Project: Gotham Hotel Murals
The Gotham Hotel is a luxury, boutique hotel in the center of Manhattan. During its recent design renovations, a question arose: what to do with the utility walls which face the elevator banks on the guest floors. These walls are dotted with small hinged doors, vents, and utility panels. They stand just a few feet away from the elevators, and the panels and vents cannot be covered.
The answer was to turn these walls into welcoming works of art by commissioning Piero Manrique to fill them with black and white, urban landscapes. Manrique carefully created mural designs which seamlessly incorporate the vents and hinges into each scene. Door edges became the outlines of buildings. Vents were transformed into the windows of skyscrapers. As a result, these utility elements became virtually indistinguishable from the murals and now go unnoticed by the hotel's guests. Produced in a "sketch-like" drawing style, each of the 22 guest room floor murals feature a different scene of famous streets and buildings from an earlier time in New York City. Grand Central Station, Tudor City and the Chrysler Building, the original neo-classic Penn Station, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and Columbus Circle are depicted as they appeared at the beginning of the 19th century. Building facades and statues are finely detailed. Trolley cars, horse & buggies, women in long skirts and men in top hats fill the murals with activity.
Manrique carefully considered the use of perspective in each of these murals, as his goal was to invite viewers into each of the landscapes. As a result, when guests step off the elevator, they no longer face a blank wall. Instead, they are given the experience of looking across a park, down an avenue or into a multi-tiered skyline.
In addition to solving the original design challenge, these beautiful cityscapes add to the unique elegance of the Gotham, effectively, blending the contemporary style of the hotel with its historic roots in the middle of Manhattan.