New York’s Lower East Side has led many lives. A melting-pot immigrant mecca lined with six-story tenements in the 1800s. A hotbed of underground music and art in the 1970s and ’80s. A magnet for the country’s hippest indie designers and chefs today. Only the neighborhood’s signature grit — the visionary locals, the graffitied brick, the unmarked clubs — has remained constant. This slice of Manhattan oozes edge, and it’s the edgiest corners of the Lower East Side that infuse the design of the new Hotel Indigo Lower East Side New York.
“The design was especially inspired by the creative energy that burst forth from the vacant lots, derelict buildings and lofts of the Lower East Side in the 1970s and ’80s,” says Tim Horn, hotel designer and partner at Amanda Sullivan Studio Architecture. “This struggling, racially and culturally diverse, creative, artistic neighborhood was challenging convention — scavenging parts from abandoned cars and derelict buildings to make accessible public sculpture and art, and holding open-air block parties in the streets on hot summer nights, with music played by local DJs scratching their turntables while skimming power from the municipal streetlamps.”
This vibe informs every aspect of the hotel, from the vast 14th-floor lobby to the chic, modern guest rooms.
“Graffiti, found objects, and street art motifs permeate the hotel, just as they permeate the neighborhood surrounding it,” Horn says.
Nina Hudson, designer and regional manager of property improvements for Hotel Indigo, oversaw the process — a true group effort that included a host of teams and years of research, including a summer spent touring food and beverage outlets across the city to “understand what a New Yorker, let alone a Lower East Sider, would be expecting.”
Follow in Nina’s footsteps as you explore her favorite neighborhood-inspired details within the hotel:
The 14th-floor sky lobby mural installation by Lee Quinones.
“Lee is considered one of the single most influential artists to emerge from the New York City graffiti movement. He joined the project pretty early in the design process in 2012, and upon our first meeting he was such a great storyteller, and he described the Lower East Side and the evolution of the graffiti movement with such passion, that the entire team was convinced that Lee was definitely the right artist to convey the LES neighborhood story through his talent.”
Mr. Purple bar and restaurant on the 15th floor.
“The inspiration for the restaurant name is Lower East Side icon David Wilkie, who became known as ‘Mr. Purple’ because he preferred to wear shades of purple. Artist Lee Quinones’ lobby mural includes an image of Mr. Purple. The space is quite unique with its minimal design aesthetic, which was done to really celebrate the spectacular views of downtown Manhattan.”
Locally inspired art everywhere you turn.
“Art is woven throughout the entire hotel. The brand and the design team pushed for the art to truly reflect the eclectic culture of the Lower East Side. Upon entering, you’ll discover impactful sculptural art and intricate ironwork; the large-scale ceiling mural in the 14th-floor lobby; the elevator lobby’s creative, wayfinding art collages; and, in the guest rooms, the graffiti-inspired murals that really set the tone for the hotel’s overall ambiance.”