Boutique Design - June 2017 - 46
5 To make 21c Nashville's gallery
space work in the long, narrow
Gray & Dudley building, the
design team cut light wells
into the space and knocked out
some floors above.
boutiquedesign.com june 2017
6 Sleeping areas on different
levels maximize interior
space in Getaway's Salvatore
cabin. Dark soft goods are a
durable solution-and a great
foil for blond wood tones.
21c, for example, has a book of brand standards that spans everything from the
big picture overview of cutting-edge art and great F&B to a detailed design
strategy. "The formula may not be visible, but to us the public areas are always
about art. The upstairs [guest spaces] should feel like home," says Deborah Berke,
partner at her eponymous design firm, who has collaborated on all the 21c hotels.
Even the guest room floors aren't exempt from their own entry in that
brand encyclopedia. "We try to avoid using carpet in the rooms, for example,
unless there is a special case; we've used everything from terrazzo to wood
instead," says Berke. Keeping the back-of-house spaces as standard as possible
helps streamline the process of converting old buildings (though, Wilson notes,
complete consistency isn't possible in historic sites) and prevent overruns.
Davis and Staff took a different leaf out of the big-brand playbook: tiered room
offers that let guests, even in a retreat setting, choose their own experience each
time they stay. "We build each cabin around big central elements: real wood, high
quality materials, big windows that let nature be the star and lots of space for
lounging, reading and reflecting," says Davis. "Various cabin families (each unit can
sleep two to four people) arrange our key elements in different ways."
And people don't want their style cramped, even in a small space. Electric
toilets and real showers are built into one end of each cabin, all of which also
have a kitchen. Guests won't settle for cheap finishes or subpar build quality,
even in what is, effectively, a trailer. (Staff lived in one in his pre-Harvard days,
so he should know).
"Fortunately, the scale of the cabins makes superior finishes more affordable," Staff points out.
So, ultimately, even visionaries have to know their way around Excel sheets,
paperwork and TripAdvisor reviews. But before designers or owners tear their
hair out over that, they can take comfort in the fact that doing so allows them
to take style risks when they're backed up with good business sense.
Homework still pays off. Sorry 'bout that.
COURTESY OF 21c MUSEUM HOTEL S (21c NA SHVILLE); DYL AN ENGEL S (GETAWAY )