On the southern tip of downtown LA sits the grand United Artists Building. Constructed in 1927 for Maverick Film Studio as their landmark theatre. The original founders love for Spanish Gothic Style is very apparent in the buildings facade with its cathedralesqe spire and ornate stonework.
The character of the building and the surrounding Broadway neighbourhood where an ideal fit for Ace Hotels LA Downtown home. Atelier commissioned holistic creative firm Commune Design to undertake the task of sensitively transforming the historic arts building into a hotel that would act as a destination and meeting place of creatives & innovators associated with the cities theatre & film industry.
Behind the oppulant facade sits a simple concrete frame and this is what Commune stripped much of the building back to on the bedroom floors while keeping much of the period features in the public areas.
Atelier describe ” Therein lies the basis for the concept at Ace Hotel’s newest home: the marriage between decadence and democracy, between 1920’s Hollywood glamour and modern minimalism, is informed by a finely tuned ear toward the Broadway Theatre District’s latest revival — a modern renaissance we’re proud to be a part of.”
The 182 rooms are very much sparce in their approach, falling under the democratic side of Ace’s ethos.
Commune Design drew inspiration from twentieth-century architect Rudolf Schindler’s West Hollywood residence when designing the decor.
The original concrete soffits are retained and walls are treated with homasote for acoustic insulation. The joinery is simple grey MDF with unlacquered brass fittings & fixtures decorating the room. There’s a mix of local made or vintage furniture depending on the room.
As with buildings of this nature it’s almost impossible to create a standard roomtype, so almost all the rooms are unique in their layouts, instead Ace group them in size, S, M & L as well loft & suites.
The carpeting is in a 1950s colour the designers called “Grandma gold.”
Front of House
As soon as you step foot through the main entrance you are met with a stunning white cathedral like space. Open archways surrounded with restored plasterwork give glimpses of the reception to your left and the L.A. chapter restaurant to your right.
This open layout creates fluid circulation around the hotel, as well as creating visual interest through every doorway / archway to draw you to it. Black & white cement floor tiles run through the ground floor spaces giving a commonality to the colour palette.
The L.A. Chapter
The L.A. Chapter is dressed in the style of a Viennese coffee house in the 1920s, however Commune juxtapose this classic look with modern devices incorporating tile patterned columns and counter fronts, Mondrian like stain glass windows & mirrors (which is actially an original gothic design blown up and turned on it side)
The restaurant incorporates classic banana chairs & custom brass topped tables adding to the elegance of the space. Again the concrete soffits are exposed adding to the mix match of elements that Commune use so successfully in the dining area.
The Theatre at Ace
The 1600 seater theatre is now back showing films although you’d be forgiven if you thought it was a place of worship (it actually was a church at one point and you can see why) intricate plasterwork and painted murals have been restored, the original seats rehoplostered. It truly is a unique feature of the hotel.
A separate black lift at takes you directly to the rooftop. The space is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House and the iconic Hollywood night spot Les Deux Café. The are two distinct spaces separated by the gothic spire that holds the bar. One side is the pool area, the other is the rooftop bar & restaurant.
A black metal structure & framed windows wraps around the space giving first class views of downtown as well as providing you some protection from the wind. The structure is decorated in boho patterned canopy that covers the majority of the seating areas. A coral tree takes centre place at the heart of the dining space giving a secret garden feel.
Furniture is very bohemian with cedar wood trunk tables, and patterned cushions thrown over the run of banquet seats and animal hide benches.
In stark contrast the bar contained within the spire is industrial, with chains hanging from the exposed concrete soffit. Set lighting gives a throw back to Broadway, while the perforations in the spire remind you that the original building is Spanish gothic. Church pew seating at the back of the space further cement this reference.
The hotel is a truely remarkable and unique building, the richness & character of the original building and neighbourhood are engrained in the interiors. Communes clever language referencing historic LA 1920s styles interspersed with modern, minimalist devices create spaces that are visually breath taking. Aces hipster brand touches and clientele finish off the puzzle. If your in LA it is a MUST see.