Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Lifestyles

February 13, 2013

Familiar Faces

Corsicana — Former Corsicana resident to be honored at gallery exhibition

The New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) will present a retrospective exhibition of the work of Neal Prince, an American architect  and interior designer (and Corsicana native) who played an essential role in creating a new type of luxury hotel. From the 1960’s to the 1980’s, Prince designed the interiors of more than 135 Inter-Continental hotels, one of the most revered brands of luxury hotels, with hundreds of locations in more than 60 countries worldwide. The exhibition will be on view from March 8 to April 26, 2013 at the NYSID Gallery, 161 East 69th Street, NYC.

From 1961 to 1985, Prince was the founder and director of the Department of Interior Design at Pan American World Airways, the company that founded Inter-Continental Hotels. As air flight technology improved, Pan-Am flew to destinations such as Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Singapore, Jordan, Pakistan, Zambia, and countries throughout Europe. With each new destination, Pan Am built a new Inter-Continental hotel and turned to Prince and his departmental staff, comprised of Charles Alvey and Richard Simpson, to create a look and style that reflected the local culture but was still comfortable to Western travelers. Air travel was soon within the reach of millions of people, and with Prince’s guidance, Inter-Continental Hotels was positioned to be the brand that catered to a rapidly growing market of international travelers.

This exhibition will focus on eight hotel interiors, and will explore Prince’s influence and his strong, consistent vision that led to the designs of some of the finest international hotels of the time. His first project for Inter-Continental Hotel was the Phoenicia. He designed the famous mosaic patterns for the terrace and the oval swimming pool as well as the popular bar beneath it, where a glass wall provided a view of the pool with mermaids set against a rippling background of mosaic tile. The pool was a favorite gathering place for Pan-Am crew members, until civil strife shut down the hotel in 1976.

From Corsicana, Texas and armed with degrees in Architecture and Architectural Engineering from Rice University, Prince’s influence and understanding of branding techniques was visible in hotel murals and matchbooks, sofas and stir sticks, and banquet rooms and bedspreads. Prince and his departmental staff worked with local artisans; graphic, product, lighting, and textile designers; as well as architects to create a new type of luxury hotel.

Designing the Luxury Hotel: Neal Prince and the Inter-Continental Brand will be open from March 8 to April 26, 2013 at the New York School of Interior Design, NYSID Gallery, 161 East 68th Street, NYC. Gallery hours are Tuesday -Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Prince is a resident of New York City, but keeps his finger on the pulse of fine arts and theatre in Corsicana, most recently as an underwriter for the Corsicana High School Drama Department’s performance of “West Side Story.” Prince was class of 1938, and sent tickets for the performance to as many of his former CHS classmates as he could locate.

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