ModernHaus Soho | Jack J. Sitt and Jay Schwartz Discuss Latest Artistic Brand Campaign
![Alt Text](https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c346b607eaa09d9189a870/db4e753c-fd85-4a05-b4df-713fd46509dd/ModernHaus_luncheon_of_boating_party.jpg) ModernHaus Soho has taken its art-centric approach and chic downtown taste to a new level. Inspired by progressive art works by those such as Renoir and Manet, and featuring contemporary pieces from director of Thor Equities and owner of ModernHaus Jack J. Sitt’s personal collection, the New-York City hotel has remixed six notable paintings and redesigned them with a modern twist for the property’s latest brand campaign. Each photograph features the stylish property, highlighting its guest rooms, restaurants, and cocktail lounges. Already, the hotel presents a range of art pieces throughout the property, featuring rare paintings and sculptures for guests to enjoy, and the new campaign pushes the envelope. Jack J. Sitt played a crucial role in the development of this campaign, even pulling art pieces from his own personal collection. Here, Sitt and Jay Schwartz (Executive Creative Director at Once Upon A Time) discuss the process of carefully curating art pieces for the collection, as well as the inspiration for the brand campaign on the whole.

Jack J. Sitt

Tell us a bit about how this brand campaign came to be, and your creative role in the process. When we initially discussed putting together a brand campaign, Jay & I didn't want to take the route of a traditional hotel room shoot like you would see in a corporate campaign. We wanted the images to speak to the ModernHaus brand, and echo the hotel's DNA as a hub for both an incredible collection of modern artwork and the surrounding creative community. We thought it would be innovative to recreate scenes from renowned paintings that everyone would recognize, showcasing a "modern" update in the hotel's public areas with our friends from the neighborhood. Jay and I worked closely together from conception to execution. He is a pleasure to work with. What about the evolving guest experience over the past few years is most exciting to you? I find the expansion, and importance, of hotel public spaces to be the most exciting. Guests don’t want to be holed up in their rooms, they want to be immersed in the destination they’re visiting while reaping the benefits of the property’s communal areas and restaurants – which is exactly what we’ve done at ModernHaus. What character attributes would you use to describe the quintessential ModernHaus guest? Someone with a high taste level that isn’t looking to break the bank. We consider ourselves affordable luxury. We have the space and lux amenities comparable to a luxury resort. I know you live in Soho - what about the neighborhood is so special to you? I actually live two blocks away from the hotel, which makes the project that much more special to me. SoHo has this incomparable energy and attitude. Walking the streets feels like a party.
In creating ModernHaus the hotel, what was your creative process in picking furniture and furnishings? How about the incredible artwork collection? I wanted the furniture to feel inviting and comfortable while keeping a clean, modern look and letting the art speak for itself. As an emerging leader in the industry, what helps you to find calm? Alternatively, what motivates you to get out in the neighborhood after a busy day? I'm extremely passionate about coffee. It was my covid hobby. For me, the ritualistic routine is very calming, and the lasting effect is obviously energizing. We’re actually debuting Jumpin Jacks at the hotel later this year, a coffee bar and evening cocktail lounge on the second floor. It's been a labor of love for me to perfect the menu and curate the crowd. The art that will live there is incredible as well. I’m very excited to share it with the world.

Jay Schwartz

Tell us a bit about how this brand campaign came to be, and your creative role in the process. When I was tasked with branding the hotel and F&B spaces my brain immediately went toward the art collection and the importance of art in SoHo’s heritage. After working on developing the brand and touring the spaces, the interior design—specifically the bar at Veranda—sparked the association with Modernist masterworks. When I saw the bar at Veranda i immediately saw, ‘A Bar at the Folies-Bergère’—the shape of the bar, mirror, etc. immediately resonated with that image. Then with Veranda itself, I was seeing Manet’s, “Luncheon of the Boating Party” … and the rest just clicked. ModernHaus’ public spaces really lend themselves to the images I selected as inspiration. Which artist from the public domain most unexpectedly influenced this campaign? They all had their roles … Manet probably mostly because of the, “Luncheon on the Grass”. Its among his most controversial images and it’s arguably the most controversial images in our campaign (still can’t believe they let me get away with it). But it’s stunning, and the spins we put on the casting make it really stand out, so it all worked out.
What part of the process of reinterpreting existing masterpieces on property at the hotel was most interesting? All of it, really. Getting the staging and props right was critical, but I think one of the biggest challenges was interpreting these iconic images in a way that’s relevant to today’s world. Subjects we’re all processing today like diversity, the male gaze, empowerment are all contained in these works but the world in which they were created is not the same world we live in today. I needed to be thoughtful that all our shots reflect what New York looks like today. As an industry leader, how do you feel irreverence or quirk can be valuable in campaign creation? The key to this campaign is being true to the brand and reinventing the expected. As such, being a little irreverent is appropriate. In general, I’d hesitate to blanket recommend irreverence or quirk for every brand, but it all really depends on the brand and the desired experience a hotel or resort is trying to convey. What about the surrounding neighborhood of Soho is special to you, as a creative? The Arts heritage of SoHo is unparalleled in America and the neighborhood in general oozes creativity, be it visual arts, fashion, dance, music, or culinary. You can’t walk through the streets of SoHo and not be affected by the arts in some way.