And now for something completely different: Yes, that’s wallpaper on the cover. While we’ve recently featured people on our covers and, at other times, interior spaces, it’s unusual for us to feature one specific design detail. But, after all, isn’t it about the details? When it comes to hotel design, that’s what we’re told, over and over again, and more and more often.
Just in this issue alone, the seven design stories talk about the level of detail involved in each project. And while that’s true of most projects, it is particularly true of boutique hotel projects, which are often defined by the finer points. This edition of Hotel Business Design is our boutique issue, meaning that we are presenting a variety of such projects culled from our vast files. One of them is Los Angeles’ Hotel Figueroa (see page 28), which is set to open in December.
And, it is this property, designed “for creatives by creatives,” according to ownership, that features the bold and distinctive (another “boutique word”) wallpaper you see gracing our cover. With its striking blue leaves, the wallcovering at once is both noticeable and memorable.
According to Christian Schulz, design director/principal of Santa Monica-based Studio Collective, “One of ownership’s main directives with the redesign of the guestrooms was to make sure the bathrooms provided a unique and memorable experience for guests.” Given the historic nature of the 1926 hotel—which had started out as a YWCA—there were several different room and bathroom types to design. “In order to give the smaller bathrooms a unique character, we developed the custom wallpaper so they would have their own personality,” noted Schulz. “As we were working on the project, we had internally begun to refer to the hotel as ‘The Fig’ [short for Figueroa], and so we looked to develop a modified fig-leaf design as the basis for the wallpaper.” Converting it to blue color tones worked with the color and material palette the design firm had developed for the smaller rooms and, thus, “the wallpaper was born,” he explained.
It’s really no surprise that the design firm chose to custom-design the wallpaper for part of this hotel, putting its skill and craftsmanship on display, as this property is known for its efforts to work with local artists and craftspeople, a growing trend in the hotel space. From curated art to exclusive pieces, visual distinction and one-of-a-kind details are becoming the hallmarks of boutique hotel design, where every angle is covered (remember our cover line?) and every space—from the public to the very private (i.e., aforementioned bathroom)—is equally worthy of special treatment and extraordinary details.