HD Talks

Projects

3 Steps to Rebuild After a Natural Disaster

Posted by on January 10, 2018 in Hospitality, Projects

The tranquil guestroom at Ventana Big Sur

By Rachel Fischbach, Principal, BraytonHughes Design Studios

We are often asked by clients to help them rebuild after a devastating event. Whether it’s a fire, flood, earthquake, or other disaster, how do you pick up the pieces and start to rebuild? Below are the three things we always ask ourselves when designing a new project, which hold true when rebuilding one, too:

1. What is the story that we want to create?
The original Casa Dorinda in Santa Barbara, California, for example, was a grand estate built in the early 1900s, and though the property had been restored recently, the adjacent dining room that was built in the 1970s did not connect to the Spanish revival style of the estate. We, therefore, took design cues from the original Casa and tried to seamlessly blend the spaces, which is reflected in the furnishings, color palette, architectural details, and iron lighting. Continue reading →

Hotel Flashback: Talbott Hotel’s European-Inspired Facelift

Posted by on October 24, 2017 in Hospitality, Projects | 1 comment

By Mary Beth Klatt

Located in the heart of Chicago’s posh Gold Coast neighborhood with the Magnificent Mile nearby for upscale shopping and dining, the iconic Talbott Hotel, a Joie de Vivre hotel, was originally designed by John Archibald Armstrong and built in 1927. It was time, then, for the hotel to get a bit of a facelift. Following a $20 million renovation, local designer Kara Mann, retained the hotel’s classic Renaissance Revival charm with a top-to-bottom update of the 90-year-old building.

Copper accents in the neutral-toned guestrooms at the Talbott Hotel. Photo by Laure Joliet.

The Talbott is one of a few remaining European-style boutique hotels in Chicago, according to Don Copper, principal at GREC Architects, the architecture firm chosen for the renovation. With the overhaul, the goal was to maintain the hotel’s intimate feel but in a modern way by updating F&B service throughout the lobby and relocating the front desk to a remote space away from the entryway. Continue reading →

Fast Food Gets a High-End Makeover

Posted by on September 13, 2017 in Projects, Trends

When it comes to fast food restaurants, there’s a preconceived notion that the design will often reflect the food. But, lately, these restaurants and well-known brands have taken a page from fast-casual brands like Chipotle or Shake Shack, seeking out acclaimed designers to craft clean, beautiful environments that are as satisfying as the guilty pleasures served.

What makes these high-end spaces stand out beyond the quick distribution of nuggets and a frosty is quite simple: They are designed with a guest in mind who is seeking an upscale yet accessible experience. If you’re making the time to enjoy a Big Mac, you can now enjoy it in style.

Some credit can be given to Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. In 2014, he took on the task of updating a Starbucks in Fukuoka, Japan for a truly unique, sophisticated coffee shop in the bustling area. The building is made of 2,000 wooden sticks woven together in a diagonal pattern to bring a sense of fluidity to the room, creating a warm, cave-like space for the coffee drinkers. Continue reading →

Hotel Throwback: The Blackstone’s Luxe Upgrade

Posted by on July 3, 2017 in Hospitality, Projects | 3 comments

By Mary Beth Klatt

There has been much secrecy at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago throughout its history. Republican leaders named Warren G. Harding as its presidential nominee there during a secret meeting (notable for introducing us to the concept of the smoke-filled room, also an aptly named suite at the hotel); gangster Al Capone got his haircut at the hotel barbershop tucked away from prying eyes; and John F. Kennedy quietly prepared at the hotel to negotiate the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Dual staircases in the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago.

Following the $139 million architectural restoration in 2008 by the Gettys Group, the firm was called on once again to lead the hotel’s multimillion-dollar renovation, which included updating original artwork, highlighting the early 21st-century glamour and craftsmanship of the original building, and incorporating technology with modern amenities and a contemporary design.

A modern guestroom with contemporary artwork above the beds.

Continue reading →

Hotel Flashback: A Boston Staple’s Rebirth

Posted by on March 29, 2017 in Projects, Uncategorized

By Mary Beth Klatt

President Calvin Coolidge was the first U.S. President to stay at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, built in 1927. Formerly the Statler Hotel, part of E.M. Statler’s grassroots hotel chain initiated at the onset of the 20th century, all but two U.S. presidents have stayed there since. In its heyday, this “city within a city” triangular building, designed by architect George B. Post, was the tallest in town. It was also the most technologically advanced in the world, with radios in each guestroom and programming broadcast from a rooftop station.

A cozy public space at the Boston Park Plaza

Over the decades, the building began to look dated. The lobby was diminished when commercial real estate offices were carved out of the hotel’s podium, detracting from the building’s original grand entrance.

However, in 2016, Sudbury, Massachusetts-based Parker-Torres Design completed a $100 million renovation financed by Sunstone Hotel Investors. Continue reading →