Downtown Los Angeles, CA
High above the crisp regency patterns of the lobby at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles — every detail carefully selected by our old friends at Commune Design, with eastern light glossing every surface — something a little looser begins to take shape.
Artists Simon and Nikolai Haas are hard at work on a larger-than-life mural populated by intimate pencil drawings of figures and landscapes both familiar and forgotten, like ancient film stills burned into into a projection screen long after the last pair of eyes to appreciate it has left the theater. It’s a visual history of Hollywood closer to hieroglyphics than hi-def graphics.
The hallucinatory zeal of the Haas Brothers’ custom fabrications has won them high-profile commissions on the order of Versace, Guerlain and Gaga, but it was the simplicity of Simon’s fast, freehand portraits and sketches that drew the attention of Commune co-founder Roman Alonso when imagining ways to give these blank lobby walls an unexpected, vital role in the new space. 
The drawings themselves are neither fully immersive nor entirely remote, highlighting the compromising situations our cultural icons occasionally tumble into. The brothers “present, rather than venerate” their subject matter, yielding interpretation over exaltation as history continues to write itself, with or without us.
Article by Christopher MauldinPhotos by Jacqueline Bao

Downtown Los Angeles, CA

High above the crisp regency patterns of the lobby at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles — every detail carefully selected by our old friends at Commune Design, with eastern light glossing every surface — something a little looser begins to take shape.

Artists Simon and Nikolai Haas are hard at work on a larger-than-life mural populated by intimate pencil drawings of figures and landscapes both familiar and forgotten, like ancient film stills burned into into a projection screen long after the last pair of eyes to appreciate it has left the theater. It’s a visual history of Hollywood closer to hieroglyphics than hi-def graphics.

The hallucinatory zeal of the Haas Brothers’ custom fabrications has won them high-profile commissions on the order of Versace, Guerlain and Gaga, but it was the simplicity of Simon’s fast, freehand portraits and sketches that drew the attention of Commune co-founder Roman Alonso when imagining ways to give these blank lobby walls an unexpected, vital role in the new space. 

The drawings themselves are neither fully immersive nor entirely remote, highlighting the compromising situations our cultural icons occasionally tumble into. The brothers “present, rather than venerate” their subject matter, yielding interpretation over exaltation as history continues to write itself, with or without us.

Article by Christopher Mauldin
Photos by Jacqueline Bao


We’re moving to Panama City. Atelier Ace, the creative crew behind Ace Hotel, is proud to announce our first foray into Central America with the new American Trade Hotel in the historic district of Panama City, Casco Viejo, opening autumn 2013. It’s not an Ace Hotel, but it’s a new member of the family. As such, American Trade Hotel embodies our love for meaningful design, local culture and community, and forward-thinking classics.
As a luxury hotel, it’s new and exciting territory for our creative team — distinguished from Ace Hotel by its loyalty to classic lines, traditional service and loyal interpretations of luxury heritage hospitality. We’ve gathered some friends to meet us at the crossroads: Commune Design — the team that helped create Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs — and Panama City-based Conservatorio.
American Trade Hotel stands at the ecological and cultural handshake of the Americas, deeply connected to both the historic Old Quarter and the nascent new Panama City, and at the heart of Casco Viejo — the old quarter of Panama City founded in 1673. The building is nearly 100 years old, and we really like the cut of its jib — a constellation of stately lines and graphic elements, grand old windows and incredible views of the old city and the Gulf of Panama. And beyond the front doors, we’ve stumbled across some of the most mind-bogglingly beautiful eco-diversity in the world — yours to explore when you come visit us down south.
We’re opening autumn 2013, and accepting reservations now for as early as January 1, 2014. You can also keep up with American Trade Hotel on Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

We’re moving to Panama City. Atelier Ace, the creative crew behind Ace Hotel, is proud to announce our first foray into Central America with the new American Trade Hotel in the historic district of Panama City, Casco Viejo, opening autumn 2013. It’s not an Ace Hotel, but it’s a new member of the family. As such, American Trade Hotel embodies our love for meaningful design, local culture and community, and forward-thinking classics.

