Monday, July 17, 2006

What Would Frank Gehry Do?





A big yawn has greeted the news that Marriott and Ritz Carlton will build a combination hotel/condo across from the Staples Center.

According to an article in Los Angeles Business, “Marriott Hotel Services will be the operator of the 876-room Los Angeles Marriott Marquis which will house the Los Angeles Convention Center, while Marriott International's (NYSE: MAR) subsidary Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. will run the 124-room Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Los Angeles, which will be located on top of Marriott Marquis.”

The illustrations recall the dullest corporate styles of the 1960’s, like something along New York’s Avenue of the Americas or our own Century City. How could they propose something that banal in 2006? Is Donald Trump on the Ritz Carlton board of directors?

Perhaps the hotel suits have not heard of a man named Frank Gehry. He has shown that a building must look like a piece of couture. It should flow with sensual abandon, caressing the steel structure as a silk nightgown caresses a woman’s body. It must be nipped and tucked and hemmed and taken in various places. The façade must never be rendered in right angles. It must bend and weave, whirl and gyrate so that the materials seem to be a living, breathing protoplasm.

What would Mr. Gehry do with the rigidly dull Ritz Carlton/Marriott project? Why he would put the Gehry stamp on it! It would have to be diaphanous, visionary, ethereal.

If he walked into the hotel chain headquarters and got his hands on the blueprints….

He would rip the façade of right angles right off and shake it out and when he sewed it back onto the building it would be so beautiful that it could walk down the red carpet at a Hollywood premiere.

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