Dark Arts


Dark Arts

Nemaworkshop’s transformation of the W New Orleans—French Quarter captures the charms and mysterious undercurrents of the city without skipping a beat on the hotel’s signature style.

By Erika Templeton
Photography by Vincent Chih-Chieh Chin

  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2013/0413/I_0413_Web_PE_NOLA_1.jpg

    The Courtyard features contrasting elements of fire and water, and a nod to classic French Quarter living. View larger

  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2013/0413/I_0413_Web_PE_NOLA_2.jpg

    Outdoor sofas and cabanas are adorned with tarot card pillows designed by W Design Group and manufactured by Francis Jena Spita of FJS Pillows. View larger

  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2013/0413/I_0413_Web_PE_NOLA_3.jpg

    Corridors on the tarot-themed floors feature Designtex wallcoverings with a voodoo-inspired pattern by nemaworkshop; for a touch of cohesion, all floors feature the same chevron-patterned carpet from Clayton Miller. View larger

  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2013/0413/I_0413_Web_PE_NOLA_4.jpg

    Nemaworkshop designed the Tarot guestroom artwork, a fresh application of the classic Queen of Pentacles image. View larger

  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2013/0413/I_0413_Web_PE_NOLA_5.jpg

    Jazz rooms get a blast of brass from abstract trumpet artwork designed by Martin Menocal. View larger

  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2013/0413/I_0413_Web_PE_NOLA_6.jpg

    Guests get a shot of cool blue on their way to the Courtyard and WET pool. View larger

  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2013/0413/I_0413_Web_PE_NOLA_7.jpg

    Nemaworkshop was inspired by musicians’ cummerbunds when designing the bed throw and pillows for the hotel’s jazz-themed rooms. View larger

  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2013/0413/I_0413_Web_PE_NOLA_8.jpg

    The fiery light of New Orleans’ courtyards continues on in the elevator lobby with artwork created by nemaworkshop. View larger

  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2013/0413/I_0413_Web_PE_NOLA_9.jpg

    Guests looking up at SoBou will find nemaworkshop added an extra touch of polka-dotted fun to Lumid’s brass light fixtures. View larger

  • /Portals/3/images/magazine/2013/0413/I_0413_Web_PE_NOLA_10.jpg

    Porcelain tiles by Sant’Agostino add a geometric W touch to the floor of the SoBou bar. View larger

Guests can still spot depictions of Laveau throughout the property, and they don’t have to book a room to experience the story. The hotel’s common areas feature show-stopping designs and richly layered cultural elements as well. All of the corridors, Studio meeting spaces, the Living Room (read: lobby), and the outdoor Courtyard are newly renovated and filled with clever nods to the soul of the city, as is the hotel’s new signature restaurant, SoBou.

“The new design definitely has a little fun with the city’s spiritual side,” says Nema. “You may see Marie’s eyes following you on the guest room number placard, or you may recognize her headdress on a directional sign. If you look up while you’re standing in the lift landing, you’ll notice tiny, pin-like lights, playing off voodoo pins.”

Like any good New Orleans fixture, SoBou (“South of Bourbon Street”) is equal parts booze and brass, inspired by Louisiana street food. The entry and front dining space look like an old apothecary, clad in floor-to-ceiling bottles celebrating the origins of America’s first cocktail, the sazerac. Illuminated display cases house a collection of vintage tools, shakers and glasses from the Museum of the American Cocktail.

In the main dining space, guests can peer into a one-way glass installation to see glowing bottles multiplying into infinity while they pick from a menu of regionally sourced, contemporary Creole dishes. Large brass pendants hang overhead, in convincing trumpet-horn fashion, while over at an adjacent beer garden, portraits of women’s eyes peer down from rectangular brass fixtures. There, patrons will also find self-service Enomatic® wine machines and beer taps built directly into the tables.

Out in the Courtyard, guests will find the firm’s homage to true French Quarter culture and architectural style, where the courtyard remains a social centerpiece. Here, a tiered water fountain, lush landscaping and vine-covered walls offer a bit of tranquility, while a pool and cabanas set behind wrought-iron gates provide a cool respite from the southern heat.

The final product is a hotel space that, as Nema hoped from the start, could not belong anywhere but here. It is a success that he hopes to promote among his peers.

“We as designers see a lot of things,” he says. “In research-based design, these ideas become hopefully more connected toward kind of giving up your specific ideas and just embracing the narrative and the stories coming out, and trying to mix with them and create an experience for guests.”



back to top


Elevator Lobby
Eaton Fine Art
(512) 323-2888

Jazz Guestrooms
Martin Menocal

(800) 227-5640

(800) 456-4537

Andreu World | 1
(800) 632-5272

(800) 621-0827

Reid Witlin
(818) 701-7900

Area Rugs
AP Designs
(917) 328-3631

Clayton Miller | 2
(877) 261-6334

+39 041 595 3811

HB Architectural Lighting
(718) 989-3870

Tom Dixon
+44 (0) 207 183 9732

(877) 222-7820

Imagine Tile (copper tiles)
(800) 680-8453

Nemo Tile (black tiles)

Sant’Agostino | 3
+39 0532 844111

Designtex | 4
(800) 221-1540


back to top

w new orleans—french quarter
316 Chartres Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 581-1200





 Project Team 
interior design
49 Bleecker Street
Suite 401
New York, NY 10012
(212) 645-0400

Anurag Nema
Orit Kaufman
Veronica Siebert
Katrina Kruszewski
Christopher Cushingham
Vincent Chih-Chieh Chin

 Project Team 
365 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 561-8686

Vincent Chih-Chieh Chin


Pages: 1  2  View All  

comments powered by Disqus

Newsletter Subscriptions

comments powered by Disqus
©Copyright 2014 Stamats Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. / interiors+sources