As a luxury hotel, it’s new and exciting territory for our creative team — distinguished from Ace Hotel by its loyalty to classic lines, traditional service and loyal interpretations of luxury heritage hospitality. We’ve gathered some friends to meet us at the crossroads: Commune Design — the team that helped create Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs — and Panama City-based Conservatorio.

American Trade Hotel stands at the ecological and cultural handshake of the Americas, deeply connected to both the historic Old Quarter and the nascent new Panama City, and at the heart of Casco Viejo — the old quarter of Panama City founded in 1673. The building is nearly 100 years old, and we really like the cut of its jib — a constellation of stately lines and graphic elements, grand old windows and incredible views of the old city and the Gulf of Panama. And beyond the front doors, we’ve stumbled across some of the most mind-bogglingly beautiful eco-diversity in the world — yours to explore when you come visit us down south.

We’re opening autumn 2013, and accepting reservations now for as early as January 1, 2014. You can also keep up with American Trade Hotel on Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Our friends at Commune made this washed painter’s linen throw for us with metallic stitching — distressed just a bit, it wears its weather with a humble grace. In rooms at Ace Hotel & Swim Club, it hangs on slatted walls next to the walking sticks and robes and letters from home. The original batch had frayed edges — these new iterations require some rough love to reach that point. If you like a more perfect finishing, then no assembly is required. 
Pick one up on our shop so you may unfurl o’er your own inner sanctum or lay down on the lea where you cross-leggedly concur with the breeze.

Our friends at Commune made this washed painter’s linen throw for us with metallic stitching — distressed just a bit, it wears its weather with a humble grace. In rooms at Ace Hotel & Swim Club, it hangs on slatted walls next to the walking sticks and robes and letters from home. The original batch had frayed edges — these new iterations require some rough love to reach that point. If you like a more perfect finishing, then no assembly is required. 

Pick one up on our shop so you may unfurl o’er your own inner sanctum or lay down on the lea where you cross-leggedly concur with the breeze.


INTERVIEW : MIKE MILLS

Mike Mills is an artist, filmmaker, photographer, musician, handsome gentleman and multi-disciplinary imagination vessel. His recent film Beginners arrives on the heels of decades of nimble, idiosyncratic and hella special work like his other films Thumbsucker and Paperboys (among others) and his music videos for Yoko Ono and Air, as well as album covers for Sonic Youth, Beastie Boys and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. If you saw him in that seminal documentary of outsider art, Beautiful Losers, you probably remember what an eloquent voice he has on behalf of his craft, and on behalf of being human. That voice, carried over into his film, print and other work, is what moves us so deeply.

Mike has created a pair of limited edition printed posters for Commune — the group of people who helped design Ace Hotel & Swim Club, and old friends of Ace; you can see some behind-the-scene shots of Mike working on the posters on their blog here. The prints are centered on civil disobedience, and we had a chance to ask the man in question about what counts as disobedience and why color is a power tool.

You are civilly disobedient in much of your work — both via civil disobedience and by being civil while being disobedient. Is art a friendly way to disobey? Does being friendly make change more possible in the world?

Who was it that said if you’re going to break some laws you should dress nicely as to not be detected. I think that’s a powerful metaphor. I think the art world is actually too open for disobedience to be very impactful, that’s partly why I prefer to work in the design context or the entertainment world — while there is less room for subversion, I feel that what you can get away with in that context just has more traction in terms of making the world a bit more open. And lastly, yes, I love courtesy, friendliness, empathy and manners and I think all those qualities can be lethally subversive.

You’ve designed books, scarves, advertisements, music videos, fabrics and probably a bunch of stuff no one but you has ever seen. How do all the mediums you’ve used inform one another? When you’re designing or imagining, do you have a specific medium in mind? How does this change when you’re working on a commission or for a specific brand or project?

