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Genesis House Is the Latest Automotive Sanctuary in New York City, but Will It Pay Off?

Genesis House Is the Latest Automotive Sanctuary in New York City, but Will It Pay Off?

From the outside, the cars at Genesis House are shrouded in a metallic curtain. Step inside, and you’ll see the entire vehicle lineup from the young Korean brand bathed in light among concrete pillars and panels of wood and glass.  But the aim of Genesis House, which opens to the public on November 19, isn’t to sell cars or even be a place to take orders or schedule test drives. Instead, the 46,000-square-foot space aims to expose New Yorkers to Hyundai’s budding luxury nameplate and become a hub for fine dining and events.

“We didn’t want to design a typical car showroom, we wanted the space to feel alive.” says Eulho Suh, whose Seoul-based firm Suh Architects won the design competition to create Genesis House, along with other more sales-oriented Genesis venues around the world.

Although the Genesis House does not sell cars directly, it does have a gallery-like showroom on the ground floor. 

Photo: Courtesy of Genesis House.

Spanning three levels on 10th Avenue, between 13th and 14th Streets, Genesis House sits in the heart of the Meatpacking District, in sight of the High Line and Little Island. The showroom on the ground floor is only a fraction of the expansive operation; the basement, with its open floor plan and large video wall, is slated to host concerts, discussions, and other gatherings. On the second floor, open wood latticework frames a curated collection of books and other trinkets, flanked by a tea pavilion on one side and a restaurant on the other. For the latter, chefs Cho Eun-Hee and Park Sungbae from the Michelin-starred Onjium restaurant in Seoul have trained staff to recreate some of the same dishes Korean nobility have dined on for centuries.
But Genesis isn’t the first car company to settle the young West Side neighborhood. Next door, a standalone space is dedicated to Mercedes EQ, the German brand’s arm of electric vehicles. And just a short walk away are Tesla and EV newcomer Lucid (whose Air sedan has impressed us in terms of both design and technology).

The basement, with its open floor plan and large video wall, is slated to host concerts and other gatherings 

Photo: Courtesy of Genesis House.

The closest comparison to Genesis House, however, is the neighboring Intersect by Lexus, a space we first visited in spring of 2017 during the New York International Auto Show. Also built on three levels, Intersect features a lounge with curated books and objets d’art, a space dedicated to special exhibits and, most notably, a restaurant with a rotating roster of world-class chefs from around the globe that take up residency for a few weeks to a few months. After our visit to Genesis House, the resident chef de cuisine at Intersect prepared Caribbean-inspired dishes for us from Nina Compton’s Compere Lapin in New Orleans. “It was really important when we opened to have reflections from all around the world, because that’s who the Lexus customer is,” an Intersect manager told us.

The Genesis House’s tea pavilion. 

Photo: Courtesy of Genesis House.

Intersect is even a softer sell than Genesis House; there are no cars here—unless you count the hundreds of miniature, Hot Wheels–sized models on the wall leading to the washrooms.  Nods to the Japanese luxury brand are more subtle, with photographs of Lexus models mixed in among artwork, and a wall sculpture that features evolutions of the brand’s front grille and other various parts, all painted in white. And those who look closely can see L-shaped logos on the marble and wood latticework that mimics the cars’ “spindle” front grilles. The bar is trimmed with the same leather used on the LFA supercar, but the automotive references end there. “We don’t want to hit customers over the head with the car theme,” our Intersect host told us.
What sets Genesis House apart from the others, though, besides the vast amount of square footage and the undoubtedly bigger wad of cash the company is shelling out, is that Hyundai’s luxury space is focused first and foremost on exposing guests to Korean culture and design. “Korean architecture is the idea of working with the void and your relationship with nature in a continuous flow,” Suh says. He points out infinite mirrors that create the illusion of more space, and the Korean rice paper that gives an ethereal, translucent quality to the lighting. In the restaurant, guests dine on dishes such as suranche, a type of seafood salad that’s traditionally served to important guests.

At the restaurant, guests can dine on dishes such as suranche, a Korean seafood salad. 

Photo: Courtesy of Genesis House.

