We have all seen street artists who hand-sketch quirky and exaggerated caricatures or photorealistic live portraits on the spot, perhaps you even have one of these artworks of yourself from your last holiday. Although these artists might be underappreciated because of the nature of their work, a talent and years of practice that goes into mastering portrait drawings are undeniable and worth recognition.
There aren‘t two same faces in the world. And before you think about twins, let me remind you that not even two sides of one face are symmetrical. This makes the work of a top-notch Saint Petersburg based street artist extremely admirable. Originally from Cheboksary, Nikolay Yarakhtin has been transferring every unique feature of different faces onto blank canvas using just a pencil for 28 years.
Atelier Ace, the creative team behind the Ace Hotel Group, has announced plans for its newest project: Sister City, a minimalist micro-hotel concept billed as “an experiment in essentialism,” slated to open this fall in New York City.
Finnish saunas, Japanese bento boxes, prehistoric rock-cut cliff dwellings, and John Cage’s 4’33”–the avant-garde composer’s famous score of silence–are all listed as lofty sources of inspo in the press release, and the hotel’s freshly launched Instagram account (@sistercitynyc) includes only a trio of very subtle gray-to-white gradients that nearly look completely blank.
It all nods to a pared-down, zen-like retreat, which isn’t what we’ve come to expect from the formula of popular Ace Hotel properties: highly crafted, reclaimed urban structures that offer a curated slice of city life for creatives and trendy see-and-be-seen clientele. Instead, Sister City reads as a very different prototype, made to attract the visitor who not only minds forgoing the clubby boutique-hotel experience and all of its little extras but might even prefer to.
Sister City is located in a 55,000-square-foot building that was formerly home to the Bowery Salvation Army Chinatown Shelter (a sort of crushing irony in itself), with 200 rooms each measuring a modest 162 to 262 square feet, according to Curbed, and in place of a bustling lobby entrance, visitors will enter through a garden via historic Freeman Alley.
“Sister City is meant to act as a quiet respite from the noise of modern life,” says Kelly Sawdon, chief brand officer at Atelier Ace, “a place to recharge and begin again. Like John Cage’s 4’33”, we’re interested in creating a blank canvas that allows the humans who enter to animate the space directly.”
The teaser is catnip for the minimalist, and maybe anyone looking to actually get some rest and unplug from the noise of it all. Could Ace’s plan for a Japanese and Scandinavian-design inflected oasis signal a wane to last year’s trend for peak maximalism? At the very least, it’s a practical alternative to the common boutique-hotel trope, and the “essentialism” could feasibly appeal to more visitors outside of Ace Hotel’s usual circuit. “In terms of a demographic, we’re open to everyone that’s looking for a sanctuary in the city,” says Sawdon.
In any case, the luxury of quality peace and quiet is hard to come by these days, and at Sister City a low-key stay will come with a reported $259/night price tag.
When their youngest daughter left home for college, one Connecticut couple did what most empty nesters might: They moved house. However, instead of following the conventional path of downsizing, they took a more creative approach, purchasing a sleek apartment on New York City’s High Line park as well as a five-bedroom shingled spec home in Amagansett as their weekend retreat—taking advantage of the best of both aesthetic worlds.
“In Manhattan, they wanted something where the wife could entertain exhibitors and sponsors of the Whitney—she’s a ceramist and a big supporter of the museum—so the look is more refined and buttoned-up,” says New York interior designer Timothy Brown, who was charged with imbuing each home with a distinct sense of personality and style based on its function and location. “The Hamptons home is much more relaxed. Here, it’s about enjoying alone and family time away from the city.” The only design overlap in both properties: white walls that serve as a blank canvas for the couple’s vast collection of art and photography.
Though Brown relied on a light, matte palette and traditionally easygoing beach-home fabrics like linen, cotton, and natural fibers in Amagansett, his interpretation of an approachable getaway included surprising bursts of color and luxe furniture pieces from the 1950s and ‘60s. But he’s careful not to label them midcentury. “I hate to use that word because people immediately associate it with a certain look: Eames chairs and things like that,” he says. To keep the aesthetic elevated yet unpredictable, he opted for French and Italian models with classic lines and plush reupholstered surfaces. In the living room, chrome scissor seats by Guillerme et Chambron and armchairs by Ward Bennett receive a contemporary counterpoint in a bubblelike Lindsey Adelman chandelier—looking nothing like a scene out of Mad Men. “I wanted to challenge the standard conception of midcentury,” Brown says. “From there the rest of the home radiated out.”
A study in curated contrasts, the house is a combination of luxe and laid-back, vintage and modern, resulting in a well-rounded look that transcends that of the typical summer house and acts as a backdrop for quiet reflection and, more commonly, get-togethers with friends and family. “It’s visually interesting and unexpected but also warm and inviting,” says Brown. Far from empty nesters, the couple plays host to a full house once more.
This Classic Shingled Home Offers a Fresh Take on Midcentury DesignVIEW SLIDESHOW
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“The homeowner loves color,” says Manhattan-based interior designer Timothy Brown of a Connecticut couple’s shingled home in Amagansett, New York. To set the tone for the unexpected beach house beyond the façade, he coated the front door in a lively shade of purple by Benjamin Moore.
Consider the large, uninterrupted blank canvas that is your ceiling. Now channel your inner Michelangelo. That’s right, this “fifth wall,” as interior designers are calling it, can make a sty-lish impact when decorated in hues or patterns that complement a room’s furnishings.