New York City, NY

Meet New York Design Talent Andres Escobar

Jeryl Brunner

When he was a little boy growing up in Medellin, Colombia, Andres Escobar loved whittling wooden objects. He adored designing things like sailing ships. “I created the anchors, sails and cannons,” he says. From the time he was six he made scale models. “I used to design dream houses or dream bathrooms,” shares Escobar. “I have always been very intrigued by sculptures and paintings and design.”

In 1980 he visited Montreal to study English. The trip was supposed to last three months. Instead he stayed and has lived in the locale ever since while also maintaining an office in New York City. “I love Montreal. And even though I arrived when I was 19-years-old, I feel like I grew up there,” he explains. “I knew right away that was where I wanted to stay.”

Escobar ended up following his passion and studied design at the University of Montreal. While in school he got his first design gig to renovate a house which belonged to his wife’s uncle. From there he worked at a large design firm that had him traveling to projects all over the world. The firm offered him design work that nobody else could secure “The majority of the people in the company were getting mainly production work,” he says. When he switched jobs to work at a new company, he knew it was because he needed to learn more. “The man I was working for, said “I believe you are a very talented guy. Just believe in yourself,” he recalls.

Since then he has led hundreds of design projects in New York City. So when the 41 floor Aliz Hotel Times Square, was planned, it seemed ideal to hire Escobar and his design firm Lemay + Escobar. The lobby alone is a marvel with a vintage style chandelier and floating LED lights that celebrate the 19-feet high ceilings.

“When Aliz came to me I wanted them to position themselves as a differentiator from all the other surrounding hotels," says Escobar of the hotel which is one of the tallest hotels in New York City. Even though Aliz had more than 200 rooms, he wanted to give it more of a boutique feel. “I hoped that guests would feel it had added value, a European feel,” shares Escobar. "That it wasn’t run-of-the-mill like other nearby hotels.”

Although the rooms are compact, they were able to fit in a great deal of high-end design components to make the space feel spacious and elegant. “Everything was fully customized. Every square inch was maximized,” says Escobar. That meant uniquely placed mirrors, a modern sliding barn-like bathroom door and a space saving multi-faceted wall unit which contains a TV, dresser and desk. “Aliz was conceived from a very simple idea,” explains General Manager Nicole Hendrix. “That is to offer a warm, luxurious place to stay near Times Square that is worlds apart in ambiance.

Plus the accommodations has great perks. “We feature all of the amenities you expect from a world-class hotel along with a unique style and personalized service of an independent hotel,” says Hendrix. “From ultra high definition Samsung 50” flat screen TVs with 4k technology to luxury bedding to sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline.” There is also a cycling studio by Peloton, Beekman 1802 bath amenities, New York City Green Hotel certified environmental programs and a 40 and 41st floor rooftop bar, Dear Irving on Hudson. The bar is the highest open air hotel bar and lounge in Manhattan.

Just like the ship he made as a little boy, the Aliz fills Escobar with a sense of wonder. “What makes me most proud is that we were able to take something that was intangible, in our clients’ minds, and turn it into an actual product,” he says. “They obtained something they wanted but didn’t know how to express. The idea is to analyze the project, see what we want to accomplish, what the client’s inspiration is, and put something on paper that will allow them to dream.”

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New York based journalist who has written for Forbes, Parade, InStyle, National Geographic Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and The Wall Street Journal. Author of the book "My City, My New York, Famous New Yorkers Share Their Favorite Places" and podcaster, ("When Lightning Strikes"). I cover the arts, theater, entertainment, food, travel and people who are motivated by their joy and passion.

New York City, NY

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