Millions of tourists travel to New York City precisely for its urban character, yet that charm is often hidden from the places where visitors stay. Gabellini Sheppard’s new redesign of the Milford NYC (formerly the Milford Plaza Hotel) in Times Square challenges that notion. “It’s an extension of the city,” Michael Gabellini says. “We wanted to create something that has a sense of refined grittiness, something that feels street smart and tough but with a refined palette and materials.” After two years of renovations, the Milford has undergone a thorough refresh at the hands of the New York–based firm, whose projects include Jil Sander and Salvatore Ferragamo stores around the world and the Top of the Rock observation deck at Rockefeller Center. For the Milford, Gabellini Sheppard devised a lobby floor and public areas that recall an urban plaza, creating wide-open spaces with materials that include Cor-Ten steel, concrete, and end-grain wood. A dining area with eight food stands channels the chaotic creativity of street life, and video art by Yorgo Alexopoulos and photos by pioneering paparrazo Ron Galella bring elements of the gallery scene and Studio 54 into the lobby and lounge areas respectively. (Gensler oversaw the design of the guest rooms, each of which features a simple white aesthetic accented by a graphic color that evokes a New York City subway line.) “There’s incredible intensity and vibrancy in the transformation of Times Square over the last 15 years,” Gabellini says. “We wanted to embed the public areas with the same sense of vitality and life, but also offer a bit more of a subdued, focused, concen-trated experience.”
By Julia Cooke