Art is one of many design aspects to a hotel, but it’s not usually the primary driving inspiration. For Hotel Arts in Calgary, its unique art-centered aesthetic has set it apart in the marketplace.
When guests walk into the boutique hotel in downtown Calgary, it immediately feels like they have entered a stylish gallery with art work and sculptures throughout. The challenge for Chil Interior Design was to take the guestrooms and corridors of this successful hotel and elevate them to the same calibre as the rest of the spaces and to better reflect the dynamic nature of the brand itself. The concept was to abstractly integrate art into the overall design so the guest experience has continuity from the public areas into the more private ones.
“This was quite a unique project in that we were able to have an art focus throughout the design. It was a lot of fun to be able to play and experiment with art and colour the way we were able to do with this client and at this property,” says Adele Pransky, associate at Chil Interior Design. “The client group was great to work with – they were open to trying something different and willing to take risks.”
The innovative and outstanding design earned the firm the prestigious IDIBC Robert Ledingham Award for project of the year.
“This award is quite dear to my heart. I got to know Bob on a design trip in Europe,” says Pransky. “To have this project recognized for innovative design is very special.”
The project successfully integrates art and design into every aspect of the renovation. In the corridors, the design team used a custom carpet and custom wallcovering both with very bold graphics. The wallcovering also incorporates floor numbers by the elevators.
“We were really playing with the idea of colour and scale in both of those. Even if you look at the corridor base boards – very dramatic, high piece of millwork,” says Pransky. “The idea was to recreate that feeling of walking into a gallery or exhibit for the first time and having that sense of surprise and anticipation.”
Every aspect of the guestroom was executed with intentional and thoughtful touches, immersing guests into the art experience by providing a slightly unexpected twist on the typical room.
“When you get into guestrooms, there are smaller art experiences within the room,” says Pransky. “We can go very bold and dramatic with colour in the corridor, but you may not want to sleep in that sort of environment…so the bedroom is a bit of a softer take on that.”
Strong geometry, contrasting forms, fabrics and textures work together to create a room that is in itself artistic. Art is translated as an integral part of the space, furniture and finishes. This can be seen in the custom origami-like drawer fronts on the case goods (dressers and bed side tables) and the sculptural metal art installation on the walls.
“We really had to bring the guestrooms and corridors up to that same level of colour and scale of the existing public areas – to be dynamic and bold,” she says. “The design was very different. We’re used to working in more neutrals so this was a bit outside of the box which made it fun and exciting.”
As with any renovation, the main challenge was working with existing infrastructure and how to make sure the design fit with the elements that are remaining.
“Parts of the bathrooms, for example, weren’t going to change and we had to make sure everything would work well together and be an integrated design,” says Pransky.
Known for its award winning hospitality work, Chil Interior Design was a multiple winner at this year’s IDIBC Awards of Excellence, taking home two Awards of Excellence and one Award of Merit in the hospitality category.
Cheryl Mah is managing editor of Design Quarterly.