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Nightscape by Ulrich Lang

When Ulrich Lang set out to create Nightscape, his direction was clear: the strength of patchouli, but not the patchouli you know and are afraid of. Nightscape is not a fragrance that could be classified as “hippy,” or even very earthy, for that matter; the potency works in another direction, one that reads as herbal and heavy-hitting, but not in-your-face.

Many fail to realize that though a common, recognizable, and often discounted note, patchouli, done correctly, can be extremely elegant. One example is Chanel’s Coromandel, by Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake: an incensey oriental that opens with bitter orange and develops into a sensual, rich warmth. And those who have had the pleasure of being in a room fragranced by Diptyque’s patchouli candle know that the smell is familiar, but new in all the right ways.

The thing Lang does beautifully with Nightscape’s composition is avoid the expected. The formula does not deliver a vanillic, overly sweet, or even terribly warm message. It has a crisp, green opening, that then clouds up and lands in a carnal and suggestive place, a sort of comfortable minimalism. A heart note of jasmine lends grace, while geranium and leather balance the unisex wearability. Though the sillage is not incredible, Nightscape’s message is best left close to the skin, all the better to hypnotize with.

When interpreting his fragrance visually, Lang asked photographer Matt Licari to hit the streets of New York, carrying a small lab sample of Nightscape for inspiration. The result, featured on the bottle’s box, is a glittering image of the city that is both modern and decidedly classic: a smart representation of Nightscape’s narrative.

$110, available directly from Ulrich Lang, or at Barneys New York

Hôtel Americano

In Manhattan, near the much-celebrated High Line park, and alongside Chelsea’s world famous collection of galleries, stands Hôtel Americano. A Grupo Habita property, it is their first in the United States, expanding a collection that includes ten acclaimed boutique hotels throughout Mexico. While Hôtel Americano encompasses a variety of international influences, its heart is in the warmth and hospitality of Latin America.

The ten-storey building, designed by architect Enrique Norten, is a glass structure encased in a metal mesh facade made from repurposed conveyer belts. This strong industrial appearance is both a nod to the neighborhood’s history and a relevant example of modern architecture. The fifty-six guest rooms and studios, designed by Parisian designer Arnaud Montigny, known for his work at famed boutique Colette, suggest something of an urban ryokan; with wooden platform beds, natural materials throughout, and warm lighting, the space is a welcome respite from the bustling city outside. Custom-crafted furnishings in company with classic mid-century designs, make for a smart and thoughtfully composed tableau.

At Hôtel Americano, design details can be found at every turn; in-room robes and staff uniforms designed by Loden Dager, Japanese Imabari washcloths, guest iPads, bento box room service, Zanotta bean bag chairs, and Joe Colombo-designed alarm clocks are just a few of the specifics that work to encourage a design dialogue between guests and the hotel’s spaces.

From the rooftop pool that converts to a winter thermal bath during the colder months, to the Manhattan-built Bowery Lane bicycles for guest jaunts around the neighborhood, Hôtel Americano is just the right size to employ this sort of detail and design-centric personality, without feeling contrived.

Not only do I recommend Hôtel Americano to travelers, but also to those that live in New York City. The hotel is certainly worth visiting: simply to admire, for a drink on the rooftop, or maybe a meal at the chic, ground-floor restaurant, The Americano.

Hôtel Americano is located at 518 West 27th Street, rates range between $325-750.

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