I very often just have ‘interests’ or maybe they’re obsessions and things on my heart and mind that are churning, churning, churning, and they come out in whatever opportunity is in front of me (a shirt, part of a script, a record cover, etc.). And yes, something I do in an art show can totally help me figure out a problem I’m having with a script, or something I learn doing a record cover can teach me about how I want to film something. I think I took my Bauhaus book I got in high school way too seriously and I thought this was how it was going to be in the future, everyone was gonna have multidiscplinary artistic lives, and that most of those ‘discplines’ were little lies made up by cultural institutions and schools anyways.

Color and you seem to have a great relationship. You have a way with gold foil. And Beginners has some beautiful full-screen color blocks. Is it California-born blood that brings out all this color? What does it mean to you? Can bright colors be sad? Can gold be depressing?

To be honest, I don’t totally know where all that came from. My father was, in addition to an art historian, a flag designer and did really amazing work that was always around the house. My mother loved minimalist art and color-field paintings, and I do carry that with me. I often feel a simple field of color says so much, is gorgeously open-ended and inviting, and, like music, works on a much more interesting and powerful subconscious level. And let’s face it, color is cheap — you get a lot of bang for your buck with a field of color and I really admire and respect that simple power.

What’s it like to make a movie about relationships when you’re in a relationship with someone who makes movies about relationships? Do you find yourselves in there sometimes, or is it a kind of therapeutic fiction (knowing that fiction is a great form of truth-telling)?

Oh, that’s private of course!

Photo of Mr. Mills by Autumn de Wilde


Steve Halterman, a local set designer and stained glass artist from Joshua Tree, has created a stained glass window to preside over diners at King’s Highway, our roadside diner at Ace Hotel & Swim Club. Steve started designing stained glass inspired by his mother LaVerne, who ran a glass company while Steve was growing up. He’s come to Ace through a partnership with Commune Design (the design firm that we worked with to create Ace Palm Springs), and he works in collaboration this his partner Glen Steigelman and mother LaVerne Halterman. You can see their pretty faces below. The window for the Ace is the largest window they’ve done to date — Steve says they’re thrilled with the opportunity to add to not only a great hotel but to the fantastic community of Palm Springs. The feeling is totally mutual, Steve! Thank you for this amazing gift.










Photos by Glen Steigelman

Steve Halterman, a local set designer and stained glass artist from Joshua Tree, has created a stained glass window to preside over diners at King’s Highway, our roadside diner at Ace Hotel & Swim Club. Steve started designing stained glass inspired by his mother LaVerne, who ran a glass company while Steve was growing up. He’s come to Ace through a partnership with Commune Design (the design firm that we worked with to create Ace Palm Springs), and he works in collaboration this his partner Glen Steigelman and mother LaVerne Halterman. You can see their pretty faces below. The window for the Ace is the largest window they’ve done to date — Steve says they’re thrilled with the opportunity to add to not only a great hotel but to the fantastic community of Palm Springs. The feeling is totally mutual, Steve! Thank you for this amazing gift.



Photos by Glen Steigelman


HANDMADE BY REAL PEOPLE.

We worked with Commune Design to make Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs. They made The Commune, designed guest rooms and communal spaces, and worked with other collaborators to make Ace Palm Springs the magical place that it is. Commune just opened a Community Shop at our hotel, with things that are handmade by real people, including cups and bowls by Heath Ceramics, who made Do Not Disturb signs for the doors. You can see pictures from the store at PSFK, and read about it in the LA Times.

Visit Community Store during Palm Springs Modernism Week 2010. We’re hosting many of the week’s events including lectures, architecture tours, films, martini parties, and a show of vintage Airstream trailers. We have two room packages for the week, The Frey and The Modern. See more about it here.

Ace Hotel & Swim Club is built in a mid-century Howard Johnson motel. We’re excited about the local enthusiasm for Desert Modernism, so we kept the original things people loved about the hotel intact and mixed in some newer things that inspire us.


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