May 6, 2021
The Pendry Hotel and Residences Seeks to Reactivate the Sunset Strip
EYRC Architects and Martin Brudnizki Design Studio create the Sunset Strip’s latest cool kid on the block at the Pendry Hotel and Residences.
The Sunset Strip is a street of stories and legends. From the famed Chateau Marmont near its eastern gateway, to The Edition designed by John Pawson that opened closer to the western edge in 2019, the hotels that dot this part of Sunset Boulevard are hospitality venues as well as ever-evolving repositories of local and cultural history. So, when the team that included Culver City-based Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney (EYRC) Architects; Martin Brudnizki Design Studio London; and Cuningham, who served as architects of record, took on the task of designing the ground-up Pendry Hotel and Residences in West Hollywood, the local environment offered both inspiration and a challenge.
Early on in the design process for the 149-room hotel and a separate stepped tower containing 40 luxury condominium residences, the development leadership set out to “create this singular unique work that’s hyper aware of context and history, but also very aware of its need and desire to create its own history. It would be nothing less than its own new landmark,” says Mathew Chaney, EYRC partner and principal-in-charge of the project.
It’s a complicated mandate, given that time isn’t always kind on Sunset Boulevard. The hotels that were once the cool up-and-comers have to work hard to retain their status. Some don’t always succeed. The Pendry, which is affiliated with Montage Hotels & Resorts, stands on the site of the bygone House of Blues, while what was known as the “Riot Hyatt” across the street was rebranded as an Andaz location in 2009.
Meanwhile, the storied Chateau Marmont is on shaky ground given recent lawsuits claiming a top-down culture of racism and sexism stemming from André Balazs’ ownership. The Standard at 8300 West Sunset Boulevard, which was the first of that particular hotel brand in Balazs’s portfolio, permanently closed this year as a pandemic casualty, and the future of its 1962 Herbert Kameon–designed building is uncertain. But there are success stories: The Sunset Tower one block over from the Pendry remains a beloved—and discreet—entertainment industry clubhouse of sorts ever since hotelier Jeff Klein revived the Art Deco style grand dame.
Part of the plan for the Pendry, which opened in early April with the residences slated to open soon, was to highlight the property’s programming. “It’s not a hotel. It’s a collection of incredible food and beverage destinations,” Chaney explains. The relatively compact hotel entrance accessed via the “piazza” that separates the two structures “flips the script in how a hotel and a lobby like that should behave.” In addition to Merois and Ospero restaurants operated by Wolfgang Puck’s group and the Britely, a splashy private membership club complete with a bowling alley, the Pendry houses a spa and a state-of-the-art intimate room for live performances. Chaney likens this approach to the time-tested inn and tavern model. “It you happen to be interested, there are some rooms available,” he says about how a night there could transpire.
The building’s unusual decoration is a gesture that acknowledges Sunset Boulevard’s past, present and future. LED surfaces totaling over 5,300 square feet are a digital take on the Strip’s famous billboards. Chaney describes the surfaces, as “a taught modern wrapper [that is] integrated into the architecture, so they’re completely intertwined.” Through the month of May, the Pendry will be one of five international locations screening “Remember you cannot look at the sun or death for very long,” a two-and-a-half-minute animated video installation by David Hockney presented in partnership with digital public art platform CIRCA.
The same philosophy of merging structure and decoration applies to how EYRC collaborated with Brudnizki on the intensely playful interior design scheme. “Some people would think they’re in conflict—the sleek modern and fantasy interior,” Chaney observes. What he calls “the plinth” helps synthesize these components and considers the property’s historical longevity. The two-story herringbone-clad marble facade treatment is a “transitional element that references a more traditional architecture of arch and column.” Newly planted greenery will grow in over time, and the building will “feel like this archeological moment emerging out of Sunset,” Chaney says.
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