Rebranding hotels in a contemporary style

The Palette Architecture is proud to unveil its contemporary refurbishment of ModernHaus SoHo, a luxurious 114-room boutique hotel formerly known as The James New York. Situated in New York City’s vibrant SoHo district., the property was acquired by the current owners in 2017, and the hotel has changed ownership twice since its original construction in 2010. The client’s vision was to rebrand the hotel in a more contemporary style, breathing new life into the prominent structure and softening the rough material palette of its original design.


From the West
Photo credit: Pavel Bendov

A collaborative contemporization

From the onset, the project was a collaborative effort between multiple stakeholders, including the building’s owners, interior design firms, Wilson Associates and M. A. Bowers, Inc., and the hotel’s various food and beverage (F&B) operators. The team identified a variety of underutilized and outdated spaces that could be repurposed. With a goal of preserving much of the original building, the firm focused on highlighting its original precast concrete, steel, and weathered finishes. The team then embarked on a process of infusing consistency and character into the property, developing links to the SoHo neighborhood through the introduction of elements such as patterned motifs and selected artworks alluding to the district’s rich history of art and culture.


Hotel Lobby
Photo credit: Pavel Bendov


Veranda from Above
Photo credit: Pavel Bendov

Rooms with a view

Beginning with the lobby and hotel entrances, dated finishes were upgraded through the timeless use of natural materials. The designers introduced contrasts to the light-colored interior, including dark woods and metals that provide the space’s walls, doors, and railings with a contemporary facelift. In guestroom corridors, the use of Calder-esque carpeting, and the strategic placement of pop art, helps establish seamless connections to the SoHo vibe. The layout of the rooms themselves remained largely intact, with thoughtful contemporary touches of furnishings upholstered in soft, bold-colored fabrics.


Presidential Suite Living Room
Photo credit: Pavel Bendov


Guestroom Suite
Photo credit: Pavel Bendov


Presidential Suite Bedroom
Photo credit: Pavel Bendov

The main course – Veranda SoHo

While there were multiple components to the ModernHaus project, significant emphasis was placed on the property’s multiple F&B outlets from the start. Recognizing the tremendous value that the outlets represent, the team worked closely with the hotel’s F&B operators to capture the essence of their visions. Approximately 15 feet above street level, an underused rooftop space offered great potential. Consensus was reached, and the team designed a dynamic glass rooftop enclosure that greatly expanded the restaurant’s busy operations.


Veranda Dining Room
Photo credit: Pavel Bendov


Veranda from ModernHaus
Photo credit: Pavel Bendov


The Bar at Veranda
Photo credit: Pavel Bendov

Comfortable continuity - Meet me at The Jimmy

The property’s immensely popular 18th floor rooftop bar, which doubles as a pool bar by day. Additionally, in line with the theme of establishing connections with the external surroundings, a very modern communal sink was installed just outside of the unisex bathroom stalls. Positioned in front of an expansive wall of windows, the sink area provides stunning city views from the rooftop establishment.


Poolside at The Jimmy
Photo credit: Pavel Bendov


The Jimmy
Photo credit: Pavel Bendov


Washroom at The Jimmy
Photo credit: Pavel Bendov

About Palette Architecture

Palette Architecture is a leading-edge, full-service architecture and design practice. The founding partners first met as students of the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University, where their research focused on collaborative design, technical innovation, digital fabrication, and material investigations. After working at internationally renowned architecture offices, the partners reunited to form Palette Architecture in 2010 around a shared mission to create physical spaces that enhance and enrich the daily experience of people’s lives. The firm’s creative process fosters a collaborative dialogue with its clients, consultants, and builders to promote a more responsible and humane built environment.