The new downtown Ace Hotel, located in the historic 1927 United Artists building, is now the fresh L.A.’s destination. The interior design was Commune’s charge and does not lack anything such as artisan furniture, period details, cartoon sketches, through Stumptown coffee, turntables, fashionistas and ending up with Mary Pickford’s screening room. A 1,600-seat theater dripping in demented Spanish Gothic ornament inspired by a cathedral in Segovia was also chosen to complement this creative hotel design project.
“We wanted to make the hotel as eclectic and vivid as Los Angeles itself,” says Pamela Shamshiri, a partner in Commune.
The five-year-old Ace outpost in Palm Springs and the recently opened American Trade Hotel in Panama City were already selected to be part of this interior design challenge.
Eclectic hardly seems to cover the kaleidoscopic array of references conjured by Commune and the folks from Atelier Ace, the hotel chain’s in-house design team. There are nods to 1920s flappers and ’70s punks, original gangsters and Hollywood starlets, Adolf Loos and Frank Lloyd Wright, Spanish Colonial and midcentury modernism. Much of the work riffs on the elaborate architectural detailing and ornamentation of the landmark building and theater, which served as the flagship of United Artists, the maverick film studio founded by Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D. W. Griffith.
The complex was for years the offices and church of Gene Scott, the late pastor and religious broadcaster.
In characteristic Commune fashion, the firm has assembled an all-star team of contemporary artists and designers—most of them L.A. based—to create custom commissions for the project. That roster includes Michael Boyd, who contributed a range of furniture for the public spaces; Tanya Aguiniga, who created a monumental textile wall hanging crafted from the gray blankets handed out to homeless denizens of Skid Row; Adam Silverman, who made ceramic hanging lights for the rooftop lounge; Michael Schmidt, who salvaged rusted-metal chains and lighting fixtures from the old theater and transformed them into a site-specific ceiling installation; and brothers Simon and Nikolai Haas, who (with an assist from Vater Haas) designed the hotel’s fetching reception desk.
The room’s cost is $199 per night.