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A European Twist to DC Design

When PDG Studios began designing the AC Hotel by Marriott in Washington, DC—the first new ground-up hotel constructed in the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District since 1971—it wanted to play up the city’s European influences.

“In designing this hotel, we wanted to highlight the history and iconic, European elements of Washington DC,” said President Lisa Haude. “We created a modern design by implementing strong architectural lines, and provided harmony, balance and quietness to the space by juxtaposing those qualities with soft, curved elements. Located in a unique, business-focused area known as the Golden Triangle, we carefully crafted and sourced design details that would encourage young professionals to come stay, engage and enjoy the bar/dining area regularly, which was designed to be a fun, new spot to hang out.”

The hotel has a very structural layout with columns meant to highlight the strict, traditional architectural features of the buildings in the area, Haude said.

“To ensure the traditional design still resonated with today’s guests, we applied modern finishes, clean millwork and smooth architectural details, in addition to European-inspired modern ceiling designs throughout,” she added.

The art featured throughout the hotel, which was specifically curated for the building to achieve an upscale, European design that celebrates the history of DC, is also emphasized throughout the design.

The overall ambiance of the hotel was designed to be upscale and modern, yet also iconic and meaningful. “Guests staying and visiting this hotel will feel comfortable and welcomed by its modern amenities and elegant design features, but will also feel as though they are further immersed in the culture of Washington, DC,” Haude said.

In the lobby/bar area, a key element of the design is the custom light fixture that has a free-flowing, organic feel to it. “This represents the Potomac River as it meanders through the city,” Haude said. “Aerial images of the river were used as inspiration on the design and how the light would flow from the bar to the lobby, and fiber optic lights were strategically placed within special paper to help highlight the chandelier.”

Additionally, the modern sculptures at the front desk aim to represent the people of DC—both currently and in the future. “These sculptures are a modern interpretation meant to ‘reflect’ the busts of our forefathers seen throughout the city,” she said.

The Giles Miller custom art located behind the front desk depicts a modern interpretation of all the icons of the city. “A unique mix of colors and materials, including some copper pieces, are used in this piece and are all special reflections of the city and its dynamic history,” Haude explained. “Also fabricated by the same studio, there are a series of images located on each guest floor of building, which act as a modern representation of light/shape/building structure.

“Finally, the focal piece of art at the end of the lobby, which helps navigate the guest to the elevator banks, is a modern interpretation with a custom felt art piece that depicts the coffered domes throughout the historic buildings,” she said.