By Cathy Whitlock
Luxury obile Citizen for
A New Oasis in Times Square
The edict from the Amsterdam-based hotel chain citizenM for their first U.S. location in Times Square was clear cut: “design a destination that blends into the local context—architecturally, culturally, and [with] the vibe—and still is typical and recognizable as citizenM.” Such was the task at hand for Erikjan Vermeulen, head of architecture and partner of the architectural and design firm concrete. Considered one of the hottest and trendiest brands in the hotel industry, citizenM faced stiff competition in the already crowded Manhattan hospitality market. How to set yourself apart and still stay true to the brand was just one of the many challenges the team of nine architects and interior designers (also based in Amsterdam) faced for the 83,300-square-foot hotel that opened in April 2014. Associated with affordable luxury (rooms run a mere $200 a night), the citizenM customer is a “mobile citizen of the world” (the M stands for mobile)—think entrepreneurs and business people with a love of technology, and a need for ease and convenience. “In the life of the mobile citizen, work and pleasure merge,” explains Vermeulen. “They work and have meetings in the same places where they relax and meet friends, both at any moment of the
British artist Julian Opie’s Walking People creates a powerful design impact in the hotel lobby. 26
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