Designer David Rockwell is hoping to bring the behind-the-scenes players of the Broadway industry to the forefront with his design for the upcoming Olio hotel.
Rockwell Group is designing the interior of the hotel, located at 305 West 48th Street, with a theater-based theme. The theme will encompass curated art from Broadway designers and photographers throughout the hotel, as well as a theater-influenced design and a performance space.
The 27-floor hotel, operated by hospitality firm Stonebridge Companies, is currently under construction and is planning for a May 2020 opening.
The initial 2020 art exhibition, which will be displayed in the hotel’s public spaces on a six-month rotation, will be curated by scenic designer Christine Jones, costume designer Ann Roth and lighting designer Jules Fisher. The exhibitions will include art from all the curators as well as work from other artists including original art pieces, sketches, design concepts, models, still photos, costume pieces and digital art.
The second exhibition, opening at the beginning of 2021, will be curated by costume designer William Ivey Long, scenic designer Robin Wagner and costume designer Paul Tazewell. Rockwell will serve creative director of the art program and select future curators.
Some pieces of original work as well as reproductions of art from the exhibitions will be put on sale with proceeds benefiting The Actors Fund and The American Theatre Wing.
“I thought this was a chance for designers to be present in a way that directly benefits the theater community,” Rockwell said.
Overall the concept is meant to recall classic theater establishments such as the Polish Tea Room or the Stork Club and serve as “a casual, democratic watering hole” for the theater community, Rockwell said.
In addition to the exhibitions, permanent art featured throughout the hotel will include photos from Broadway photographers Joan Marcus, Matt Murphy and Bruce Glikas. The light fixtures in the public spaces of the hotel will feature sketches, by scenic designer Tony Walton, of the 41 Broadway theaters.
The second floor of the hotel will feature a bar and lounge, called the Stage Door Canteen, which will feature performances from emerging theater artists.