Luminaires add a modern touch to the historic Algonquin Hotel

May 16, 2023
Stonehill Taylor with several lighting consultants oversaw the renovation of New York’s oldest, continuously operating hotel.

Built in 1902 and designated as a historic landmark in 1987, the 181-room Algonquin Hotel is one of the oldest operating hotels in New York. In 2022, Stonehill Taylor oversaw the refresh of the Beaux-Arts style interior design and architecture of the ground floor public spaces, including the Blue Bar and the Oak Room, introducing contemporary lighting and furnishings within the original classical environment.

The hotel was renowned for its regular gatherings of artists. In the 1920s, the Algonquin Round Table in the Oak Room hosted daily lunch meetings frequented by writers, Broadway playwrights, poets, and musicians. “The Algonquin’s new interior design references the sophistication of this special period in New York City and the hotel’s history,” says Sara Duffy, a principal of local architecture firm Stonehill Taylor who also co-led the project design with fellow principal Neill Parker. “Our lighting design focus was to allow the new decorative pieces to feel modern, and the architectural lighting to emphasize the existing details of the space.”

Stonehill Parker worked with HB Lighting to design custom decorative fixtures throughout the space. Local firm Reveal Design Group oversaw functional and accent lighting in partnership with Jeffrey Nathan Lighting Design.

In the renovated lobby, a sculptural modern reception desk combines a marble top with a golden inverted-step base integrated with concealed lighting. Backlit bookshelves create an intimate seating corner. In the lounge, cove lighting highlights the extensive molding, paneling, and classical Corinthian columns, which stand in contrast to the modern circular and spherical chandelier fixtures. Custom chandeliers created by HB Lighting use LED strip lights to illuminate the acrylic disks, Duffy says. 

Stonehill Taylor reimagined The Oak Room as an event space. Ceiling fixtures arranged in an interlocking pattern use champagne-colored metal with linear LED lights suspended above.

The Blue Bar was relocated to its original location, in what is now the main lobby. Bar shelves integrated with dimmable LEDs create a focal point, Duffy says. “Theatrical lighting mounted on the ceiling provides the blue glow. The outer halo is a dimmable linear LED tape light.”

At one end of the room is an interpretation of the Round Table, under a catenary chandelier of dimmable LEDs—Tracer Loop by Luke Lamp Co. Seating areas are flanked by Aura table fixtures, also by Luke Lamp Co. The dining section features NH S3 brass and blackened metal chandeliers with hand-blown white glass globes, designed by Neri&Hu for Artemide.

Click below to learn in detail the lighting design of two other hospitality projects:

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About the Author

Vilma Barr

Vilma Barr is a contributing editor to U.S. and international professional journals and trade periodicals published in the U.S. and internationally in the fields of lighting and the built environment. She has served as author, co-author, and editor of design and business books.

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