When Copenhagen’s SAS Royal Hotel (above) opened its doors in 1960, it marked a major turning point in hotel design. Scandinavian Airlines had commissioned the Danish architect Arne Jacobsen to plan the hotel from the ground up, inside and out. The result was a squat, grey, 20-storey skyscraper — the highest building in Denmark at the time — outfitted with throngs of specially designed aquamarine furniture.
Of that furniture, you’ll no doubt recognize at least two pieces: Jacobsen’s now-famous Swan and Egg chairs, the curving, sweeping lines of which still embody the height of mod design. (The hotel has been owned by Radisson since 1994 and has long since been redecorated in the bland international chain style, but room 606 remains exactly as it was in 1960, complete with Jacobsen’s original furniture.)
As the mid-century modern trend proliferated — and Jacobsen’s star continued to rise — those Swan and Egg chairs started popping up all over the place, far, far away from their original home in the SAS Royal, thereby kicking off yet another trend: an aftermarket for furniture and objects originally designed for hotels and other public spaces. We rounded up some of the best of the bunch available today.
1. FOGO ISLAND INN
When the Fogo Island Inn opened somewhere off the north shore of Newfoundland three years ago, it shook two very distinct communities. On the one hand, it shocked villagers nearby who had to grapple with a world-class luxury hotel and art gallery suddenly putting their island on the map. On the other, global design enthusiasts were floored by its impressiveness, designed by the Newfoundland-Norwegian architect Todd Saunders. It quickly found itself on best-of — and bucket — lists the world over. The only way to experience it, though, was to get on a plane, then a car, then a boat, and book a room. (Actually, you probably want to book the room first.) Once there, you’ll find spaces that meld local culture with clean, modern design. Now, you can take that home with you. The Fogo Island Shop sells each of the specially designed pieces of furniture, including the Punt chair (above), made using traditional boat-building techniques.
2. HERZOG + DE MEURON
The Swiss duo of Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron comprises one of the most accomplished architecture firms of the modern era, having designed countless landmark buildings around the world. While much of their work concerns stadiums (Beijing’s infamous “Bird’s Nest”) and museums (Minnesota’s Walker Art Center), they also have several hotel projects to their name, including the Hotel Astoria in Lucerne. Now, the firm has launched Objects, a curated shop of some of their custom designs, including the Unterlinden hanging lamp.
Price upon request
3. MONDRIAN LONDON
Tom Dixon, the British industrial designer, has been at the top of the design world for years now, celebrated for his shiny modernist lighting collections and mid-century-inspired furniture. But until the Mondrian London at Sea Containers House, he’d never completed a full-scale hotel project. Dixon designed every room and common space, and the results are true to form: lots of sparkling copper and brass and comfortable plush velvet; spaces that feel both intimate and luxurious. Of course, you can buy many of the furnishings in the new hotel, including Tom Dixon staples like the Voide, Cell, and Etch pendant lights and his signature Wingback lounge and ottoman — only, they might not look as good in your place.
Price upon request
4. ATELIER ACE
The first Ace Hotel opened in a former halfway house in Seattle in 1999, and since then, the chain has expanded to include locations in Portland, New York, Palm Springs, and LA. The guys behind the Ace are accomplished design minds in their own right, but their true skill lies in aligning their hotels with trendy brands and on-point fashion. Their robes, for example, are a collaboration with the Vancouver fashion label Wings + Horns, and look like a cross between the fluffy hotel bathrobe you stole from your last business trip and the baggy robe you’d wear if you were a boxer. Similarly, the quilts that line every bed — and differ in colour, texture, and overall feeling for each city — were designed in collaboration with the French denim house A.P.C. And in the shower, the soap is supplied by luxury soap-on-a-rope purveyor Pearl+. Naturally, all of these items are for sale.
5. THE STANDARD
The Standard is best known for its flagship, a gleaming blue-green tower in New York’s Chelsea neighbourhood, literally straddling the High Line park. Inside, the rooms are subtle wood and earth tones, and lots and lots of windows — so it’s the accessories that stand out. On tables you might find a small candleholder designed by ceramic artist Clare Rojas, or a leather-handled, pill-shaped audio speaker produced in collaboration with NudeAudio. And if you forget certain essentials, you can always stop by the main floor shop to pick up a razor — designed in limited-edition Standard Red by Harry’s — or a pair of sunglasses by Warby Parker (with a lens cloth by the artist Jeff Canham).