The legendary Algonquin Hotel—the birthplace of New Yorker magazine—recently got a facelift to the tune of $4.5 million. And not surprisingly, the hotel’s owner, HEI, called once again on Champalimaud Design, who had renovated the hotel two other times since the 1990s (then owned by Olympus). "Then, it was an invasive restoration of the public spaces, both physical and spiritual and critical to the establishment of our reputation here in New York," explains Alexandra Champalimaud, founder of the locally based firm, adding that this time around she and her team handled the 174 guestrooms and suites, while Arnold Syrop freshened up the lobby furnishings, Blue Bar, and Round Table restaurant.
"The rooms pay homage to its literary heritage in an updated and elegant style," says Elisabeth Rogoff, Champalimaud Design’s senior designer of the project. "Importantly, however, the forms are updated and simplified and free of overbearing historical references." The designers employed light caramel walls, red leather upholstered desktops, and mahogany, "evocative of a classic Upper East Side library," Rogoff explains. Polished nickel accents, playful starburst mirrors, contemporary chandeliers and lamps, and custom roman shades complete the polished look. One thing that remained the same? The original and exclusive New Yorker wallpaper that lines guestroom corridors, designed by New Yorker cartoon editor Robert Mankoff.
But the renovation of such a historic building (originally built in 1902) was easier said than done. "The variations in each of the rooms are countless," Champalimaud explains. "Whilst perhaps each of the rooms share a vernacular, palette, and furniture package, a great number required individual modifications to achieve the appropriate and necessary level of functionality we all require in this day and age."