Hotel Hugo defines industrial chic. The upscale, contemporary hotel was the vision of designer and architect Marcello Pozzi and Nobutaka Ashihara, the project’s architect of record. Recently opened in SoHo, the design blends the neighborhood’s sophisticated atmosphere with the gritty underpinnings of New York City in a style Pozzi refers to as a game of contrast, a juxtaposition of finishes. There is a striking interplay between opposites throughout, polished stainless steel, for example, that complements rough concrete. This careful balance isn’t an accident; Pozzi relied on seemingly minor details, like ASSA ABLOY’s Rockwood door pulls, to create Hotel Hugo’s distinct character.
The Importance of Hardware
When it comes to tying together a space’s look and feel, Pozzi believes hardware does a lot of the heavy lifting. Since the door pull serves as each guest’s first touch point with the hotel, Pozzi wanted to infuse the experience of opening the front door for the first time with emotional resonance, so he insisted on something more dramatic and less predictable than the stainless steel typically used for commercial entrances.
“Hardware gives character to a space, even more so than other design elements,” said Pozzi. “It’s both visual and interactive, creating character through sight and touch.”
Having used Rockwood for prior projects, the manufacturer’s high-end hand-stitched leather offset pulls instantly came to mind when Pozzi was looking for hardware that did its job with enough style to also serve as a critical design element. This particular style of pulls is very contemporary. At the same time, unlike most office hardware, it also emulates warmth. He chose pulls with thick 1½” soft leather grips to elicit a stronger, conscious reaction from guests as they enter. And because he had worked with Rockwood before, Pozzi knew the selected hardware would exceed expectations in terms of quality.
Inside Hotel Hugo
With soaring 12-foot wood doors, the six-foot Rockwood pulls are a perfect fit. Since Pozzi insisted on design consistency beyond the front entrance, he used a variety of Rockwood architectural door pulls in many other parts of the hotel including entry, restaurant, and doors in public areas such as the meeting room and business center.
The restaurant offers more examples of Pozzi’s flair for mixing elements and finishes. The bar includes a polished concrete countertop, boldly accented with polished stainless steel hardware. Pozzi used two pull sizes for the doors in the restaurant, a 72-inch pull for most doors and a 30-inch version for the private dining area in the back. The 72-inch pulls attach to the door at three points, which is unique in the industry. Rockwood offers an optional mid-post which provides added support and visual detail for long door pulls. Pozzi also chose rounded end pulls, which makes the entrances to the restaurant and private dining area look more luxurious.
Hotel Hugo features a wood storefront, with modern proportions and detail. After the custom-built 12-foot wood storefront doors there are secondary glass doors– yet another example of traditional juxtaposed with contemporary – all tied together with the elegant Rockwood door pulls. Pozzi gave additional exposure to the hardware by using accent lights, making the hardware stand out against both the wood and the glass doors.
A Critical Design Element
Although quite contemporary, there’s a retro feel in the hotel restrooms and suites, and the exposed hardware remains a constant detail. As most industrial places are characterized by hardware and steel, statement hardware with character is central to the hotel’s overall design.
Hardware often subconsciously gives character to a space. All of the handrails, door pulls, handles, decorative lights and even trim around mirrors are thoughtfully chosen– Rockwood pulls are critical in communicating that the guest has indeed arrived at Hotel Hugo.