One could argue that the trailblazer of the modern NYC car lounge was Cadillac. The marque opened its Cadillac House in 2016 on SoHo’s Hudson Street during the brief time GM’s sub-brand relocated its headquarters from Detroit to the Big Apple to polish its reputation. Also meant to be a lifestyle venue without the pressure of sales people, Cadillac House included a café and hosted special events. Its time was short-lived, however, and Cadillac closed its doors in 2019 when the company pulled out of New York and headed back to Michigan.

The second floor’s vast terrace. 

Photo: Courtesy of Genesis House.

Although executives bill Genesis House as a type of fancy cultural center that serves the community, the underlying goal is clear: the company wants to sell cars. Jose Munoz, Hyundai’s global COO and CEO of Genesis North America, tells Robb Report that “North America plays a critical role for Genesis.” What isn’t so clear is the way these incredible investments equate to sales. Both Genesis and Lexus representatives told us that neither capture customer data to track potential buyers or generate leads.
“Many luxury brands are installing fancy lounge and dining spaces in upscale high-traffic urban areas. Ultimately, they are intended to help the consumer understand what the brand is all about and create a connection between the consumers and the brand message,” says Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis for automotive research firm AutoPacific. “What is difficult to gauge is what effect these have on consumer awareness and, ultimately, sales. Will an expertly cooked roasted duck with an exquisite wine pairing inspire the diner to consider a Lexus? Most importantly, do enough potential customers experience these spaces to have a measurable impact on sales long term?” Reviews for the now-defunct Cadillac House, for example, rarely mention the cars or the brand, and are more to the tune of “it has nice coffee and is a good place to work on my laptop.”

The Genesis House restaurant, where staff have been trained by chefs Cho Eun-Hee and Park Sungbae from Michelin-starred Onjium in Seoul. 

Photo: Courtesy of Genesis House.

Still, in these days when luxury is defined more through experiences than products, Genesis House and others might prove to be a worthwhile investment—as long as the operations can cover the rent. “In the end, if a luxury brand can raise awareness with little to no net cost with the revenue produced,” Kim surmises, “these spaces can represent a good deal.”

Learn more about Robb Report’s 2022 Car of the Year events taking place in Napa Valley here and in Boca Raton here.

Aimé Leon Dore and Porsche Teamed Up to Create the Stylish 911 Super Carrera of Your Dreams

Aimé Leon Dore and Porsche Teamed Up to Create the Stylish 911 Super Carrera of Your Dreams

Porsche and Aimé Leon Dore are at it again. Hot on the wheels of a custom Carrera restomod, the two luxury brands have joined forces to reimagine another Stuttgart-born classic.

The duo’s first four-wheeler, which was presented at New York Fashion Week in 2020, was a fashion-forward riff on a 911 Carrera 4 (Type 964). The one-off ride fused all the style of New York streetwear with German engineering and elegance. Likewise, its successor bears the hallmarks of both Porsche and the fashion label but comes with a deeper backstory.

The bespoke 911 Super Carrera was spearheaded by Aimé Leon Dore founder and noted Porsche enthusiast Teddy Santis. The 32-year-old, who was just named creative director of New Balance’s Made In USA sneaker line, wanted to build a very personal 911 based on his family’s roots and values.

The bespoke 911 Super Carrera sports a gleaming olive exterior. 

Porsche

“The vision for this project was always to portray the Super Carrera with a completely different type of intimacy than the 964 but in a way that would feel equally impactful,” Santis said in a statement. “The design of the vehicle and the creative direction for the project both come from my childhood on the Greek islands and the unique beauty of things that get better with age and wear in that environment.”
The vintage two-door, which rolled off the line in 1978, sports a gleaming olive exterior with a set of 16-inch Fuchs wheels and a pair of bonnet-mounted fog lights. Elsewhere, the roof rack is jam-packed with charming old-fashioned wares for an extra dose of nostalgia.
Inside, Santis opted for an array of eclectic materials that were all finished by hand. Think beaded seat covers and Persian carpet-style floor mats. Luxe ivory leather is also featured on sections of the doors and the original seats that were painstakingly restored by Recaro. The fashion designer’s ode to childhood is topped off with a collection of family photos strapped to the visor.

The vintage interior features beaded seat covers and Persian carpet-style floor mats. 

Porsche

As with the previous collaborative car,  the two brands will launch a limited-edition collection in tandem. The capsule will feature apparel and automotive accessories crafted from the same materials and patterns that appear in the redesigned SC. Last year’s collection included everything from Loro Piana houndstooth caps to a Schott leather car bag and toolkit.

