New York School of Interior Design presents "Designing the Luxury Hotel: Neal Prince and the Inter-Continental Brand"

New York, NY - January 10, 2013 – New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) will present a retrospective exhibition of the work of Neal Prince, an American architect and interior designer who played an essential role in creating a new type of luxury hotel. From the 1960’s to the 1980’s, Mr. Prince designed the interiors of more than 135 Inter-Continental hotels – which today is one of the world’s most international luxury hotel brands, with 170 hotels and resorts in more than 60 countries worldwide. The exhibition will be on view from March 8 – April 26, 2013 at the NYSID Gallery, 161 East 69th Street, NYC.

From 1961 – 1985, Mr. Prince was the founder and director of the Department of Interior Design at Pan American World Airways, the company that founded InterContinental Hotels Corporation in 1946. As air flight technology improved, Pan-Am flew to destinations such as Latin America, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Singapore, Jordan, Pakistan, Zambia, and countries throughout Europe. With each new destination, Pan Am built a new InterContinental hotel and turned to Mr. Prince and his departmental staff, comprised of Charles Alvey and Richard Simpson, to create a look and style that reflected the local culture but was still comfortable to growing group of international travelers. Air travel was soon within the reach of millions of people, and with Prince’s guidance, the Inter-Continental brand was positioned to appeal to this group.

This exhibition will explore Mr. Prince’s influence and his strong, consistent vision that led to the designs of some of the finest luxury hotels of the time. The focus will be on seven hotel interiors: the Phoenicia Inter-Continental in Beirut, Lebanon (1961); Frankfurt Intercontinental, Germany (1963); Intercontinental Genève, Switzerland (1964); Siam InterContinental, Bangkok, Thailand (1966); Tahara’a  InterContinental, Pape’éte, Tahiti, French Polynesia (1968); InterContinental New York Barclay in New York City (1978); and Willard InterContinental in Washington, D.C. (1986). Many properties still operate today as part of the InterContinental brand.

Mr. Prince’s first project for Inter-Continental Hotels & Resorts was the Phoenicia Inter-Continental – he designed the famous mosaic patterns for the terrace and the oval swimming pool as well as the popular bar beneath it, where a glass wall provided a view of the pool with mermaids set against a rippling background of the mosaic tile. The pool was a favorite gathering place for Pan Am crew members. Mr. Prince ended his career at Inter-Continental Hotels Corporation with the refurbishment of the Willard Inter-Continental Hotel (today, know as InterContinental The Willard Washington D.C.). Two blocks east of the White House, the historic luxury hotel is informally regarded as the “residence of the presidents” with every president since Franklin Pierce having slept in or attended an event at the luxury Beaux-Arts style hotel at least once.

From Corsicana, Texas and armed with degrees in Architecture and Architectural Engineering from Rice University, Mr. Prince’s influence and understanding of branding techniques was visible in hotel murals and matchbooks, sofas and stir sticks, and banquet rooms and bedspreads. Mr. Prince and his departmental staff worked with local artisans; graphic, product, lighting, and textile designers; as well as architects to create a new type of luxury hotel. Mr. Prince explains, “We wanted our hotels to reflect the native culture regardless of which country that hotel was located in. Each hotel’s native designs became our trademark and branding, which allowed Inter-Continental Hotels & Resorts to become a leading international hotel network.”

“Designing the Luxury Hotel: Neal A. Prince and the Inter-Continental Brand” will be open from March 8 – April 26, 2013, New York School of Interior Design, NYSID Gallery, 161 East 69th Street, NYC.  Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm.

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Founded in 1916, the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) is a private, not-for-profit college devoted exclusively to interior design education and related disciplines. NYSID’s guiding principle is that the interior environment is a fundamental element of human welfare and the college is committed to actively improving the quality of life for all segments of humanity. This ideal is put into practice by a dedicated faculty of well-known designers, architects, art historians, and authorities in the field who guide more than 800 full-and part-time students.

NYSID offers certificate, undergraduate, and graduate programs in the field of interior design. The college is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD); is a Candidate for Accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education; and NYSID’s BFA is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA).

Press ReleasePhyllis Greer