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An Ace Project

by Benchmark on August 13th, 2013
Ace Hotel 2

The Benchmark workshop is currently busy making a large commission for the new 265 bedroom Ace Hotel in Shoreditch High Street due to open next month.

A desire to furnish with local, handcrafted pieces led Ace to visit our workshops.  They were so impressed  by  our passion, facilities and sustainable philosophy that they commissioned nearly one hundred pieces of bespoke furniture for throughout the hotel.

We’ve been fascinated and inspired by the Ace story and eagerly await the opening to see our furniture in what we reckon will be a super cool space:

When Seattle friends Alex Calderwood, Wade Weigel and Doug Herrick initially dreamed of opening the first Ace Hotel — Ace Hotel Seattle, in 1999 — they wanted their hotel to be linked to the local culture, a living part of the community — like the experience of staying with friends who are plugged into the local scene.

The recipe involved taking an old building in an emerging location, a small budget requiring lateral thinking and some clever industrial salvage, a design aesthetic that mixes uncluttered comfort with a bohemian vibe, and the experience that comes from being a seasoned traveller and knowing what you do and don’t need when it comes to resting your weary head.

The second Ace opened in Portland in 2007 — a bigger and more ambitious project with its 79 rooms (compared to Seattle’s 28), a restaurant, coffee shop, exhibition and event space. Ace Hotel New York (272 rooms) and Ace Hotel & Swim Club (170 rooms) in Palm Springs, California both opened in 2009. The two properties are an example of how Ace’s core value of incorporating a sense of place from the surrounding environs can express itself in wildly different ways.

Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs transforms a midcentury desert modern motel into an Ace-style resort. Ace Hotel New York recalls turn-of-the-century Times Square, with a building over a century old and design that evokes the grit and glamour of the New York’s past and present.

Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles opens in 2013 in the historic United Artists building. The LA landmark was built in 1927 to provide offices and a theater for the maverick film studio. The theater and tower stand as monuments to a group of seminal American artists pushing out on their own — driven by the need for creative control. United Artists co-founder Mary Pickford’s love for the ornate detail and stone spires of Spanish castles and cathedrals is manifest at the theater — a true temple of the arts. The mixture of reverent awe and irreverent independence in its origins is right up our alley — this is the kind of project we dream of.

Our ongoing creative process has presented opportunities for us to collaborate with artists, craftspersons and designers whose work we admire. Sometimes these projects are directly related to a hotel itself — like the Ace x Converse sneakers Ace New York employees wear or the Ace x Tanner Goods key fob for Swim Club members at Ace Hotel & Swim Club. Sometimes the relation to the property is less direct — we do it because we love to make beautiful things with our friends that we can share with the extended Ace family and friends

The Ace team is a curious hybrid—romantics with an unswerving business savvy, easygoing yet driven. We’re not interested in cooler-than-thou design statements, but in creating with soul. As the company grows, Ace stays true to the partners’ core creative beliefs, refusing to get caught up in big-business clichés, and insisting on doing things our own way. It isn’t just lip service. We seek out independent businesses, local artisans and young talent to drive the properties’ development. We look for creative ways to be resourceful and sustainable. And we believe in a better way of doing things, no matter the scale.

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