Lea Jihyun Lee's Portfolio
W French Quarter-index.jpg

W Hotel French Quarter


w hotel, french quarter

Office: nemaworkshop

Location: French Quarter, LA


Project Type: Commercial/Residential


Project Year: 2013

Shadow and Rhythm: Hidden down cobblestone streets, behind the historical facades and balconies of the French Quarter, a mysterious underground universe lingers. From the tarot reader who reads cards in the flickering shadows thrown from a gas lamp to the soothsayer whispering voodoo charms, the allure of magic and mystery is intoxicating.

Meanwhile, jazz pulses through the veins of the French quarter, spilling out of homes and clubs throughout the neighborhood. Moody jazz is the soundtrack to this alternate reality, laden with secrets, mystery and unusual perspectives. A place where vision is not about what you see but what you perceive. As the rite continues, dancing ensues in public spaces while in candlelit corners clandestine meetings and tarot cards unfold. Throughout the evening, secrets are kept, offerings made and mysteries revealed. The corner not only redefines the room architecturally, creating a new volume it also allows light to spill into the space. The interior graphic is an image which wraps the interior volume while simultaneously asserting one of the two storylines.

Drawing on the culture of New Orleans and more specifically the subtexts of Dark Arts, Tarot and Jazz, the guestrooms capture a particular atmosphere of mystery and intrigue. Anchoring the design to the physical context are the chevron floor pattern and the shutters. While they link W guestroom and historic residences of the French Quarter, the gold accent in the chevron floor pattern injects it with the W DNA. The clean, low, high-gloss white millwork establishes a modern framework for the design.

The minibar presents itself as a W interpretation of an altar. The reflective faceted box isolates and frames portions of the image – as you reach for the door you might find her mouth which might shift to become a portion of her ear. Whereas a traditional altar would have candles lining the top surface, this top surface is an illuminated plane. Opposite, the convex mirror expands on the reflections and gives yet another reading of the image. Like a crystal ball it reveals an image both seductive and alluring in its distortion. Adjacent the convex mirror is the record player from the Jazz Preservation Hall, not only reminding you that you are in the city where jazz was born but furthermore lending a moody, soulful soundtrack to your stay.

*Project texts / descriptions from nemaworkshop, www.nemaworkshop.com