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NEW YORK Magazines often take over coffee tables, but taking over an entire house? That's a different concept. This month, in honor of its 25th anniversary, Self magazine has taken over a town house in Greenwich Village and transformed in into the Self Center—a custom-created, interactive “well-being” sanctuary for the magazine's readers. “We wanted to create a living, breathing version of the magazine,” said Dana DeVito, Self's promotion projects director.
A kickoff party celebrated the center on September 13; it officially opened two days later and will remain open through October 13.
The concept of a monthlong open house, which took eight months to plan and required the scouting of numerous Manhattan neighborhoods, fulfilled two goals. One was to bring the magazine to life for readers “and give them the opportunity to take classes and have services from people they read about in the pages of the magazine each month—and to be pampered like the stars,” DeVito said. “Secondly, the Self Center gave us a unique opportunity to integrate our marketing partners with the magazine.”
Participating Self Center sponsors include Eddie Bauer, Botox Cosmetic, CoverGirl, Imitrex, Lactaid, Liz Claiborne, Motorola, and Nissan—all have existing advertising relationships with the magazine. Those sponsors are integrated throughout the three-story town house, but are represented most heavily on the top floor in the form of interactive sponsor stations. For example, CoverGirl will offer makeovers and Liz Claiborne is displaying clothing in a mock store.
The ground floor of the town house serves as a relaxation area, with comfy lounges and a space for seminars. And the basement houses the spa treatment rooms and a studio space for exercise classes. Sharilyn Abbajay of S.P. Abbajay & Associates is serving as the center's spa director.
With the help of Frederick Anderson of Anderson Hannant, “we transformed a once-dilapidated town house into an oasis,” DeVito said. Rich, dark wood furniture was brought in and padded with overstuffed pristine white cushions. Wheatgrass and white orchids decorate the tables and fireplace hearths. The effect is airy and calming—just like a sanctuary should be.
—Erika Rasmusson Janes