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Sanctuary in Seattle

In 2018, Jacki Arena Interiors (JAI) was chosen as the interior designer to join the SeaTac Marriott renovation team.  Although JAI has a background working with several Marriott brands, they were required to attend a full-day brand immersion session at Marriott headquarters before it could get final approval to work on the property. The Marriott sessions helped JAI to build on the ideas and goals of the project and it provided the team with the resources and tools needed for the appropriate brand planning and design.

The Lobby Bar: A Place for Guests to Relax
The first part of the design project was the 1,350-sq.-ft. lobby bar. Marriott wanted the space to accommodate more seating so guests could have a comfortable gathering space to relax with colleagues and friends.

The existing bar fully opened into the lobby, which was not part of the renovation project. JAI’s design choices had to make sense with the existing lobby design.

The lobby bar patio extension (dining deck) was added during this renovation to accommodate more seating for the bar. Since the patio overlooks the event space, the fitness center and the pre-function lounge with a two-story media screen, it is a great place to sit and soak up the natural light and the outdoors peaking through the glass atrium enclosure. JAI provided several styles of seating from lounge chairs and cocktail tables to communal tables, to high tops and dining tables.

“The greatest challenge was designing an event space, patio lounge and fitness center within this large space and making it appear natural, intended and purposeful,” noted Jacki Arena, principal/owner, JAI. “We also needed the man-made materials to look and feel like they were part of the outdoors while considering the acoustics of this large open space with many hard surfaces.”

The Atrium: A Natural, Inviting Space
Part of the renovation project also included designing a new dining deck outside the bar but inside the existing atrium;
reinventing the former atrium pool area into a 7,500-sq.-ft. multi-use event space; creating a 1,900-sq.-ft. space for the Atrium Patio Lounge, which included a two-story media wall visible to the new dining deck; building an enclosed fitness center within the atrium space; and expanding the public restrooms.

“Our starting point for designing or renovating any space is to let the surroundings lead the way and outline the story. In this case it was the existing steel, wood and glass atrium with plants and trees enveloping the space. We then had to adapt and customize the brand’s standards to our unique conditions,” Arena sai.

The atrium is enclosed glass that is connected with the outdoors, and JAI has been talking a lot recently about the biophilic design trend. The space allowed JAI to easily incorporate nature into its designs, optimizing views of the outdoors and bring more of the outside inside.

The team kept its atrium project mission in focus:

“To modernize the existing rusticity of the space without compromising the authenticity and interpreting the natural diversity that defines Seattle.”

The natural light, greenery and other forms of nature will reduce the stressors that come with travel or business, while also maintaining positive energy. Plants and greenery provide visual and acoustic privacy as well as craft a tranquil, soothing aesthetic. This space is great for locals who want to get out of their work from home environment and come to work for an inspiring remote office location for the day.

With a diminished connection to nature and increasing pressure on technological advancement, people are taking less opportunity to recuperate mentally and physically.

“The atrium space blurs the boundaries between indoor and outdoor and provides guests with a sense of wellness and relaxation,” Arena said. “We had to bring the outdoors in with every selection we made here. In addition to the live plants, trees and other foliage we brought indoors, we used a mix of wood and LVT flooring and custom-designed carpet tiles to have the appearance of concrete. All new structures had to complement the existing wood, metal and glass originally used for a seamless look that reflected the natural landscape coming through the glass enclosure.”

The fitness center is also situated within the large open space, surrounded by nature. It offers guests an array of equipment to work out in a beautiful environment.

JAI was involved in this renovation for about 18 months, but the bar itself was just completed in mid-September, making it two years since they first began working with the renovation team.