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FrontRunners: Pei's Progress

Jessica Taylor

Reconstructing the top floors of the Four Seasons Hotel New York (212.758.5700, www.fourseasons.com) is of personal interest to renowned architect I.M. Pei. Now retired, the 85-year-old Pei, perhaps best known for his pyramid design at the Grand Louvre, thought he would never fully realize his original concept for the lavish hotel when construction unexpectedly ceased after a change of ownership in the early 1990s.  In 1999, however, Ty Warner learned about Pei’s aborted project when he purchased the hotel and immediately contacted him to finish the hotel’s exterior, consistent with the original design. 

With a completion date scheduled for the latter part of next year, efforts are being made to elevate the tower’s crown and augment it with crenellations and additional lights. The redesign will also affect four interior suites. Architect Peter Marino is working to create an elegant complement to Pei’s exterior architecture. “I am pushing the edge of luxury and comfort in a totally modern idiom,” says Marino. 

Unveiled last May, the first of the four new suites, priced at $9,500 a night, features a spacious city view terrace, goat-skinned walls, a mother-of-pearl chandelier, and seven plasma and flatscreen televisions.

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Photo by Janos Grapow
Photo by Jeff Cricco