Stonehill & Taylor Architects Wins Hilton New York Design Competition

The firm's winning design showcases the iconic midtown Manhattan location of Hilton's flagship property

Jun 09, 2010, 10:13 ET from Stonehill & Taylor Architects

NEW YORK, June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Stonehill & Taylor Architects has solidified its position as the New York hotel designer to beat. The firm recently won an invited design competition for one of New York City's largest projects—the redesign of Hilton New York, Hilton's flagship property in midtown Manhattan.

"There aren't a lot of major projects going on in the U.S. right now, so when I was told that we had the go ahead on a renovation of this scale in New York, I wanted to do a competition," says Larry Traxler, senior vice president of Global Design Services at Hilton Worldwide. "We invited four firms, and Stonehill & Taylor brought in a story line that grounded the design to New York, to the history of the building, and gave it some context and background, which was much more interesting than what we typically see in a renovation project. It was a unanimous vote."

The Hilton New York win comes fresh on the heels of several notable Manhattan projects from Stonehill & Taylor, including The President Hotel, which recently won a Hospitality Design Award for Mid-Range Guestrooms, and New York City's first LEED Gold hotel, the Crosby Street Hotel. Stonehill & Taylor's winning design for the Hilton New York was inspired by the 2,000-room flagship property's iconic location on 6th Avenue and offers smart space solutions throughout.

"Working with Hilton has been an incredible experience," says Michael Suomi, principal, Stonehill & Taylor Architects, PC. "It's a rare opportunity to reposition their New York flagship property with a unique guest-focused approach that captures the quintessential aspects of Midtown Manhattan."

Stonehill & Taylor drew aesthetic inspiration from three concepts that the firm felt visually define midtown: Rockefeller Center, the birth of modernism, and the architecture of Donald Deskey. The designers translated bold concepts like the optimism and exuberance that define Rockefeller Center, used architectural principles set forth by some of Hilton New York's iconic neighbors like the Seagram Building, Time-Life Building, and the Lever House, and embraced Donald Deskey's love of simple curves, lacquered walnut, and his appreciation for the "sound and energetic American man of business." The result is a smart, modern design filled with grand gestures and painstaking attention to detail.   

One of the main challenges set out by Hilton was to make each of the guestrooms more spacious without moving any walls. Stonehill & Taylor's winning solution highlights previously under utilized space, like the bay window area, and uses a unique architectural element dubbed "the wrapper" to segment the guestroom into three distinct, but connected, areas.

The previously outdated closet, bath, and foyer were merged to create a modern dressing area, complete with a glamorous makeup table. The dressing area is separated from and connected to the rest of the guestroom via the sculptural quartzite wrapper, which features a frosted window peeking from the bathroom to the bedroom, offering privacy while sharing light from the bedroom beyond. Sleek design defines the redesigned bathroom. Gold tiles in the walk-in shower add a touch of Radio City glitter, while porcelain tiles emulate dark linen fabric and a deep vanity provides generous niches for storage.

Once inside the bedroom, the unique wrapper is mimicked sculpturally by a built-in settee at the bay window. Stonehill & Taylor's design not only reclaims this previously under utilized space, but also makes it the centerpiece of the guestroom. In fact, the color palette is taken directly from the view: blues, whites, creams, and steel gray. 

A sweeping combination desk/dresser piece and the asymmetrical frame of the grand headboard also mimic the wrapper. Stainless steel hardware featuring simple "Deskey" curves contrast heavily figured and ebonized American Walnut. And to bring a fashion sense to the hotel design, Stonehill & Taylor worked with renowned suit designer Craig Robinson to translate the fashion of men's suits in the 1930s into an elegant mix of leathers, linens, and heavy weaves. Artwork and carpet also provide punches of color and graphics throughout.

Two-bedroom suites feature a sliding door on the wrapper and walnut flooring throughout, but the room's grand gesture is a large entertainment cabinet, done in polished woven carbon fiber, a contemporary interpretation of the ebonized wood. 

The Hilton New York renovation will start with 500-keys in 2011, and endeavors to complete the rest in 2012 with the same design concept. 

About Stonehill & Taylor

Stonehill & Taylor is an architecture and interior design firm established in New York City in 1963. Our international staff brings a breadth of design experience in new building construction, additions and renovations, interior design and decoration. With primary focuses in hospitality, health/sciences and academic facilities design, Stonehill & Taylor uses a collaborative approach to design and project management to produce unique solutions for each project. Other work by the firm has included the design of headquarters for major corporations and financial institutions, adaptive reuse and restoration projects, academic facilities, industrial and commercial buildings, multi-family housing, residences, showrooms and auction house facilities, and restaurants, as well as furniture and product designs. Stonehill & Taylor's record is one of outstanding professional performance. We take pride in our relationships, which are evidenced in numerous repeat clients. The design process is centered on attention to client needs; special care is taken to ensure that results are responsive to client expectations.

For more information about the company, please visit

About Hilton Worldwide

Hilton Worldwide is the leading global hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector from luxurious full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and mid-priced hotels. For more than 90 years, Hilton Worldwide has been offering business and leisure travelers the finest in accommodations, service, amenities and value. The company is dedicated to continuing its tradition of providing exceptional guest experiences across its global brands. Its brands are comprised of more than 3,500 hotels in 81 countries and include Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages the world-class guest reward program Hilton HHonors®.

For more information about the company, please visit

SOURCE Stonehill & Taylor Architects