Hospitality hallways are being designed to play a bigger role in making a venue stick in guests’ minds.
By Matthew Hall
Hospitality hallways are no longer just a way to get from Point A to Point B – they’re being designed to play a bigger role in making a venue stick in guests’ minds. Here are some noteworthy examples of decking the halls, 21st century style.
The Out NYC, New York
This just-opened property, which touts itself as New York’s first “straight-friendly” gay hotel, features a black-and-white main corridor on its ground floor that leads from the front entrance to an elevator bank on the building’s back side. Paul Dominguez, the project’s designer/architect, describes the curved hallway as a play on the monumental steel works of sculptor Richard Serra. “I took Serra’s concept and reversed it,” Dominguez says. “By indirectly lighting the top and bottom of the walls, I made them appear to float, and by painting the walls a metallic dark gray while keeping the floors and ceilings white, they become shadowy ribbons that guide you as they undulate through the space.”
Hotel Vincci Bit, Barcelona, Spain
To help make its third hotel in Barcelona stand out from the crowd, Vincci Hoteles commissioned artists from around the world to create graffiti-style murals in the hallways within each of its eight stories. On the third floor, Aleix Gordo Hostau painted a series of 25 interconnected murals, all built around the subject of dreams. The part of the corridor pictured, Hostau notes, is in the corner farthest from the floor’s elevator lobby. “I infused this section of the hallway with an eye-catching red to get people to come over and explore the murals there,” he explains. “The content suggests an air of sensuality, including a naked torso and a maneki neko, an image of a beckoning cat that’s supposed to bring luck in love.”
The Chairman’s Suite restaurant/lounge, Toronto
II BY IV Design Associates was hired to convert eight corporate boxes within the Air Canada Centre sports arena into a high-end, private lounge/restaurant dubbed The Chairman’s Suite. To enter that space from the arena, patrons pass through this 15-ft.-long portal, which sets the stage for the upscale dining experience to come with its vintage wines inset in bronze, mirror-clad walls; flooring made of vanilla marble; and glass ceilings with concealed lighting. The underlying idea, according to II BY IV lead designers Dan Menchions and Keith Rushbrook, is to give the portal a feeling of airiness, despite its close walls.
The Padre Hotel, Bakersfield, Calif.
First opened during a local oil boom in 1928, the Padre Hotel once sported a rooftop cannon pointed at Bakersfield’s City Hall. That weaponry—placed there by its then-owner during a feud with town officials—is long gone, as are plans to convert the building to condos. Instead, the hotel has been fully renovated and reopened by new co-owners, architect Graham Downes and hotelier Brett Miller. In updating the property, Downes said he sought to create “a dizzying and stimulating experience” throughout its eight stories. That includes the hotel’s hallways, which feature large-scale, Western lifestyle images in the elevator lobbies; highly detailed wall coverings; carpets bearing bold motif patterns; and stylized images at each door, including this room sign for a themed penthouse suite.
Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC, New York
The 1970s have come alive again at this 186-key boutique hotel, which just completed its first full-property update since opening in 2004. That revamp, overseen by interior designer Andi Pepper and architect Stephen Jacobs, included the installation of new pictures in its guest rooms and corridors by artist Deborah Anderson. Inspired by images from Studio 54 in its heyday, Anderson’s photos depict a hotel after-party, including this hallway image of a fashionable trio (both women are wearing vintage Halston dresses) strolling through the lobby. “The idea was to capture the glamorous, heady party spirit of that bygone era,” says Anderson.
Steigenberger Grandhotel & Spa, Heringsdorf, Germany
Located within a new-build hotel created by JOI-Design on the Baltic Sea resort island of Usedom, guests use this corridor to stroll from their rooms to an adjoining pool area. JOI-Design’s Corinna Kretschmar-Joehnk and Peter Joehnk say that the hallway “is designed to evoke the experience of a casual, barefoot walk on the beach with its beautiful seaside houses.” To help create that feel, designers installed large-scale, backlit black-and-white photos of Usedom’s 19th century-era beachside villas along one wall, and outfitted the curving corridor’s floor with boardwalk-style jatoba timber planks.
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