Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, Roman and Williams

<strong>The Boom Boom Room is no longer called The Boom Boom Room. What’s the name now?</strong> 18th at the Standard. <p></p><strong>Seen from the street, the Boom Boom Room is incredibly intriguing, but the door is notoriously exclusive. Have you tried to go there as a guest? Any advice for curious nobodies like us?</strong> Big smile. <p></p><strong>Does it bother you at all that a place you designed is essentially off limits to the general public? </strong> It’s always just a matter of time before these places become more accessible.

<strong>Where did the <a href="">floor pennies</a> idea come from at <a href="">The Standard Grill</a>?</strong> Our endless discussions of everything copper yielded the penny as a floor concept. We wanted to build a truly American identity for the Standard Grill, and we chose the penny to represent that. What is more American than Lincoln’s profile?

<strong>What makes <a href="">The Standard Hotel</a> different from other hotels?</strong> Our design for the rooms does not follow any typical hotel formula for layouts or furnishings. It takes that common thinking and throws it out the window. Entertainment is a central theme of the hotel and it is expressed in the guest room living areas, which were designed to allow for ample seating for guests and their friends. The seating was carefully constructed to be at the same height as the beds to unify the lounge experience in the room, and it surrounds a custom-designed table with a lever for adjusting the height so that it can function as a coffee table, desk, or dining table, depending on the desires of the guests. <p></p>Perhaps the most interesting feature of the room is the handrail system that surrounds the living areas. Powder-coated-steel nightstands, tabletops, and storage racks and upholstered cushions attach to the molded-wood handrail system and allow total flexibility in the room’s furniture arrangement, while keeping weight off the floors to maintain the feeling of airiness inherent in the building’s design.

<strong>Are you surprised your design has inspired <a href="">such exhibitionism</a>? </strong> We are not at all surprised. That was the intention. It’s part of being in New York... And then there are the bathrooms—these custom brick-tiled rooms contain an open-standing shower in which the third wall is entirely made of glass or, in some rooms, operable wood louvers which open to the larger guestroom. Many of the rooms go further, and have a free standing bathtub located outside of the bathroom and in the actual living area itself.

<strong><a href="">The Breslin</a> has <a href="">received complaints from a nearby mosque</a>, whose worshipers object to the alcohol consumption. Were you aware that that might be an issue when you were working on the project? Are you making any changes to accommodate the complaints?</strong> We are not at all aware that it was so contentious. We planted a garden in front of the restaurant to separate the two, as a kind of screen and to add something beautiful and green to the neighborhood which is nice for everyone. <p></p><strong>What parts of the Breslin were your ideas and what came from the owners, Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield?</strong> The owners were much more focused on food than design. They were incredibly involved and encouraging, and the intensity of their attitude toward the food helped drive the design and spirit of the place.

The Ace Hotel lobby

<a href="">The Ace Hotel</a>

<strong>What was the biggest challenge you faced with 211 Elizabeth Street, which you designed from the ground up? </strong> The biggest challenge was to create a brick building with articulation and detail using modern construction methods. It may seem counterintuitive, but the idea of creating a classic brick building in New York in this day and age felt like a real breakthrough. <p></p>The plans of each apartment reflect the idiosyncrasies and details that are typical of prewar apartments. Although space is at a premium in any New York apartment, these units feature hallways and portals—a kind of “extra” found space that lends a sense of elegance to prewar residences.

<p>211 Elizabeth Street</p>

<strong>What are your favorite things about your loft, and what are you dying to change? </strong>Our favorite thing is that we kept it as a studio and a place to think and study. We love the shiny black floors. We never really want to change our spaces dramatically, but we always layer in new objects and elements to advance what we started... Well, maybe there’s one thing. We spend so much time in our garden in Montauk and we often talk about bringing more plants into our loft but we just haven’t gotten around to it!

<strong>Finally, what’s on the horizon for 2010?</strong>There are so many things happening. We finished so many big projects in 2009 - the Standard Hotel, the Ace Hotel, 211 Elizabeth Street and a few residential projects. People seem to be moved by the work and we are getting calls for some very large scale cultural and urban projects. We are about to announce a new tower on 57th Street—our second ground up building—as well as a new restaurant and our first retail store—which is part of the rebranding of an important American footwear and fashion brand. We are also starting work on our first monograph, for Rizzoli, and the design of several product lines.

The pool at Le Bain

<p>According to PSFK, artist Marco Brambilia (director of Demolition Man) and Toronto based studio Crush have created a moving mural inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy which utilizes over 400 video sources, including samples from several films. The installation is on view in one of The Standard’s elevators, leading up to the clubs. It's pretty wicked.</p>

Douglas Friedman