Eva Hagberg -- Interior Design, 11/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
"It's about the outdoors. We brought rocks and mountains into our interior as a story to carry through," associate Verena Haller says of a Denver hotel and condominium project for which she's designing 193 apartments spread over five floors. With 171 hotel rooms in the bottom half of the building, it continually crosses boundaries between inside and outside, living and visiting. The structure's lower half represents mountains, the upper half sky. Associate Claes Appelquist, a designer for the job's hospitality component, gives the nature theme a human face: "You have this combination of the urban dweller and the landscape enthusiast." In other words, a skier?
In that case, Haller fits the demographic—stylish New Yorkers on vacation out West—and she drew upon her own personal trips to Colorado in refining the condos' materials and color palette of marble, ash, soft beige, gray, and brown. Appelquist opted for a literal interpretation of Rocky Mountain scenery in designing the sixth floor's shared hotel and condo lounge, where painted gypsum walls slant inward to create a "canyon" and the marble flooring adds to the feel of a wilder West. By day, the lounge will be illuminated by a skylight that Appelquist likens to an opening between the clouds. Sectional sofas will negotiate the changing floor levels, creating valleys for circulation and peaks for social boundaries. "The marble floor becomes a trail that takes you through different social landscapes and ecologies," he adds. Or you can just sit in front of a "fire pit" for a moment of "Kumbaya."