Amsterdam December 1st, 2015: For years the basement of Hotel New York in Rotterdam was no more than a basement with storage and offices. During a visit of the city of New York, ESTIDA’S Michel Ruijgrok and Harry & Jennifer Westers of Westcord Hotels saw how The Plaza Hotel effectively uses his basement, and that prompted them to think how the basement yards from Hotel New York could perhaps be better utilized. Years of negotiations followed with the Monument Commission, for a property with such a history, you cannot just tinker. Last week NY Basement opened, and the result is worth the long wait. In collaboration with design agency ESTIDA, NY Basement puts down the atmosphere of pre-war Manhattan just so that it feels like the restaurant has been around for years.
The objective was to have an intimate, luxurious, variant to the large hotel restaurant, of course, whilst keeping the rich history of the building and the ‘Hotel New York feel’. And so the concept vision emerged for the hipster brother of the main restaurant.
The most difficult hurdle was to add two exterior door parties, giving direct access to visitors from outside as well as guaranteeing the security access. In a historic building with great historical value generally no structural changes are allowed. Thanks to the support of monuments expert Martin Fritz, and with extensive consultation, a lot of adjusting, and even more patience, we managed to arrive at a design that was acceptable, so the lights went green for NY Basement.
The 30s are marked by the Burlesque, a movement where Art Director Michel Ruijgrok of ESTIDA has much affinity with it, and that shows. The vaulted ceilings and clean walls are painted in a sand colour, the transverse walls at the bar ochre yellow. Technical elements on the ceiling, as the galvanized steel sprinklers are kept in view. The walls richly decorated with timbered panelling of distressed oak with geometric detailing and a half brick processed grey-green tiles finished with a bronzed brass mosaic inlay and -angles, and patinated oak top and bottom mouldings.
The basement so typical high up windows are covered with dark horizontal slats. The floor is tiled in a geometric pattern in yellow ochre, grey and copper green, and refers to the original floor of the basement, which was damaged too much to maintain. The new exterior doors are so carefully inserted that one cannot see that they are new. In front of these doors glass airlocks in sturdy black metal frames.
NY Basement has its own open kitchen, which is separated from the room by a black metal-framed glass wall. On the short side of the kitchen an attractive crushed ice buffet with fresh fish.
Prominent in the room the bar with oxidized copper back, the same material as the towers of Hotel New York. The rear cabinet is made of oak panelling with glass shelves and brass details. The shape of the patinated barfront is a quote from the exterior of the building of Hotel New York. The bar has French tin top with an ornamented edge.
Around the bar high seats with grey oak tables with a luxury stainless steel detail. The seating is upholstered with sanded leather in gray, green and yellow ocher, finished with decorative metal eyelets.
NY Basement is illuminated by decorative light ornaments in copper with glass, mirrors with direct and indirect lighting, supported by functional spotlight rails. The decoration consists of collages of thirties record-collections and jazz photos.
Thanks to the particularly detailed design of the interior the restaurant got the atmosphere of days gone well and the space exudes a lived-in look as if it’s already there for years.
Team NY Basement carries the thirties atmosphere through the entire service, from the choice of music, the cocktails, the glassware and the menu, the pre-war Manhattan revives in Rotterdam.
‘In recent years we have carried out many interior renovations in Hotel New York, from the guest rooms, conference suites, to the hotel restaurant and reception. It is an honour to contribute to this landmark hotel, certainly now by adding a completely new concept’, says art director Michel Ruijgrok.