AHL Insider:

Roman And Williams

  • WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

    Our inspirations include: tug boats, strange vernacular, utility, buffalo hide, Red Cardinals, Alexander McQueen, powerful moments in architecture, tombs, dark spooky moments, Axel van Oort, botanicals, natural dye, Japanese indigo and Louise Bourgeois. What inspires us can differ from 8am to 8pm – it’s ever changing and evolving.

  • HOW IMPORTANT IS HISTORY IN YOUR WORK?

    We have a great interest in classic places and hospitality that stands the test of time, pure experiences – places like Claridge’s. We don’t ever want to have to replace anything: instead, we work with a sense of memory and history. This gives the process meaning. The greatest experiences, like a beautiful film or a mountain trek, all share a sense of discovery that’s ubiquitous with human nature. Our design reflects this. Design for design’s sake is such a drag.

  • Ace Hotel New York - Lobby

  • DO YOU SEEK PERFECTION?

    Peter Cook, musing on punk, once said that he recognized a motivation in Sid Vicious’ imperfection – a powerful point of view, creating a movement with powerful human connection. We relate to this.

  • DISCUSS PRIVATE VS. PUBLIC SPACES:

    There’s an intimacy and privacy in designing someone’s residence versus designing hotels or film and theatre sets – which will be seen by as many people as possible. Hotels stand apart – nobody forgets a great hotel.

  • Ace Hotel New York - The Breslin

  • WHAT UNITES YOUR WORK?

    The work we have done – the Royalton Hotel, Ace Hotel, the Standard NY and so on ¬– is all very different, but there’s always a key element of collaboration with the owners, architects or developers. We strive to work with people who share cultural similarities and a holistic approach.

  • WHO HAVE YOU LOVED WORKING WITH?

    It was inspiring to work with Alan Faena. He’s Argentinean and has a certain South American confidence and bravery, combined with an interest in global history and Argentina’s rural past. Alan has a deep understanding of humor reinvented, mischief, drama, quality and beauty. He’s from a culture that embraces mystery, creating rich and sumptuous experiences: true timelessness – a magic that defies time and period.

  • The Freehand Miami - Lobby

  • DESCRIBE A DREAM PROJECT:

    I’d love to design a botanical garden with a series of magical greenhouses. If Stephen had his way, he’d build a ferry boat or some sort of huge stone structure.

  • WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUNG DESIGNERS?

    Strive for beauty first; operational needs will come later. Work with a great sense of love and confidence. Imagine somebody’s dream escape, another existence for pleasure or for business: where would that person want to close a deal, have an affair or an anniversary? Bringing all this to the project is critical. Maintain a sense of fantasy.

  • DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE HOTEL IN THE WORLD?

    Our very favorite hotel is the Hiiragiya Ryokan in Kyoto.’ There’s no other service philosophy comparable and the sense of history is astounding.

  • The Standard New York - The Standard Grill

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