If there's one thing we just learned about set designers turned architects/interior designers turned Gwyneth Paltrow collaborators Roman & Williams, it's not to fuck with them. Specifically, do not?repeat, do not?take credit for designing the insides of the Meatpacking District's Standard Hotel, our favorite new building of the past decade. You know what happens when you take credit for designing the Standard Hotel, Shawn Hausman? You suffer the wrath of a Roman & Williams open letter! Wait, Shawn who?
Hausman is an L.A.-based designer who has collaborated on several Standards with hotelier André Balazs. He's often connected with the Meatpacking District version as well, his name even appearing before R&W's in a big Vanity Fair feature when the hotel opened last year, as well as a recent New York magazine story on hotels with swingin' nightlife scenes. Apparently that doesn't sit well with R&W heads Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch. They've passed along this letter to us, which arrived with the subject line, "WHO DESIGNED THE NEW YORK STANDARD." Architect fight!
There has been a persistent rumor flying around that suggests that Shawn Hausman actually designed the New York Standard Hotel. We have to ask: who is spreading this unfounded rumor and why? We want to get to the bottom of this and, we hope, nip it in the large deformed bud. We, Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch of Roman and Williams, and our devoted and talented staff, worked for nearly five years to design nearly every detail of the interior architecture and interior design – including custom design of much of the furniture – of the Standard’s 200,000 square feet. We have hundreds of sketches, renderings and construction drawings of our design work on the hotel.
(The exception to this is the store, which was done by another outside design firm, and the recent roof deck, which was done internally by the Hotels AB staff with Shawn Hausman.)
Although a designer in his own right (who did the interiors of the first three Standard Hotels, two in LA and one in Miami), Shawn dropped in on only a few meetings over the five-year design process, never visited our offices or met with us privately, never put pen to paper on this project and never approved or corrected any sketch or working drawing. Therefore, he should not be given credit for the design. Hausman’s own website does not say he designed the Standard! He was one of many people who sat in on these meetings – in his role as a consultant to Hotels AB – but ultimately the entire design was driven by us with our client, Andre Balazs.
We had many collaborators, in addition to our staff and our client, including Andre’s design director Christine Gachot, the architects at Polshek Partnership, lighting designer Herve Descottes of L'Observatoire, and others who made contributions to the project. It is simply unjust to give recognition for the interior architecture, furniture designs and detailing of the hotel to this individual. One can simply just look at the first three Standards and compare them to the New York Standard; with the exception of the roof deck, there is just no commonality in the designs. (The common thread between all the properties is the great staffing, playful and provocative communication and creative interplay, which are the hallmarks of The Standard brand.)
We need to set the record straight so that credit is given where it is due. We at Roman and Williams are very proud of the work at the Standard. Its been very difficult for us and our staff to only be credited intermittently for our work, under some sort of "Really?" cloud, and yes "Really" we designed it (with apologies to Seth Meyers).
No one person holds a magic wand on a project like this. It was an intense and high-stakes undertaking in interior architecture and design, which required tremendous patience, talent, hard work, team work and persistence. The project, with all of its quirks, flamboyance, and playfulness, represents the intersection of our client’s goals and our design intent, and is very dear to us. Roman and Williams – and many others – spent too much of our blood, sweat and tears designing the New York Standard to allow this rumor to perpetuate.
Robin Standefer, Stephen Alesch, and the staff of Roman and Williams
Short of a T-square to the eye, that's what we call architects cracking open a can of whoop-ass! So, uh, anyone want to lay claim to Roman & Williams' Ace Hotel design?
· Roman & Williams [Official Site]
· Roman & Williams coverage [Curbed]
· The Standard coverage [Curbed]