Helpern Architects

When the AC Hotel New York Times Square opened officially on July 24th, after almost five years of planning, design, and construction, it was an all-day affair with AC Hotels by Marriott© finesse, a youthful crowd, and Catalan flair. The celebration continued into the evening with a “Conversation” with two compelling visionaries on how to be both idealistic and effective moderated by photographer and TV personality Nigel Barker, who is additionally an AC Ambassador. That discussion and the party after were fueled by a special gin and tonic drink served in a bespoke glass. [How many hotels get their own video series, custom scent, and drink glass?]

Here’s the link to Hospitalitynet’s coverage with details of the festivities, and, following, some photographs from a lively, long day. For more information about the design of the hotel, please see here.


David Helpern started the day by explaining the design and its origin to an array of international press at a breakfast that AC/Marriott hosted in the Boqueria restaurant located in the hotel.


Nigel Barker [left], AC Brand Ambassador, then took the journalists out to show them how to photograph Times Square. He stopped in front of the NY Times Building across the street from the hotel, the AC flag’s newest, to show them the best camera angles for their reporting.


In a rare quiet moment across the day, David Helpern talks with Corry Oakes, OTO founding partner and president/CEO of OTO Development, as well as president of the AC by Marriott Advisory Council. Helpern Architects has designed two other hotels in New York City for OTO.


In the afternoon, the “Unpacked” series – which debuted with videos about hospitality design and beautiful details including a feature on David Helpern – hosted a “Conversation on Vision.” The panelists were Dan Barasch [right], co-founder/executive director of the Lowline, and Rehan Choudrey, creator of A Beautiful Perspective. Nigel Barker moderated.


After the panel, Antonio Catalán [arms crossed], AC Hotels by Marriott founder and president, and his son Carlos Catalán [right], vice president, AC Hotels by Marriott, pose with AC brand leader Benoit Racle [left], senior global director, AC Hotels by Marriott, and David Helpern [blue suit]. AC Hotels, formed in Spain, became a Marriott flag in 2011 and is now in 15 countries.


The day’s events ended with a reception in the rooftop lounge and its terrace. Helpern Architects designed the building and its interiors, as well as the spaces now occupied by Castell and Boqueria.


During the reception, David Helpern talked about Dezeen, the influential UK architecture and design site, with its US Editor, Dan Howarth.


The “money shot,” left to right: Vince Tiberi, OTO development manager for the hotel; Steve Riley, OTO development associate; Benoit Racle, AC brand manager; David Helpern; Stephen Daley, vice president - East/construction & Design, OTO Development; Antonio Catalán, the AC in the hotel name; Corry Oakes, OTO Development founding partner and president/CEO; Carlos Catalán; and Todd Turner, VP real estate and another OTO founding partner. Thumbs up for the AC New York Times Square!

All pictures by Sean Smith.