The New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) will present a retrospective of American architect and interior designer Neal Prince’s work, which played a pivotal role in redefining the luxury hotel in the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. The exhibition Designing the Luxury Hotel: Neal Prince and the Inter-Continental Brand will be on view from March 8– April 26 at the NYSID Gallery.
From 1961– 1985, Prince designed the interiors of more than 135 Inter-Continental Hotels as founder and director of the Department of Interior Design at Pan American World Airways, the founding company of Inter-Continental Hotels. As aviation technology expanded, so did Pan-Am routes and destinations, opening a new market for luxury lodging. With each new destination, Pan-Am built a new hotel in which Prince and his team, including Charles Alvey and Richard Simpson, crafted interiors that reflected local culture but were still comfortable for Western travelers.
The exhibition will explore Prince’s transformative vision for eight hotel interiors: Phoenicia Inter-Continental Hotel in Beirut, Lebanon (1961), his first hotel for Pan-Am; Frankfurt Inter-Continental Hotel, Germany (1963); Inter-Continental Genève Hotel, Switzerland (1964); Siam Inter-Continental Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand (1966); Inter-Continental Resort Tahiti, French Polynesia (1968); Inter-Continental Barclay Hotel in New York City (1978); May Fair Inter-Continental London (1982); and his final project, the Willard Inter-Continental Hotel in Washington, D.C. (1986). Located just two blocks east of the White House, the historic luxury hotel is informally regarded as the “residence of the presidents” with every president since Franklin Pierce (1853– 1857) having attended an event or spent a night at the Beaux Arts-style hotel.
“We wanted our hotels to reflect the native culture regardless of which country that hotel was located in,” Prince says. “Each hotel’s native designs became our trademark and branding, which allowed Inter-Continental Hotels to become a leading international hotel network.” Prince and his departmental staff worked with local artisans; graphic, product, lighting, and textile designers, and architects to create a new unique aesthetic for each luxury hotel.
For more information, visit nysid.edu.