Ian Schrager’s New York office is filled with “stuff.” Categorized stacks of papers, photos, newspaper clippings, notebooks, folders, binders, picture frames, and other little treasures line the shelves around the perimeter of the room. Photos of city buildings, interior design renderings, and portraits hang with pushpins on the white walls. Design display boards lean against an armchair, next to Post-it note-covered paperwork on the floor. It’s cluttered, but it’s a neat kind of cluttered, a meticulous and colorful clutter that I would love to achieve in my own office. As the sun dapples the room, through a glass-paneled garage door, it looks simple and sophisticated, warm and inviting.
Last month, Schrager posed in his office for Lodging’s February cover shoot. Afterward, I interviewed him in his conference room, where even more blueprints and renderings covered the walls.
We discussed the debut of his new brand, Public, in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, and his plans to quickly roll out more properties. Two properties are in the works in New York City, and he is converting the Crowne Plaza in London to a Public. He’s also looking to expand the brand in cities like Miami and Los Angeles. When the right opportunity arises, Schrager will introduce a new luxury hotel brand as well.
We also discussed his less-is-more design mentality. With Public, he took a restrained and understated approach. He conveyed his belief that the hotel industry needs to return to the basics when it comes to boutique and lifestyle properties.
Schrager expressed his ongoing commitment to his partnership with Marriott on its luxury lifestyle brand, Edition, despite a roll out slowed by the economic downturn and fallout with the owners of its debut property in Waikiki over the summer. Yesterday, Marriott announced five new hotels for the brand, including one in Manhattan’s Clock Tower building. Design work is already underway, and the renovation and conversion is scheduled to begin in late 2012. Other hotels announced include projects under construction in Bangkok and Abu Dhabi, as well as contracts signed for hotels in Los Angeles and Gurgaon, India. A London Edition will open next year, and the Miami Beach Edition is expected to open in late 2013. “They are really going after it,” Schrager said of Marriott’s decision to make several purchases.
Stay tuned for more from Schrager—including mistakes he has made and the curse that plagues him—when the February issue hits the streets.
— Megan Sullivan, Managing Editor, Lodging