Unfortunately, the truly unique 911 SC is not for sale, though it will be displayed at Aimé Leon Dore’s flagship in Manhattan from May 21 through 23. The merch will be available in-store or online during the same period.
“I am delighted that we are not just able to show Porsche fans a fantastic project at the interface between sports cars and fashion, but also that we were able to help Teddy Santis to make his dream come true,” Porsche’s CMO Robert Ader adds.
Porsche and Santis have made our dreams come true, too.
Check out more photos of the 911 below:

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Lamborghini Opens a Luxe New Private VIP Lounge in New York City

Lamborghini Opens a Luxe New Private VIP Lounge in New York City

The Raging Bull has bolstered its East Coast presence with a newly minted VIP lounge and NYC flagship.

Located a stone’s throw from the High Line in the tony neighborhood of Chelsea, the sprawling two-story space offers 5,400 square feet of Lamborghini luxury. Taking cues from the marque’s facilities in Sant’Agata Bolognese, Italy, it will offer guests exclusive access to never-before-seen vehicles as well as bespoke exhibitions and the finest Italian cuisine because why not?

Naturally, the supercar mecca is open only to Lamborghini customers and friends who can use the state-of-the-art space to hold private meetings and events.

The lounge will offer guests access to never-before-seen Lamborghinis. 

Lamborghini

“We are opening the doors to a private space our customers and friends can call their own with exclusive access,” Stephan Winkelmann, president and CEO of Lamborghini, said in a statement. “Following the success of our Lamborghini Lounge venues across the globe, this new flagship in Manhattan will create a vibrant and personal connection to share the Lamborghini lifestyle; a true reflection of our fine Italian heritage.”
To be sure, every inch of the gallery-style venue is a tribute to the boot-shaped peninsula and embodies the Lamborghini ethos. Italian luxury manufacturers are featured throughout: Living Divani crafted the high-end furniture and La Dolce Vita runs the full-service kitchen. This makes for a true Made in Italy experience. Tunes, meanwhile, come courtesy of Bang & Olufsen’s Advanced 3-D Sound System, which is also featured in Lamborghini’s beloved Super SUV, the Urus.

Collectors will be able to configure their own Raging Bull in person. 

Lamborghini

While visiting, you can enjoy a wide array of private spaces and have an exclusive concierge at your service. You can also host private gatherings catered by a dedicated Italian chef. Think Negronis and antipasti while you discuss the latest Lamborghini.
Furthermore, the Ad Personam design studio will give collectors an opportunity to configure their own Raging Bull. Lambo lovers will be provided with infinite color palettes and material selections to make the process much more visceral.
“The Ad Personam studio provides an extension and personal touchpoint, which could previously only be found at our home in Sant’Agata, and we look forward to offering this and access to never-before-seen limited-edition models to VIP visitors of the Lounge NYC,” adds Federico Foschini, Lamborghini’s chief marketing and sales officer.

The Huracán STO will be one of the first models on display. 

Lamborghini

Making its New York City debut, the Huracán Super Trofeo Omologata (STO) will be one of the first models on display. The limited-edition four-wheeler was inspired by two of the automaker’s famed race cars—the Huracán Super Trofeo EVO and Huracán GT3 EVO—with its gutsy 640-hp V10 offering all the thrill of the track on everyday roads.
Also making its NYC debut at the lounge will be Roger Dubuis’s newest Lamborghini-inspired timepiece. The 45mm Excalibur Huracán STO, which is limited to just 88, channels all the exhilaration of its namesake and will be suspended for all to see in a special “Gravity Window.”
The Lamborghini Lounge NYC is open from Spring 2021 by appointment only via Concierge.LoungeNYC@lamborghini.com. Best high-tail it to the west side to build your dream car now.
Check out more images of the lounge below:

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Iranian Designer Melody Ehsani on Imbuing Her Streetwear Aesthetic and Feminist Attitude into Her NYC Life

Iranian Designer Melody Ehsani on Imbuing Her Streetwear Aesthetic and Feminist Attitude into Her NYC Life

Melody Ehsani in a tracksuit from Noah NY and Union LA x Nike Jumpman sneakers. Photo: Supplied

