The Miami Beach EDITION hotel, photographed by Nikolas Koenig
The cover of Ian Schrager: Works, from Rizzoli
Perhaps you know Ian Schrager as one-half of the founding duo behind the history-making disco haunt, Studio 54. Or perhaps you know him as the guy who trailblazed the concept of the boutique hotel, putting his stylish stamp on the Paramount, Delano, Mondrian and Gramercy Park, among others. In his expansive decades-long career, whether club or hotel, Schrager’s created one gorgeous and glamorous world after another — all of which are celebrated in the new book Ian Schrager: Works (Rizzoli), an in-depth compendium of fabulous interiors and great contemporary design, complete with introductions by Schrager himself.
But the Brooklyn native is more than just a master of creating beautiful experiences; as Works demonstrates, he’s savvy at creative collaborations, which isn’t always an easy feat. His partnership with longtime friend Steve Rubell, until the latter’s death in 1989, gave us landmark clubs Studio 54 and Palladium and the pioneering hotel, Morgans. And the roster of talent with whom Schrager’s joined forces is an impressive one — Philippe Starck, Andrée Putman, Herzog & de Meuron, Julian Schnabel — leading to contribution after contribution to the design landscape. His latest partnership, with Marriott International, resulted in the new EDITION hotels around the world (the New York outpost of which just opened last month). Here, we chat with the hotelier and developer, who shares some entrepreneurial words of wisdom — including what it takes to make teamwork, well, work.
A good collaboration is about…
The two most important things involved for an effective collaboration are: 1) a mutual respect and admiration for each other, and 2) an acknowledgement that the only thing that matters is making the product as good as it can be. I’ve always found that if these two elements are present, the collaboration is not only effective but rewarding.
Most memorable opening night…
Every opening night I’ve had has always been exhilarating. It’s a real thrill to open a new project and see people react to it. I get the same feeling for every opening. But, if I had to pick one that was the most memorable, perhaps it would be the first one, Studio 54.
First thing I notice when I walk into a room…
Unfortunately, I notice everything. Some people think it’s a gift. I think it’s a curse. Seeing everything can be burdensome sometimes.
Favorite design element from one of my spaces…
My favorite design element is always the same… achieving simplicity. As Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Staying ahead of the curve is all about…
In order to stay ahead of the curve, one must be incurably curious. That curiosity and openness and learning new things results in you seeing the cultural sign posts that are always out there but not everybody sees.
One thing people would be surprised to know about me…
I’m basically a shy person.
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