Design with a Mission: Guillaume Gentet and David Carpenter on the Importance of Hope Lodge
The American Cancer Society ‘Hope Lodge’ Jerome L. Greene Family Center is a 60-room facility on West 32nd St. between Penn Station and Greeley Square Park.
by New York Spaces photographer Generic Brand Human Media Productions
NYS: Can you please tell our readers what Hope Lodge is all about?
Guillaume Gentet: The American Cancer Society “Hope Lodge” Jerome L. Greene Family Center is a 60-room facility on West 32nd St. between Penn Station and Greeley Square Park. Hope Lodge is the only facility in Manhattan that provides no-cost lodging and support services to adult cancer patients and their primary caregivers from all over the world. It’s Manhattan location allows access to some of the best treatment facilities and clinical trials that are not available anywhere else.
Beyond a place to stay, Hope Lodge NYC is about community, family and love.
NYS: Why is this benefit so important to you?
David Carpenter: Cancer does not discriminate. It affects countless people from every walk of life. We all welcome of a time when this disease no longer poses a threat to life. In the meantime, we try to do what we can. Fighting cancer is physically draining; it is financially draining as well. This is one reason why Hope Lodge is so vital. This amazing place allows patients to receive cutting-edge treatments without having to worry about the large expense of housing in NYC. Hope Lodge also feels like a home-away-from-home: a great fit for the interior design community. It strives to be a peaceful and supportive community as well. The premises boasts six double kitchens, laundry rooms and reading areas (on each guest floor), a communal great hall, chef’s kitchen, outdoor garden, meditation room, media room, a library, and so much more.
NYS: How does it feel to see all of your efforts culminate in such a 10-year success story in giving back?
Guillaume Gentet: Humbling. It brings us a lot of joy to see the great support from our industry. Our main goal has been to make a difference. This is why we continue to volunteer and chair the annual fundraising “Bash”. We’re in awe of the fact that the combined efforts of our fellow volunteers, donors, sponsors and designers have contributed to over 158,155 nights of free lodging for more than 17,050 guests—a savings of over $55 million for cancer patients and their families.
NYS: What is one of the most beautiful experiences you have had working on and supporting Hope Lodge?
Guillaume + David: In the devastating aftermath of September 11, 2001, one brave New Yorker, Sheri, decided she was not going to let them win. She headed back to the office of her downtown law firm to try and salvage what was left. There, she was met with resistance from a different kind of terrorist…cancer. Her eventual diagnosis: Multiple Myeloma. Even as she endured treatment after treatment, Sheri managed to find the strength to speak at our gala in 2015 to let others know what it meant to stay at such a place. After spending almost two years at Hope Lodge NYC, with mom by her side, she received her first clean scan and the news that she was clear to return home. Her positive spirit and sense of humor in the face of great difficulty remain with us.
NYS: How would you explain to our readers what a difference it makes for people who are able to stay at Hope Lodge while undergoing treatment?
David Carpenter: Hope Lodge is the difference between LIFE and DEATH. If a person cannot receive the treatment needed because they cannot afford to pay for lodging, they will lose their battle. Hope Lodge NYC isn’t just a free place to stay—it is guidance, a community of support, understanding, and more…
NYS: Why do you think acknowledging beauty is so important when life is difficult?
Guillaume Gentet: Beauty can be a healing force and a lifeline. It can remind us that we’re not alone.
NYS: Who are some of your legacy donors and why are they so important to the cause?
David Carpenter: We are so grateful to numerous legacy donors. Visionaries that became our friends and inspired us; special people that worked together to build the first Hope Lodge. You may know that Hope Lodge NYC is the flagship in a network of more than 32 Hope Lodges spread out across the US.
Our village of NYC legacy donors includes: The Robert Allen Duralee Design Group, Amsterdam Wines, Michael Aram Inc., Assouline, Christofle, Conair, Cuisinart, D’Angelico Guitars, Equinox, Generic Brand Human Media Production, Juliska, Macy’s, Mottahedeh & Co., One & Only Ocean Club, Osborne & Little, Shelley Antecol LLC, SoulCycle, Steinway & Sons, Tavern 62, Twig New York, and Vista Alegre.
NYS: We fell in love with the flowers at the event! Can you tell us about Sahola Floral Art and Event Design and what they contributed to the bash?
Guillaume + David: Olga Sahraoui, Founder and Creative Director of Sahola, is not only talented, but incredibly generous. She donated her time, talent and resources for these past couple of months to ensure that all of the participating designers had one-of-a-kind floral art arrangements that complemented the tablescapes of our designers.
NYS: We understand Chase Tyler of The Work Room, Inc. volunteered all of the fabrication work! What did this entail for him?
David Carpenter: The Work Room Inc. donated the sewing and fabrication services to create nearly thirty (30) individually-designed tablecloths and chair covers, and some 350 coordinated table napkins, some constructed from multiple fabrics and trims: a massive undertaking and an inspiring feat of organization and professionalism. On top of this, they are pleasant people to work with as well.
NYS: We are still drooling over the dessert display, tell us about it?
Guillaume Gentet: Well, let’s just say…cupcakes make the best kind of breakfast food! 😉 The down-to-earth-trio that is “Torta Fina Bake Shoppe and Patisserie” are heaven-sent. They have travelled to show their love and support of Hope Lodge NYC numerous times—making the trek from Babylon, Long Island to midtown Manhattan to deliver delicious pastries and smiles during the Wednesday’s Tea Time. Thanks to Joseph Campbell, Thomas De Stefano and Dr. Richard De Stefano for thinking of Hope Lodge NYC.
NYS: How much did the event raise and what other ways can people continue to help Hope Lodge?
Guillaume + David: The Hope Lodge NYC Birthday Bash raised OVER HALF A MILLION DOLLARS! This includes a $100,000 donation from Drs. Martin and Dorothy Spatz Charitable Foundation. There are so many different ways to give back—volunteers are always needed and welcome. People bring skills and talents to share with guests: food or live music. There is a knitting circle, massage, painting classes, and guided meditation. As the facility is solely operated on charitable gifts from corporations and individuals, every monetary gift makes a difference. To donate to Hope Lodge NYC, visit http://bit.ly/2j5VhzW. To contribute critical supplies, visit the Hope Lodge NYC Amazon wish list http://amzn.to/2hMNR13.
We are also seeking vendors, contractors and other professionals that are interested in contributing to a permanent designer showcase: “New Hope NYC” – a project that will remodel all guest rooms, kitchens and common areas. This will be done one floor at a time. Inquiries at [email protected]
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