October 2011

Poulin + Morris Revitalizes W Brand for W New York Downtown Hotel & Residences

Designed by New York City-based Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects, the W New York Downtown Hotel & Residences is the largest globally branded luxury hotel and residence project in lower Manhattan and the first W residential development located in New York City. This 58-story tower is comprised of 225-guest rooms, 233-condominiums, a BLT Bar and Grill with outdoor dining located at ground level, and a private rooftop deck and garden with expansive views for condominium owners.

Poulin + Morris was commissioned by The Moinian Group to develop an exterior sign program for the project. A large-scale ‘W’ functions as a iconic identifier for the building, as well as for the brand, and is fabricated in white translucent acrylic, internally illuminated with full spectrum LEDs. This letterform's illumination can be transformed into a kaleidescope of colors within the spectrum allowing maximum flexibility for the ‘W’ brand to evolve over time.

High finish materials are used extensively for all exterior identification and informational sign needs. From stainless steel to etched glass, all sign materials and processes have been culled from the architectural materials vocabulary of the building. For example, the entrance identification for the hotel, condominiums, and BLT Bar and Grill are stainless steel panels with cut-through, translucent, acrylic letters that are internally illuminated and recessed to flanking limestone-clad columns.

Another unique element of the program reinterprets the ‘W’ brand on the hotel's main entrance sliding glass doors. The designers created a frit pattern of the large-scale ‘W’ composed of vertical lines and applied in frosted vinyl to achieve a sandblasted appearance on the glass. When the doors slide open and close a series of graphic line patterns are created; when the doors are fully closed the pattern resolves itself into the standard ‘W’ logotype.

The design team was also responsible for the development of exterior retail tenant design standards, that includes BLT Bar and Grill exterior entrance identification.