Twelve years have passed since Melody Ehsani launched her namesake streetwear brand and opened the doors to her Fairfax Avenue shop. “It’s kind of like being Luke Skywalker. I never set out to be a Jedi but did what I had to do. I looked up 10 years later, and here I am, a Jedi,” says the Iranian designer about running her business. Now with a location in Soho, New York City, Ehsani’s streetwear aesthetic – influenced by sports, hip-hop, and feminism – are found at her two stores, inviting customers to explore her sweatsuits, graphic tees, accessories, and jewelry lines.
Rings by Melody Ehsani, and a gifted Nefertiti ring. Photo: Supplied

With short-lived plans to become a lawyer in women advocacy, Ehsani – a graduate of the University of California – decided to break from cultural expectations and enroll at the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena instead. “I finally broke with that path realizing that it wasn’t a true calling,” she shares. “It helped shape my beliefs and principles, which are reflected in my work: being able to leave behind parts of the culture that don’t serve me and bringing forward the beautiful aspects that are timeless and true.” While her law school days are far behind her, she continues to promote female empowerment via her platform. “I enjoy fusing conscious thought with product and I started my brand being inspired by women and wanting to pay it forward.”
Ehsani in her designs. Photo: Supplied

A lesson in adapting
“It’s the year of pivoting,” Ehsani says about adapting her establishment to the onset of the pandemic. “With 90% of our production being done in Los Angeles, we had to navigate around the availability of our supply chain,” she says. “Someone once told me to aim for accomplishment as opposed to success. Success carries an emotion, it implies you’re validated, whereas accomplishment means you set out to do something, and you do it. It involves a continual ascent. Not you, standing at the peak of a mountain and looking up.” Ehsani feels encouraged to push forward in times when others press pause. When asked what customers are looking for post-pandemic, she shares, “I know personally, I’ve simplified significantly. I’m more interested in supporting local businesses than ever before – and wearing clothes that are well-made and comfortable.”
Ehsani in her designs. Photo: Supplied

Female power
“Style is an expression of who you are,” says Ehsani, dressed in a sweatsuit that she made and a pair of Nike Air Jordan Ones from her ever-growing collection. “I’m not sure how many Jordans I own, but there are a lot,” she laughs. Some of her favorite pairs include the Aleali May and Union Los Angeles collaborations, which sit alongside designs she did for the brand. A nod to self-expression, she leaves her mark on an Air Jordan One, customized with a removable gold watch from her eponymous jewelry brand and inscribed with a Julie Burns- Walker circling the sole: “If you knew what you had was rare, you would never waste it.” Her second and most recent partnership with the sneaker company is the first-ever collaboration on the Women’s Jordan OG, first introduced in 1998. Imagined in black, purple, and red with reflective piping, the design is accented with a cherry detail – which is associated with goddesses of fertility, abundance, and protection – expressing her message on women empowerment.
A vintage Rolex Stella watch. Photo: Supplied

Slow and steady
While some rely on a morning workout, a java boost, or catching up on news before rushing out the door, Ehsani takes a holistic approach to start her day. “I sit up in bed, say a little prayer, and do some breathing and meditation work before brushing my teeth,” she says. “I also drink a lot of matcha and rely on it heavily in my morning routine to set the tone for my day.” Her self-care routine starts skin deep.” My complexion is the most direct reflection of how my overall health is doing,” says the designer. “I feel better when I’m giving myself what I need, and it shows in my skin,” she says, adding, “Just remember to drink water, breath, stretch, and meditate.”
Ehsani’s sneaker collaboration with Nike in front of art by Aya Tiff Brown. Photo: Supplied

For the love of food
“Raffi’s Place is my favorite Persian restaurant in Los Angeles,” Ehsani says as she excitedly talks about the beef kabab barq at the Glendale courtyard locale lined with an umbrella of trees and twinkling lights. Just a stone’s throw away from her shop, Ehsani also frequently reserves a table at Jon and Vinny’s for its apple salad and spicy fusilli. Meanwile, Erewhon is her shopping ground. “It’s my favorite market. Its hot foods bar has all the healthy food I like and its smoothies are worth splurging on.”
Ehsani in her designs. Photo: Supplied

Read Next: Iranian Diva Googoosh on Auctioning Her Iconic Couture Kaftans for a Cause
Originally published in the March 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia

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