine. Dror uses a similar interlocking technique on one of the conceptual building designs on his bulletin board.

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

As I left the office, I noticed Dror’s collection of toys with simple movable parts. “I am fascinated by toys that have movement and geometry,” Dror says. “These have an ingenuity and playfulness.”

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels

For me, the high point of the show is this, which manages simultaneously to be a painting, a force field, and an electromagnetic visual discharge. This is an artist sloughing off old consciousness, making something he doesn’t even know is art, giving up nearly all known languages of painting, and maybe violating the laws of nature by making something that seemingly puts off more energy than went into making it.

Photo: Michael Kleinberg, Courtesy of Highgate Hotels
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