Sometimes I wake up super early in the morning and think that it's a good idea to make coffee instead of trying to go back to sleep. During one of these early rising days, I spent some time looking through an issue of Gray Magazine and saw some photos of the W Hotel's Living Room and TRACE. Even before I knew that Living Room walked away with the top honor in the American Bars category of the 2013 UK and International Restaurant & Bar Design Awards, I had decided that I needed to see and photograph it.
Living Room and TRACE are part of the 2012 renovation of this modern downtown Seattle hotel. The new design was a collaboration between W Hotel's Global Brand Design Group and Portland, Oregon’s Skylab Architecture. Skylab's projects include Departure Restaurant & Lounge at the Nines, Nike Studio at 255, and Doug Fir.
Skylab designed W Seattle as, "a 'Sonic Lodge,' an eclectic and warm mix of materials and textures influenced by Pacific Northwest history and craft merged with the city’s aspirations." Jeff Kovel, Principal of Skylab Architects, explains, “There is a specificity of place to the design. Since its inception, W Seattle has been a regional destination for design enthusiasts. The interior draws connections to the geography and regional culture with the organization of the space and with furnishings and finishes. Design is employed as abstract storytelling. In this case we are extracting the history of the future to conjure a unique experience around the W Seattle identity."
While I was extremely impressed by the space as a whole, there were certain elements that grabbed my attention. The focal point of the Living Room is a three-story fireplace designed with a national park service look-out in mind and covered with stainless steel industrial-inspired tiles that represent Seattle's relationship with the aviation industry. A built-in DJ booth rests above the grand fireplace. I love the pinks used in the color palette. The pink blown glass chandeliers designed by Esque Studio and the pink and gray fabrics and cording used in Living Room are a nice soft contrast with the stainless steel. One of the coolest things is the wallpaper in the Northwest corner "library." Skylab partnered with New York City's Flavor Paper to create six by twenty-two foot wallpaper panels featuring a record album collection with a quarter of the titles representing Seattle's musical contributions.
When you step into TRACE, the color palette softens and becomes luminous. I love the huge lenticular mural designed by The Felt Hat that displays either a floating jellyfish or a fighter jet in flight, depending on where you're seated. The open floor plan provides seating for 80, including a 10-seat sushi bar and 12-seat private dining area. The colorful graphic table in the private dining area was one of my favorite details.
W Seattle is located downtown at 1112 4th Avenue. The blend of color and architectural details makes it a must-visit spot for modern design fans. I already can't wait to go back.