Diamond Horseshoe Club at the Paramount

After real estate mogul Aby Rosen bought the Paramount Hotel in New York City’s Theater District for $275 million in 2011, the hotel underwent a $40 million renovation. The overhaul brought the legendary Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe, a 1940s nightclub in the hotel’s basement that hosted vaudeville-style revues, back to life after being shuttered for more than 60 years. While most of the elements original to the space couldn’t be preserved, the design team studied the work of the original architect, Thomas Lamb, for inspiration. The core team responsible for the revival included Stonehill & Taylor project architect Marianna Monfeld, interior designer Meg Sharpe, and Douglas Little, set designer for the debuting theatrical event, Queen of the Night. “The first time I walked through this space, I felt I was in the presence of really important ghosts,” Monfeld says. “It was an awesome responsibility to be a part of the resurrection of this space.”

House Party
Playful design touches like animal print fabrics were inspired by Diamond Horseshoe’s fictional hostess—an irreverent, opulent Italian marchesa who comes to New York to flee her creditors and throws raucous supper parties in her new home. “We really did make her a big personality and presence within the space,” Sharpe says. “Everything was meant to be a little bit luxe and over the top and, at the same time, a little tongue-in-cheek and playful, never taking ourselves too seriously.”

Kaleidoscope
Antique faceted mirrors, dotted with tiny filament bulbs, line the walls behind the banquettes and make the space come alive even more. “It’s that kaleidoscope that is all around you, with bright lights, colors, and movements, that makes it so special,” Monfeld says.

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Starry Night
The club’s decorative ceiling, with domes, trim, and a fiber-optic starry sky, gives the illusion of volume. The center ceiling ellipse recalls part of the old Thomas Lamb design, as do the classical side arches and frieze. “The biggest challenge with this project had to do with height,” Monfeld says. “You really want to have high, open space and build the volume, but we have a 20-story hotel above.”

Sensuous and Sumptuous
Stonehill & Taylor used curves rather than straight lines to build a sense of motion while referencing the original oval center that the space radiates from. This flow carries over into the curved banquettes and railings of the raised seating pods. “We wanted to take the architecture and let it reveal itself,” Sharpe says. “There was something very sensuous and sumptuous about the curve and creating that really nice energy.”

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