Neophyte hotelier Sam Gelin sweated even the smallest design decisions that went into Made hotel in Manhattan as if his first property’s success depended solely on the minutia. See the ceramic plates and cups in the coffee shop, sourced from Japanese tableware brand Kinto; the vintage African fabrics encasing the lobby sofa pillows; the showstopping hand-cut limestone sink in the guest room bathrooms; the rooftop bar’s Zambian ironwood tables. “We layered the spaces with a variety of textures and materials,” he says. “It’s those small details that awaken your curiosity.”
To bring his vision to life, Gelin joined forces with Studio Mai, an L.A.-based firm known for leveraging design as a way to encourage social interactions in the era of device dependence. Plunked into the chaos of the NoMad neighborhood but tucked away from the traffic of 29th Street, Made feels like a stylish friend’s well-appointed townhouse. A relaxed vibe pervades the communal lobby café thanks to soaring windows, which allow sunlight to pour over guests sipping Colombian Devoción roasts around a central Vermont cypress table. In the lobby bar, nooks create intimate moments without disturbing the kinetic energy of the room. Chef Greg Proechel, who comes by way of the hit downtown bistro Le Turtle, helms the kitchen of the subterranean restaurant, Ferris, where he showcases a global range with dishes such as Ibérico pork collar in a black-bean sauce and radiant purple Okinawan sweet potato with pumpkin mustard and buttermilk. At the plant-filled rooftop bar, tiki cocktails are served beneath emerald lighting pendants, which were custom fabricated by Studio Mai, and on the terrace, where African birthing chairs have been adapted as coffee tables. “We programmed much of what we do around discovery, whether it be our martini, substituted with umeboshi [pickled Japanese plums] in lieu of olives, or the introduction to brands we collaborate with,” Gelin says.