PaperCity Magazine

September 2019- Fort Worth

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 83 of 99

82 WILL COOPER AND ASH NYC REDEFINE THE HOTEL INDUSTRY — AND REVITALIZE STRUGGLING NEIGHBORHOODS — ONE GLORIOUS OLD BUILDING AT A TIME. MAN ON A MISSION F ort Worth native Will Cooper is the creative force behind ASH NYC, the young Manhattan firm that designs, develops, owns, and operates hotels in historic and creative centers around the country. It's responsible for such exciting new hotels as Hôtel Peter & Paul in New Orleans, which opened last fall inside a sprawling 19th-century church. Cooper, 32, joined ASH founding partners Ari S. Heckman and Jonathan Minkoff in 2011 as partner and chief creative officer, and is bent on redefining the role of hotelier with a unique, holistic approach. "We often say we are buying a blank canvas on which we can create exactly what we want," Cooper says. "Controlling a project start to finish is integral to the success. We are such freaks about every detail, down to the pillow your head lies on, to the linens, the custom- scented soaps, the lighting temperature, the soundtrack, the uniforms. I could go on and on." In the past eight years, the designer has put his authentic, site-specific creative spin on hot spots such as The Dean, an art-filled hotel in Providence, Rhode Island's Downcity historic district, and The Siren hotel, housed in Detroit's iconic 1926 Wurlitzer Building. "The story of each building very much plays into the design, as does the city in which we are inhabiting," he says. "The history is what we try to harness — the amount of research that goes into every part is vast." A passion for exploring the uniqueness of places is in Cooper's DNA. Fort Worth, his home town, is an incubator for the arts, he notes, with the Kimbell Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth influencing and supporting the infrastructure for a creative community. He grew up in Ridglea Country Club Estates, attended the progressive Trinity Valley School, and was nurtured by parents who indulged his creativity with piano and theater lessons. "For my 10th birthday, my parents took me to New York," he says. "We stayed at The Plaza — pre-renovation, which was much more appealing — and from that moment, I told them I was moving to NYC as soon as I finished college." A degree in communications and public relations from Southern Methodist University landed him at Polo Ralph Lauren in NYC as product presentation manager, where he fine-tuned his brand-building skills and helped open its first Rugby store in Dallas' Highland Park Village. "My most valued takeaways from those days are the relationships between creative and business," he says. "I ultimately took the show on the road: building what we have now at ASH NYC," he says. BY REBECCA SHERMAN Hôtel Peter & Paul, New Orleans. Will Cooper

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - September 2019- Fort Worth