The name, The Institute – “The House of Silence,” sounds like the title of an old Vincent Price horror flick. A maze of dark, dank rooms inside a dreary mansion. In reality, it is a luxurious, serene oasis in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood.
"Our name is really just ‘The Institute,’ and ‘The House of Silence’ is our nickname," explains Johanna von Wulffen, Director of The Institute. Dr. Erno Laszlo, the famous skin care and mind/wellness pioneer, started The Institute in Budapest in 1927. In the late 1930s, he made a name for himself in Hollywood and, up until his death in 1973, he treated timeless beauties including Grace Kelly, Katherine Hepburn, Ava Gardner and Marilyn Monroe, to name just a few. It is also said that Jacqueline Kennedy inquired about his services for her husband, President John F. Kennedy. Dr. Laszlo turned her down because he didn’t make house calls – not even to the White House! While Dr. Laszlo may have been a very outgoing personality, he never uttered a word about his patients. It was the Duchess of Windsor who dubbed The Institute “The House of Silence” because of the many secrets kept within its walls.
In 1939, Dr. Laszlo opened his New York City office, located on Fifth Avenue. Because of his cutting-edge health and wellness practice and his excellent reputation, appointments were hard to come by (it is said that 99% of applicants were turned away). The business was sold in 2011, to Charles Denton, who vowed to relaunch the brand with a renewed vision while still remaining true to Dr. Laszlo’s philosophies. In 2012, Mr. Denton relocated the business to its tony digs at 382 West Broadway. While it is still very difficult to gain entry into The Institute as a client, (you must be recommended by another member), you can enjoy its elegant atmosphere as a guest.
The Institute is one of the most unique venue spaces in New York City. Grandiose and glamourous, it’s perfect for any corporate cocktail party, brand launch, beauty function or bridal event that needs a hint of vintage 1950s era glitz. The focal point of the 8,200 square foot Institute space is the grand staircase that winds around a crystal-encrusted pillar in the main parlour. Illuminated white shelving and display tables complete the elegant, retro look. "We hosted a fashion event, and watching the models walk up and down the staircase was spectacular," says Christine Tate, Director of Special Events. Several smaller rooms are also available for smaller affairs.
For more information about The Institute, visit www.ernolaszlo.com/institute, or call 212.837.1048.