Los Angeles has officially gotten the Ian Schrager treatment with the hotelier’s newest addition to the Sunset Strip. After years of anticipation, the West Hollywood Edition opened last month at 9040 Sunset Boulevard. For the design, Schrager worked closely with John Pawson on every aspect to achieve a blend of Tinseltown glam, refined comfort, and a bit of edge.
The luxury hotel hinges its success not just on room bookings but local engagement, too. “Ian explained that it’s important for the hotel to have a strong relationship with the community,” says project architect Allan Bell of John Pawson. “It needed to be a place where locals would want to come hang out.” AD PRO caught up with Bell to hear more about how the design came together for this new hotspot.
AD Pro: What role did Ian Schrager play when it came to the design of the space?
Allan Bell: He was very hands on, and it was a real collaboration, with a lot of overlap. In the very first meeting, Ian brought up the idea that he wanted sophisticated grittiness, something that felt suitable and appropriate to the Strip. One of our references was the Salk Institute by Louis Kahn, and how it feels very SoCal, since it plays on sunshine and open air. It helped us set up a simple palette of honest materials, like travertine and concrete.
AD Pro: What were some of the goals for the design?
Bell: John [Pawson] wanted everyone to immediately feel at home here. You come off the strip, and everything changes. There’s a generosity and calmness to the space. The three-story lobby is simple in its use of materials. Travertine has a real tangible quality, and the Sterling Ruby installation is perfect, mixing the glamour and nostalgia of Rat Pack Los Angeles.
AD Pro: One of the highlights of the hotel is the rooftop. How did the design for that space come together?
Bell: We knew from the start that we wanted to make as much use of the rooftop as possible. We went through a lot of effort to minimize the impact of mechanical systems up there, to open up the space. The views over the Strip and into the Hills make you feel like the hotel is part of the community. Everything feels so close. Madison Cox, who managed the landscape design, worked so hard to make the space lush with indigenous plantings. Though it’s very much a New York thing to put a tree on the rooftop of a building, that’s not so common here.
Name: The West Hollywood Edition
Design Team: John Pawson, Ian Schrager, Madison Cox (Landscape Design), Thornton Tomasetti (Structural Engineers), HKS (Executive Architects)
Size: 200,000 square feet
Location: West Hollywood, California
Project timeline: January 2014 to November 2019
Biggest challenge during the design process: “Achieving precast concrete finishes with a degree of imperfection that met our intent.”
Biggest surprise during the design process: “Finding Sterling Ruby…he was the perfect artist for the site.”
Favorite product in the project: “The unfilled travertine within the lobby.”
Strangest source: “Shou sugi ban. a traditional Japanese charred finish to cedar we used for the ballroom and canopy, came from a supplier we found in Austin, Texas.”
The most interesting thing on your project mood board: “Ed Ruscha’s Every Building on the Sunset Strip.”