Soho Grand Scheme

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Courtesy of Soho Grand

When designer Bill Sofield unveiled the Soho Grand in 1996, he sparked a new era of boutique-hotel construction in downtown New York City. Soho Grand instantly became a favorite of the city's fashion and entertainment elite, and part of its enduring charm stems from thoughtful design that drew inspiration from the surrounding neighborhood. The concrete pillars, glass-bottle staircase and intricate cast-iron detailing in the lobby seem to spill in from the streets, mixing shabby with chic and melding industrial materials with the sybaritic softness of luxury accommodation.

Fourteen years later, Sofield — who has also designed boutiques for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent — has worked his magic on the hotel once again. In August, he debuted 10 loftlike suites on the 16th floor, each offering expansive views of the New York City skyline. Measuring up to 74 sq m, the suites feature separate living and sleeping quarters and massive bathrooms. The blend of grit and grace remains, with fabrics like velvet and silk juxtaposed against solid steel cabinets, ash plank flooring and aged leather furnishings.

"The interiors are idiosyncratic yet refined," Sofield tells TIME. "They really reflect the vernacular of downtown Manhattan and the lexicon of its artistic community." That's especially true in the bathroom wall coverings, which come from New Yorker illustrator Saul Steinberg, and in offbeat touches like coffee tables partly fashioned from recycled newspapers. Of course, old materials are balanced with new ones: the suites boast wall-mounted flat-screen televisions, 27-in. iMac desktop computers, iPod docks and iPads loaded with the hotel's own guide to New York City. See for more.

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