PRESS RELEASE – 21c Museum Hotels has opened its sixth property, located at 900 W Main Street in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The property is an adaptive reuse of the Oklahoma City Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant; a contemporary interpretation of the building’s industrial heritage. 21c Oklahoma City offers 14,000 square feet of contemporary art exhibition space open free of charge to the public, a 135-room boutique hotel and Mary Eddy’s Kitchen x Lounge.
“When we opened the first 21c in Louisville ten years ago, we wanted to help revitalize a once-vibrant area on West Main Street in Louisville,” said Steve Wilson, Founder and CEO of 21c Museum Hotels. “We saw a similar opportunity here in OKC, on the western edge of downtown and, to be a cultural catalyst and agent of forward-thinking change on Main Street, in an area with a rich, storied past.”
Art at 21c
Contemporary art is at the heart of the 21c experience. The company was founded by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, contemporary art collectors and preservationists who believe in the power of art to transform communities. 21c Oklahoma City presents rotating solo and group exhibitions, site-specific installations and a full roster of cultural programming curated by Museum Director and Chief Curator Alice Gray Stites.
The history of the Ford Motor Company Assembly Plant provides the inspiration for 21c’s collection of four site-specific artworks in Oklahoma City. From a misting steel tree to a flowing river of color panels that tell time, to the spinning pattern embedded in the main gallery’s floor and larger than life-size arrows vibrating with color and light in guest room corridors, Mechanical Magic, the commissioned installations at 21c Oklahoma City reference the materials and mechanics of 20th-century industry while transforming both interior and exterior locations into spaces that welcome and celebrate the future.
Exploring the evolution of industry in the 21st century, Labor & Materials (on view until March 2017) presents a precarious balance between promise and peril. The scale, scope, and speed of technological innovation heralds unprecedented changes: how will the widespread transformation of commerce and consumption affect access to goods and jobs, to information and infrastructure. From photographs of today’s living and working conditions to portraits of those laboring in 21st century fields, factories, and mines to fantastical visions of a world defined by data and digitization, the imagery on view is both nostalgic and futuristic, linking our agrarian past with production in the post-industrial present to envision creation and consumption in the imminent, awe-inducing future. Docent tours of current exhibitions and site-specific installations are offered free of charge to the public on Wednesdays and Fridays at 5 p.m.
Architecture & Design
The design team, led by New York-based Design Architect Deborah Berke Partners and Executive Architect Hornbeek Blatt Architects of Edmond, OK, sought to create a contemporary interpretation of the building’s industrial heritage – integrating elements of the automotive legacy and assembly plant heritage throughout. The design takes full advantage of the scale of the building with spaces that are open, light-filled and sculpturally expressive.
Built in 1916 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, many of the Albert Kahn-designed building’s original features have been restored, repaired or recreated including expansive casement windows, the former Model T showroom’s original terrazzo floor, freight elevator doors, historic storefront, entry canopy and marquee, decorative brick and terra cotta, exterior sconces and the Fred Jones Manufacturing signage.
The history of the building is expressed in the details. The public restrooms feature a custom vanity made from industrial and mechanical fittings and integrated artwork. The exterior dining area and canopy is emblematic of the historic train shed that once received deliveries of car kits. Plumbing fittings and other details reflect the automotive history of the building.
21c Oklahoma City is Deborah Berke Partner’s sixth collaboration with the 21c Museum Hotels team.
Meetings & Events
The property’s museum space doubles as meeting and event space, and can accommodate a wide variety of events from board retreats and intimate cocktail parties to a reception-style wedding for 500. The unique circular Main Gallery, and adjoining Gallery 1 is a nimble event space, with velvet drapery, movable partitions and a private full-service bar. The Main Gallery is home to Spinning Wheel of Life, an artwork by Gunilla Klingberg commissioned for the space, featuring ubiquitous urban signage and symbols in die cut metal embedded into the floor in a repeating kaleidoscopic pattern. The meeting galleries and event spaces feature state of the art audio visual technology.
21c Oklahoma City’s guestrooms are open and loft-like. A variety of guestroom types feature high ceilings, custom contemporary furnishings, contemporary art by artist and 21c founder Laura Lee Brown and abundant natural light. Guest rooms average 500 square feet. The hotel offers 23 suites, including the 21c suite and luxury loft suites.
The building’s original penthouse apartment has been reimagined into the expansive 21c Suite, offering two bedrooms, four bathrooms (two full baths and two powder rooms) and nearly 3,000 square feet of living space featuring custom designed contemporary furniture. Sliding wall panels conceal large televisions in the living room and dining room, making it possible to quickly transform the space from a game-time hangout to cocktail party. The expansive NanaWallÒ system all but disappears, extending the living and dining space seamlessly onto a terrace with more than 2,500 square feet of outdoor living space offering an expansive view of the Oklahoma City skyline. The building’s original water tower, a marker of the building’s past, towers overhead.
Rates for a Deluxe King start at $219.
To celebrate the opening of its newest property, 21c is offering a selection of packages designed to help guests experience Oklahoma City like a local.
