This week’s Friday Five features Vince Stroop, a principal at New York-based Stonehill Taylor focusing on community-based hospitality design. His career began in finance but after a short spell decided design was where he was meant to be. After architecture school at Arizona State University, Stroop launched a boutique studio in 2004 with fellow graduates and designed libraries, private residences, wineries, an organic food market, and a church before landing in the hospitality world. That shift led him to New York more than a decade ago where he’s been involved in Stonehill Taylor’s high profile projects, including The Asbury beach hotel in Asbury Park, Moxy Times Square hotel, Eleven Madison Park’s fast casual restaurant, Made Nice, and most recently, the conceptual hotel brand, The Irus, which came about after Stroop’s team won the top prize for their culturally-blended sleeping pod. Keep reading to find out his five picks, which vary from a remote location to a classic timepiece.
1. Glacier in Antarctica
In 2017, I traveled to Antarctica on board a research ship offered through National Geographic. I mainly did this as part of my travel goals to just tic the box of seeing all 7 Continents. What I did not expect however, was how breathtaking and inspirational this destination would become for me. Much of my daily life is spent in the planned, manufactured and overpopulated world of urbanity and by contrast it was impossible not to be utterly overwhelmed by the endless formations of ice that mother nature has created into her own organic, serene and majestic cities. Sadly, it was also alarming to see to visual proof of the effects that we are having on the environment. The experience awakened a new sense of respect for our need to constantly search for sustainable solutions to the built environments that I am part of developing.
2. Fort Greene Farmer’s Market
Visiting the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings with a cup of coffee in hand is my religion. I really enjoy the instant “pop-up community” that it creates and how rural and urban meet each other once a week. I love learning about the different produce in season from my neighbors and my creativity feeds on the endless colors, textures and fragrances.
3. Pie Plate
One of my favorite objects is a simple blue clay pie dish. Cooking and baking have always been a passion for me. They allow me to use my hands — measuring and mixing ingredients to create something of the moment. As an architect, it can often take years before I see a project or vision come to completion. However, I can use the newly-acquired fresh fruit from the farmer’s market to make a pie that can give me a shot of short-term creative satisfaction, which we as designers sometimes crave.
4. 24-hour Travel Watch
Another object I cannot live without is my Swiss designed 24-hour SLO Watch. I am fortunate enough to travel frequently for both work and play, and it’s a universal piece that makes me feel part of the global community. The watch is an elegant, but simple face divided into 24 units with clean lines, and the contrast of the brushed stainless steel face with a vintage Italian leather strap offers a small escape from the digital world…it’s nice not to always rely on a smart phone for some basic information.
5. Fernando Mastrangelo’s Rock Bar
I really believe that it’s important to my own work and creative process to find inspiration in other contemporary artists. Fernando Mastrangelo is one of my favorite makers today. I admire and relate to so much of his work – we share similar passions for travel and the environment. I’m inspired by the way Mastrangelo takes natural materials, such as sand, salt and silica, to not only create something beautiful, but something impactful that draws attention to the crises around climate change as well.