Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 127

Furniture pieces on display at
the Difficult exhibition

places in the world at that time. The only job
they had open was as an assistant art director,
which sounds really fancy, but it was just
pulling fabrics and things like that. I got to be
on the phone with Ettore Sottsass, Alessandro
Mendini, Andrea Branzi, and Nathalie Du
Pasquier. I didn't know what I was in the middle
of-I couldn't put my finger on it-so I started
to examine how Italians got to this place of
postmodernism. Through that I started to look
at '50s and '60s American design, and then
became obsessed.

headband, dressed completely in black. It was
[fashion photographer] Steven Meisel, and I was
in shock. He was smart and pointed; he knew
exactly what it was that he wanted and said,
'I'm doing a shoot for Italian Vogue, and I can't
even pay you but I want to use this, this, this, and
this.' I remember thinking that if he figured out
it wasn't junk and wanted to use this stuff in a
photoshoot, there's a possibility there will be a
mainstream moment for this.

What was the next step?

When I first got involved, hotels had wellappointed rooms that were decorated but looked
like hotel rooms. There were no real designers,
really. There was a generation of people that
came to this world from all these different places
like nightlife and environmental design and
applied their knowledge of how people passed
through places. It was the beginning, so it was
almost like a petri dish. Taking a chance on
people that had no real background in any way
blew up this world of design. There was no
prescribed way of designing anything. They just
trusted an eye or a person or a thing in the same
way that Meisel walked in the store.

David Silverstein gave me a lease on Lafayette
Street between Houston and Bleecker [in
Manhattan] for $2,000 a month and said, 'I've
got this store. Why don't you just take it?' The
idea of an 18-year-old kid without a bank account
doing this? These opportunities just do not exist
in New York anymore. There was nothing but
tumbleweeds rolling down the block. The Puck
Building was in disarray. Parts of windows were
boarded up and there were just gas stations, but
that's how it started. I was working as a probation
officer in Jersey City [New Jersey], and I would
take off from work and open the store at 11, run
back at 4, check out at work, and then come back
to New York. The second day it was open, this guy
from the band C+C Music Factory walked in and
said, 'Is this stuff kids' or office furniture?' I felt so
humiliated and thought, 'Why am I even trying
to do this?' Eventually, I got one client. She was
the president and editor in chief of DC Comics
and she understood. She [Jenette Kahn] bought
$10,000 worth of stuff one day and then sent me
a list for $150,000 worth of things and said, 'Find
them for me.'

When was the moment people realized
that America was actually making chic
stuff that shouldn't be thrown in a
dumpster but honored in a museum?
I remember the day so clearly. I was sitting in the
store and this guy came in with long hair and a

Photos by JOE KRAMM/R & COMPANY

Walrod's Difficult exhibition at
R & Company gallery

How did this inform your approach to
hotel design?

A lot of people also came from the film
world. What did you learn from your
experience there?
I was a designer on the set of [the 1997 film] The
Ice Storm. For me it was about the idea of creating
an environment and that you can do something
as powerful as a painting or a photograph with a
piece of furniture in a room. You step away from
it, look at it, and see how people interact with it.
There was a period of time when people damned
Philippe Starck. I thought, 'How could anybody
damn this guy that when you walk in there, you
have an experience that you are not going to have
for the next 20 years if you go back to your home?'
What he was doing was such a brilliant thing; it
was like watching a magic trick.

Once you started doing more
commercial collaborations with hoteliers
and high-end residences, did the
pressure on you change?
After you do the initial ones and they're
successful, you try to recreate that formula
or brand it in a certain way, which is very
important at that point because then these
things represent money, they represent
lifestyles, and they represent the opportunity to
expand upon the lexicon of what it is that you
started. Then there comes the secondary group
of people, and they see that you've done these
things in this way and they want the same thing
because they think [it] is going to be successful,
instead of taking chances on design and moving
and growing it. Because something worked once
in the right environment doesn't mean it's going
to work again somewhere else.

What was your big break?
The Standard, Downtown LA. These guys
were definitely the most intelligent, seeing an
opportunity for a generation that wasn't being
catered to, that wanted to feel cool within places.
Shawn Hausman was on the job and is a genius.
It was like Hotel School 101. You stay up until 1
in the morning, you take phone calls all hours
of the day, and girlfriends don't understand why
you're obsessing over bathroom layouts and
tiles. Then I worked with Sean MacPherson and
Eric Goode on the Park. The first time I went to
the site, there was a backhoe; they were digging
a hole in a parking lot and they said, 'We're
opening a restaurant.' New York was a Wild
West city. There was an opportunity for young
people.

Why do you think you've found success?
I didn't give myself an opportunity to do
anything else; that's what it was. There was no
safety net. If I'm not designing something, I'm
at the flea market. I never thought of this as
work, and I still don't.

hospitalitydesign.com November 2016

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Hospitality Design - November 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hospitality Design - November 2016

Hospitality Design - November 2016
Contents
Online TOC
From the Editor
From the Guest Editor
Perspectives
Memoir
Places Tel Aviv
Places Jason’s Picks
5 Questions for John Mcdonald
Products
Profile Jono Pandolfi
Lighting
Seating
Wallcoverings
The New Icons
Ad Index
Back Space
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Hospitality Design - November 2016
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Cover2
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 1
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 2
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 3
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 4
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 5
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 6
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 7
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 8
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 9
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 10
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 11
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 12
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Contents
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 14
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 15
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 16
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Online TOC
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 18
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 19
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 20
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 21
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - From the Editor
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 23
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 24
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 25
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - From the Guest Editor
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 27
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 28
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 29
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 30
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 31
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 32
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 33
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 34
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Perspectives
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 36
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 37
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 38
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Memoir
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 40
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 41
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 42
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 43
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 44
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Places Tel Aviv
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 46
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 47
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 48
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 49
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 50
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 51
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 52
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Places Jason’s Picks
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 54
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 55
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 56
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 57
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 58
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 59
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 60
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 61
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 62
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 63
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 64
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 65
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 66
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 67
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 5 Questions for John Mcdonald
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 69
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 70
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 71
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 72
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 73
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 74
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Products
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 76
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 77
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 78
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Profile Jono Pandolfi
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 80
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 81
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 82
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Lighting
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 84
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 85
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 86
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 87
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 88
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 89
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 90
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Seating
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 92
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 93
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 94
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 95
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 96
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 97
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 98
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Wallcoverings
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 100
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 101
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 102
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 103
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 104
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - The New Icons
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 106
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 107
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 108
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 109
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 110
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Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 139
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 140
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 141
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Ad Index
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - 143
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Back Space
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Cover3
Hospitality Design - November 2016 - Cover4
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