The Southern Roots Package, with an option to add on a bourbon flight, brings a taste of 21c’s birthplace, Kentucky, to Oklahoma City; OKC Like a Local Package, a partnership with Territory: OKC Magazine brings together the best local makers, merchants, musicians, dining and drinks including discounts at local businesses; the Oklahoma City Museum of Art Package gives art-lovers the chance to explore OKCMOA’s collection of 19th and 20th century art and 21c’s collection of 21st century works; the 21c Adventure Package includes all access passes to Riversport Adventures, a bottle of Supergoop sunblock and breakfast so guests can fuel up before a day of activity. A number of other dynamic packages are also available.
The property is home to Mary Eddy’s Kitchen x Lounge, bringing big, bold New American cuisine to Oklahoma City. Executive Chef Jason Campbell’s widespread influences are on display in a menu built around an in-house stone hearth pizza oven, rotisserie and smoker. The menu changes frequently, informed by the seasons and available local produce.
One of the plant’s first employees, Fred Jones, worked his way from production line worker to owner to eventually become one of the largest Ford dealers in the world. The restaurant is named after Jones’ wife, Mary Eddy Jones, a passionate traveler, art enthusiast, and humanitarian who strongly believed in giving back to the Oklahoma City community.
Guests of Mary Eddy’s are welcomed into the building’s original Model T showroom space turned bar and lounge, through the restaurant’s dedicated entrance on Main Street. Once inside, guests are greeted by the assembly-line inspired River of Time, an art installation by New York-based artist James Clar featuring moving panels that flow along conveyor belt paths like an animated river. Mixing digital technology and mechanical components, it animates the movement of time and the transformation of the built and natural world.
In the dining room, the design takes full advantage of the scale and openness of the original building, resulting in a light-filled and sculpturally expressive space. A large dining bar offers an up close view of the Mary Eddy’s rotisserie and stone hearth pizza oven, which gives way to a wide-open kitchen; a large communal table provides views into glass-front refrigerators, where the fresh local produce, meats and pantry staples are on display. The outdoor dining area, where once stood the original train shed that received deliveries of Model T car kits, will welcome revelers with a dedicated full service bar, two ping pong tables, communal seating and more intimate café tables when it opens early this summer. Mary Eddy’s features many opportunities for communal dining and various dining bars and tables, and a private dining room with seating for 24.
Local Partners & Leadership
After working his way through the ranks at the assembly plant, Fred Jones established the Fred Jones Manufacturing Company, which focused on reconditioned parts and remanufactured engines, innovating the automotive industry. In Oklahoma City, 21c has partnered with Fred, Kirk, and Brooks “Boots” Hall, grandsons of Fred Jones, owners of the Fred Jones Manufacturing Company building.
21c Oklahoma City is led by general manager Matt Cowden, an Oklahoma City native and 25-year hospitality industry veteran, and by food and beverage director James Tortoreti, previously of The Hive and 21c Bentonville, who oversees Mary Eddy’s Kitchen x Lounge, as well as all banquets, catering and in-room dining.
About 21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City
21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City is a combination boutique hotel, contemporary art museum and chef-driven restaurant. Building on its mission of engaging the public with contemporary art and supporting the revitalization of American downtowns, 21c rehabilitated the historic Ford Motor Company Manufacturing Building in the west end of Oklahoma City. The 135-room property features 14,000 square feet of exhibition, meeting and event space and presents rotating curated exhibitions, interactive site-specific art installations and a full roster of cultural programming. Exhibition space is open to the public free of charge. The property features a unique round Main Gallery, a spa, and the restored existing penthouse into a gracious, 3,000-square-foot suite featuring a rooftop terrace, two bedrooms, living and dining rooms. 21c Oklahoma City is home to Mary Eddy’s Kitchen x Lounge, led by executive chef Jason Campbell, with a restaurant and bar menu focused on bold and flavorful New American cuisine and craft cocktails.
About 21c Museum Hotels
21c Museum Hotels, the award-winning Louisville, Kentucky-based boutique hotel and restaurant group, was founded by contemporary art collectors and preservationists Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson. The couple opened the first 21c Museum Hotel in 2006 along downtown Louisville’s West Main Street, rehabilitating a series of 19th century warehouses. Much more than just a place to spend the night, 21c is an inventive union of genuine hospitality, careful design and culinary creativity — all anchored by a multi-venue contemporary art museum with thought-provoking exhibitions, interactive site-specific art installations and a full roster of cultural programming. 21c operates hotels in Louisville, Kentucky; Cincinnati, Ohio; Bentonville, Arkansas; Durham, North Carolina; Lexington, Kentucky and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 21c Nashville is currently under construction. Projects are under development in Kansas City, Missouri and Indianapolis, Indiana. The company is equally focused on creating unique, chef-driven restaurants that are as much a part of the community as the hotel. 21c operates a diverse roster of restaurants including Proof on Main at 21c Louisville, Metropole at 21c Cincinnati, The Hive at 21c Bentonville, Counting House at 21c Durham, Lockbox at 21c Lexington, Mary Eddy’s Kitchen x Lounge at 21c Oklahoma City and Garage Bar in Louisville, Kentucky.
For press information contact:
Holly Weyler McKnight