Contract - Carousel Bar

design - features - hospitality design



Carousel Bar

26 April, 2013

-By Caroline Tiger


Since Antonio Monteleone opened his eponymous hotel in 1886, three generations have made their mark on the family-owned property in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Bill Monteleone, Antonio’s grandson, wanted the update and expansion of the renowned Carousel Bar to be the crowning jewel of his own legacy. He hired San Francisco–based Puccini Group to fulfill his vision of consolidating the hotel’s two restaurants and underutilized lounge into one unique, beautiful restaurant with a contiguous, enlarged bar and lounge that restores the merry-go-round to its former glory.

Puccini’s design team, lead by Robert Polacek and Lindsay Broad, researched New Orleans, looking specifically into the time period when the Monteleone opened and the subsequent years. Though the hotel’s architecture, lobby, and guestrooms recall an imposing 19th-century neoclassical grandeur, the designers honed in on a different feel for the food and beverage areas. They discovered the revolving bar wasn’t built until 1949, and the current carousel top dates back to 1992. Earlier incarnations of the bar and lounge hosted famous actors and starlets frequenting America’s first motion picture theater, which opened nearby in the 1890s. In between, Jazz Age entertainers like Louis Prima played there. This colorful narrative led to Puccini’s scheme for the bar and lounge based on a modern interpretation of Jazz Age New Orleans.
“We wanted to use textures, colors, and pattern to evoke emotions tied to the feeling of the Jazz era,” says Broad, “to link to this idea of childlike fun and a quirky sense of humor.”

A theatrical experience

The plan was more contemporary than what Monteleone and the hotel initially had in mind, but they soon came on board. During their research, Broad and her team found vintage photographs by Alfred Cheney Johnston of Follies showgirls from the 1920s who might have patronized or performed at a New Orleans club of that era. Broad enlisted Latvian bead embroidery artist Binka Ragava to infuse the images, printed on canvas, with Mardi Gras–inspired bling. The resulting art personifies the overall tone—decadent and fun while balanced with a classic, feminine whimsy. The art also acknowledges the Carousel’s undeniable position as the bar and lounge’s focal point. “It really complements the carousel,” says Broad. “We needed everything about the surrounding space to relate to the bar’s sparkle and to strike a balance between holding its own and not overwhelming.”
The designers amplified the Carousel’s theatricality by neutralizing its immediate backdrop, switching out patterned carpet for a herringbone wood floor, and painting the room’s walls and ceiling a balanced gray to set off the bar’s glow. They clad the bar’s base in new, darker paneling and added mirrors and lights around and beneath its canopy to enhance its sparkle. By replacing vinyl seats with leather and a laminate bar with a distressed pewter bar top, the designers heightened the carousel’s overall impact.

A lounge that complements
Before the renovation, the adjacent lounge was a dark, low-ceilinged, old-fashioned piano lounge with fixed leather booths. “It was just a black box with no ornament or anything,” says Polacek. Puccini painted the walls soft white with subtle gray accents to pick up the gray of the Carousel Bar room. A new coffered ceiling and modern chandeliers wink at the hotel lobby’s dramatic ceiling and grand light fixtures. Furniture, accessories and rugs—arranged in loose groupings so they can easily be rearranged—are primarily in muted versions of carousel and Carnivale-related shades of purple, teal, yellow, and cream.
“Pattern was very important,” adds Broad. “We blew up elements from the carousel—chevrons, stripes, diamonds—and made them into large graphic statements.” These patterns appear in the rugs and in the cut metal screens and railings.
 
Sadly, Bill Monteleone died before seeing his vision fulfilled, but Stephen Caputo, hotel manager, says he would have been delighted with the curated design. Overall the bar and lounge’s interior transformation rates as dramatic, but what significantly changed the space are 14 new floor-to-ceiling windows looking onto Royal and Iberville streets. Now, the bar and lounge is directly connected to the street activity of New Orleans and vice versa. Since the renovation debuted month ago, volume at the bar and lounge has tripled. “People didn’t know the space existed before,” says Caputo. “Now every passerby can see and hear what’s happening from the street, and everyone wants to be a part of it.”

Carousel Bar
  • Designer: Puccini Group
  • Architect: SCNZ Architects
  • Client: Hotel Monteleone
  • Where: New Orleans
  • What: 3,200 square feet on one floor
  • Cost/sf: Withheld at client’s request


Key Design Highlights

  • The Carousel Bar was restored and updated with mirrors and lights, leather seats, and a distressed pewter bar top.
  • The centerpiece of the interior is the theatrical Carousel Bar, and surrounding interiors are meant to accent rather than compete with the bar’s drama.
  • Vintage photographs of Follies showgirls were embroidered with beads and add a 1920s Jazz Age appeal to the interior.
  • Patterns such as chevrons, stripes, and diamonds were employed as large graphic statements throughout the interior.




