Sunday, May 28, 2017

BEAUTY: Interiors--Kara Mann

Master interior designer Kara Mann was hired to design some model rooms at the legendary and infamous Hotel Chelsea in New York City. The Hotel has been undergoing a deep renovation for the last many years and last year, the building was sold for $250 million and the new owners have announced that they are going to reopen The Hotel in 2018 as a combination of a hotel and condos.

Since its inception in 1885, The Hotel Chelsea has been more than a has been a haven and home for writers, poets, artists, musicians, singers, and creative people of all types. Mark Twain was among the earliest long term residents at the Chelsea. Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY while living at the Chelsea...and Kerouac wrote ON THE ROAD there. Dylan Thomas died of pneumonia at the Chelsea in 1953. The list is long and staggering but musicians from Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Pink Floyd to Edith Piaf, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen have all lived for a time at The Chelsea. Sex Pistol member Sid Vicious lived there and in fact, the hotel is where Nancy Spungen, his girlfriend was found stabbed to death. Artists as varied as Diego Rivera, Robert Mapplethorpe, Willem de Kooning, Christo, and Nikki de Saint-Phalle have all called The Chelsea home. But the most well-known residents are surely the Warhol Superstars: Edie Sedgwick, Viva, Ultra Violet, Mary Woronov, Holly Woodlawn, Andrea Feldman, Paul America, Rene Ricard, Nico, and Brigid Berlin. In fact, Warhol and Paul Morrissey directed "Chelsea Girls," a 1966 underground film about the lives of these Warhol Superstars and Factory regulars.

In 1966, the same year as Warhol's film, The Chelsea Hotel was named a New York City landmark, and in 1977 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Given this incredible pedigree, The Chelsea Hotel conjures up many styles, faces, and periods. Designer Mann (previously here) tends to produce dark, moody interiors but kept rooms light for her Chelsea remodel while miraculously managing to maintain a dark, moody feeling that is tinged with a sense of decadent rock n' roll. She coupled this with peculiar art, collected patchwork Bohemiana, and a worn look that tells the tale of The Chelsea from today's perspective. Fantastic work.

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