hotel design: Aloft Philadelphia Downtown

When the design team at New York-based Stonehill Taylor first encountered the abandoned, nearly century-old Liberty Title & Trust Building next to the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, they found the soaring space littered with graffiti and concertina wire. “It looked,” says principal Michael Suomi, “like a war zone.” But the good bones hidden under the dust and grime wound up being incorporated into the Aloft Philadelphia Downtown‘s lobby, which features an original clock, marble balustrades, and huge arched windows. There is is even a nod to the graffiti in the altered portraits of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson that greet guests as they ascend a set of steps from the street.

Hotel design: Bisha, Toronto

A Toronto nightlife and restaurant impresario partnered with local firms Lifetime Developments and Wallman Architects to transform the low-rise building into a 44-story, 96-key hotel topped with 355 residences and seven rental units. For the interiors, he turned to longtime collaborator Alessandro Munge, principal of Studio Munge (the two have worked on more than 20 projects in 10 years), who handled the residences, multiple F&B venues, public spaces, and guestrooms—except for a floor of suites by Lenny Kravitz (his 2,000-square-foot presidential suite is slated to debut in the spring). “It encompasses all of his experiences with and passion for restaurants, bars, and lounges,” explains Munge. “With a residential feel, he wanted [Bisha] to display his love for art and collected worldly pieces under one roof.”

Urban camping: Moxy Times Square redefines select-service

The Toronto firm of Yabu Pushelberg frequently designs what partner George Yabu calls “the best of the best of the top of the market”: Luxury in hotels and retail, including a yacht and a private jet or two. While they have tended to avoid “the big, wide middle,” Yabu says the 612-room Moxy Times Square offered some absorbing creative challenges.

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@DNA Hotels