Carousel Bar

26 April, 2013


Since Antonio Monteleone opened his eponymous hotel in 1886, three generations have made their mark on the family-owned property in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Bill Monteleone, Antonio’s grandson, wanted the update and expansion of the renowned Carousel Bar to be the crowning jewel of his own legacy. He hired San Francisco–based Puccini Group to fulfill his vision of consolidating the hotel’s two restaurants and underutilized lounge into one unique, beautiful restaurant with a contiguous, enlarged bar and lounge that restores the merry-go-round to its former glory.

Puccini’s design team, lead by Robert Polacek and Lindsay Broad, researched New Orleans, looking specifically into the time period when the Monteleone opened and the subsequent years. Though the hotel’s architecture, lobby, and guestrooms recall an imposing 19th-century neoclassical grandeur, the designers honed in on a different feel for the food and beverage areas. They discovered the revolving bar wasn’t built until 1949, and the current carousel top dates back to 1992. Earlier incarnations of the bar and lounge hosted famous actors and starlets frequenting America’s first motion picture theater, which opened nearby in the 1890s. In between, Jazz Age entertainers like Louis Prima played there. This colorful narrative led to Puccini’s scheme for the bar and lounge based on a modern interpretation of Jazz Age New Orleans.
“We wanted to use textures, colors, and pattern to evoke emotions tied to the feeling of the Jazz era,” says Broad, “to link to this idea of childlike fun and a quirky sense of humor.”

A theatrical experience

The plan was more contemporary than what Monteleone and the hotel initially had in mind, but they soon came on board. During their research, Broad and her team found vintage photographs by Alfred Cheney Johnston of Follies showgirls from the 1920s who might have patronized or performed at a New Orleans club of that era. Broad enlisted Latvian bead embroidery artist Binka Ragava to infuse the images, printed on canvas, with Mardi Gras–inspired bling. The resulting art personifies the overall tone—decadent and fun while balanced with a classic, feminine whimsy. The art also acknowledges the Carousel’s undeniable position as the bar and lounge’s focal point. “It really complements the carousel,” says Broad. “We needed everything about the surrounding space to relate to the bar’s sparkle and to strike a balance between holding its own and not overwhelming.”
The designers amplified the Carousel’s theatricality by neutralizing its immediate backdrop, switching out patterned carpet for a herringbone wood floor, and painting the room’s walls and ceiling a balanced gray to set off the bar’s glow. They clad the bar’s base in new, darker paneling and added mirrors and lights around and beneath its canopy to enhance its sparkle. By replacing vinyl seats with leather and a laminate bar with a distressed pewter bar top, the designers heightened the carousel’s overall impact.

A lounge that complements
Before the renovation, the adjacent lounge was a dark, low-ceilinged, old-fashioned piano lounge with fixed leather booths. “It was just a black box with no ornament or anything,” says Polacek. Puccini painted the walls soft white with subtle gray accents to pick up the gray of the Carousel Bar room. A new coffered ceiling and modern chandeliers wink at the hotel lobby’s dramatic ceiling and grand light fixtures. Furniture, accessories and rugs—arranged in loose groupings so they can easily be rearranged—are primarily in muted versions of carousel and Carnivale-related shades of purple, teal, yellow, and cream.
“Pattern was very important,” adds Broad. “We blew up elements from the carousel—chevrons, stripes, diamonds—and made them into large graphic statements.” These patterns appear in the rugs and in the cut metal screens and railings.
 
Sadly, Bill Monteleone died before seeing his vision fulfilled, but Stephen Caputo, hotel manager, says he would have been delighted with the curated design. Overall the bar and lounge’s interior transformation rates as dramatic, but what significantly changed the space are 14 new floor-to-ceiling windows looking onto Royal and Iberville streets. Now, the bar and lounge is directly connected to the street activity of New Orleans and vice versa. Since the renovation debuted month ago, volume at the bar and lounge has tripled. “People didn’t know the space existed before,” says Caputo. “Now every passerby can see and hear what’s happening from the street, and everyone wants to be a part of it.”

Carousel Bar
  • Designer: Puccini Group
  • Architect: SCNZ Architects
  • Client: Hotel Monteleone
  • Where: New Orleans
  • What: 3,200 square feet on one floor
  • Cost/sf: Withheld at client’s request


Key Design Highlights

  • The Carousel Bar was restored and updated with mirrors and lights, leather seats, and a distressed pewter bar top.
  • The centerpiece of the interior is the theatrical Carousel Bar, and surrounding interiors are meant to accent rather than compete with the bar’s drama.
  • Vintage photographs of Follies showgirls were embroidered with beads and add a 1920s Jazz Age appeal to the interior.
  • Patterns such as chevrons, stripes, and diamonds were employed as large graphic statements throughout the interior.

 


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