Legendary dining venue and club in New York City, the Diamond Horseshoe Club, has had an architectural and space redesign by Stonehill & Taylor. Located underneath the Paramount Hotel, the famous 1940s club has had its interiors designed by Meg Sharpe Interiors, who collaborated with Stonehill & Taylor on the project, as did Douglas Little, set designer for the debut immersive theatrical event, Queen of the Night.
Michael Suomi, Principal and VP of Design at Stonehill & Taylor, said: “Being a part of a project that brings the renowned Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe back to life was a real honour. We worked hard to pay proper respect to its iconic past, while creating something unique for today, in close collaboration with an amazingly talented group.”
Stonehill & Taylor used curves rather than straight lines to build a sense of motion in the club, while referencing the original oval centre that the space radiates from. The design also includes a highly ornamental and decorative ceiling with domes, trim, and a fibre optic starry sky, as well as overlaid elements such as raised seating pods, a DJ booth, and curved accents that break the classical mould.
The theatrical set is fully integrated into the architecture, making it critical for the design teams – theatrical, architecture and interior design – to work closely and collaboratively in realising this.
While the majority of original elements in the space could not be preserved, having been locked up for the past 62 years, the design team at Stonehill & Taylor studied the work of the original architect, Thomas Lamb, for design inspiration. The centre ceiling ellipse recalls part of the old Thomas Lamb design, as do the classical side arches (lunettes) and frieze. The team worked to preserve the remaining original pieces, such as the bronze display case at the base of the main staircase, which was revived with a new fire rated-glass partition, enabling this historic element to be integrated into the live performance.
A major consideration for Stonehill & Taylor’s design was to simultaneously address the acoustic requirements of both the theatrical team and the hotel operator. The firm created a strong acoustic barrier in order to ensure that hotel guests, just one storey above, would not be disrupted by the dynamic performances on the lower level. The team also brought the entire space up to the level needed to meet today’s rigid hospitality standards.
To strengthen the landmark building’s street presence, Stonehill & Taylor, as Design and Executive Architect, brought back the two ornate marquees that were once key exterior features – one for the hotel entrance and a separate one for the Diamond Horseshoe. The firm worked with lighting consultants Reveal Design Group for the architectural lighting inside the Diamond Horseshoe and on the exterior facade, highlighting the historic features that emphasize the building’s glamour.
Images © Stonehill & Taylor