Since its founding in 1984, the Rockwell Group has developed a robust portfolio of contemporary spaces imbued with drama. Its latest hotel project, Andaz Maui at Wailea, employs the firm’s signature theatrical style, seamlessly blending it with the magical atmosphere of Hawaii. Completed in September 2013, the resort encompasses 15 acres on Maui’s south shore, an exclusive area known for its five-star hotels and scenic golf courses. The project called for overhauling three existing towers that made up the Renaissance Resort, shuttered in 2007. Rockwell also revamped the grounds and proposed five buildings containing 19 villas. The overall design intent, said firm partner Shawn Sullivan, was to create a luxurious environment that embraced the outdoors and incorporated references to local culture.
The captivating experience begins right as guests arrive. A covered, wooden and stone bridge overlooks a serene reflecting pool and leads to the hotel’s main entrance. Guests are ushered into an 8,000-square-foot lobby, where natural light cascades down through a large skylight and ample glazing offers views of the turquoise ocean.
In the center of the lobby, a sandpit with free-form chairs lends a playful touch. A grand staircase sculpted of wood—inspired by traditional Hawaiian canoes—leads to a bistro serving seasonal cuisine. Other public spaces include a Morimoto restaurant, five meeting rooms, and a ballroom with a bespoke lighting installation made of glass pendants and braided ropes.
For the hotel’s villas and 290 guest rooms, Rockwell created fresh, modern spaces filled with natural light. Custom furnishings include platform beds, walnut side tables, and vanities with teakwood slats. Sliding glass doors open onto terraces that enable guests to take in the breathtaking surroundings.
Those seeking a respite from the sand and surf can get pampered inside a 14,000-square-foot spa. With its warm glow and tall wooden cabinets, the space feels earthy and soothing. In the reception lounge, a walnut table displays herbs, spices, and fruits that are used to prepare customized oils and lotions. “The ingredients come from the local hillside and local markets,” said Sullivan. “We wanted to invent a spa experience that was really specific to Wailea.”
That commitment to honoring the resort’s milieu went a long way toward winning over the locals. Sullivan said area residents praised the design during the hotel’s opening party. “A lot of people were expecting it to be so out-there modern,” he said. “It was rewarding to hear them say the project feels very Hawaiian, even though New York designers created it.”
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Christian HoranManhattan’s West 57th Street has drawn considerable attention for the spindly glass skyscrapers now rising there. But set within this crane-dotted corridor is a new 30-story tower that stands apart for its rigor and refinement, both inside and out. Completed last fall, the 240-room Viceroy Hotel was designed by Roman and Williams, the renowned firm behind such influential projects as the Ace Hotel and The Standard, High Line. Founded in 2002, the firm is led by the husband-and-wife team of Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, former Hollywood film set designers who have a remarkable talent for producing deftly curated, atmospheric spaces. The Viceroy, for which they envisioned the interiors and the facade, marks the duo’s largest project to date.
Over the course of her illustrious career, the British designer Tara Bernerd has taken on an array of projects, from nightclubs and department stores to the interior of a 150-foot private yacht. In 2012, she completed Belgraves–A Thompson Hotel. Located in London, it was the hospitality company’s first property outside of the United States. Now, Bernerd has produced another edgy, boutique hotel for the Thompson portfolio, this one on American turf. Thompson Chicago, which debuted in October, occupies the former Sutton Place Hotel, built in the 1980s in the city’s exclusive Gold Coast district. Following an extensive interior makeover guided by Bernerd’s firm, Tara Bernerd & Partners, the 23-story building now contains 247 guest rooms, six two-level penthouse suites, a fashionable restaurant, and more than 12,000 square feet of meeting and catering space. The overall goal, said Bernerd, was to create a comfortable, “rough luxury” atmosphere. “We wanted it to feel aspirational but not intimidating,” she said.
Visitors enter a lobby that promptly reveals Bernerd’s knack for crafting environments that are sophisticated yet cozy. A timber-beam ceiling, wood paneling, weighty bookshelves, and seating upholstered in tweed encourage guests to linger with a cup of coffee and their favorite novel. Just off the lobby, a staircase constructed of black iron and brass mesh lends a subtle, industrial vibe. Throughout the hotel, raw materials such as concrete, metal, and brick are used in a ways that Bernerd describes as “seductive and soft” while still conveying a sense of refinement.
The lobby leads to a double-height atrium housing Nico Lounge, where a verdant, living wall measuring 36 feet wide by 22 feet tall serves as a striking centerpiece. Adjacent to the atrium is Nico Osteria, an Italian seafood restaurant led by the celebrated chef Paul Kahan. Its design includes a large open kitchen and Scandinavian-style tables and chairs.
For the guest rooms, Bernerd set out to create a residential vibe. “We wanted to keep it warm and not go too modern,” she said. The bedframes and headboards are crafted of wood and connect to side tables and a velvet sofa. Lacquered cabinetry is accented with leather, and eclectic artwork adorns the walls. In most rooms, floor-to-ceiling windows provide sweeping views of the cityscape and Lake Michigan.
Bernerd said she loved working in Chicago, particularly given its rich architectural heritage. “There’s such a serene elegance to the place, with its marvelous buildings and sense of scale,” she said, adding that she’d love to continue working in the city. “I hope we are embraced.”
Trade shows are no longer simply product exhibitions: Education and networking sessions have become essential components to a show’s success. Coverings has expanded this formula to include installation vignette’s that, built over the course of four days during the show, demonstrate the versatility and variety of applications for ceramic tile. The Installation Design Showcase has paired four local, Atlanta-based design firms with four installation teams that have achieved the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Five Star Recognition, and have been certified by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation. Now in its fifth year, the teams will produce a bar/lounge; a hotel lobby; an in-patient room in a women’s birthing center; and a master bathroom, all designed to demonstrate the design possibilities of tile and stone. “These rooms are not all settings in which you would necessarily expect to see tile,” said Bart Bettiga, executive director, NTCA. “Above all, the Showcase highlights just how important the ongoing designer/installer partnership is to a successful project. Bringing the field to life in this way is another example of what makes Coverings a unique and valuable experience.” Bar/Lounge Michael Nieswander and Margaret Nysewander, ASD Inc. In the Bar/Lounge installation (above), designer Nysewander has called a bar of red tiles from Ceramics of Italy manufacturers “a conceptual art piece.” Highlighting the installation strengths of Rimrock Design, the bar’s design calls for varying cuts in the tile to produce unique textures across the surface. The lounge walls are clad in large-format, gray tiles with MAPEI installation products. Hotel Lobby Foreman Rogers and Allison Isaacs, tvsdesign For designers accustomed to working on large hotel lobbies such as the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner Hotel and the Gaylord Nashville, their challenge was to recreate spacious grandeur on a smaller scale. Using Plane, a 5- by 10-foot engineered porcelain ceramic wall panel from StonePeak Ceramics, the team recreates the luxury of Calacatta Borghini marble with a more thin, lightweight, and monolithic material at a fraction of the cost. A team of installers from C.C. Owen Tile Company, Inc. worked with the latest in large format tiles. Glass and mirror tile from Traditions in Tile are secured with TEC installation materials. In-patient Room in a Women’s Birthing Center Mary Porter and Craig Anderchak, VeenendaalCave Healthcare Italian wall tile that mimics a lightly colored fabric invokes serenity and relaxation, along with a warm, wood-look porcelain tile for the floor. “The porcelain tile from Italy will work well with the walls,” said Mary Porter. The David Allen Company set the porcelain with Strata Mat, a new coupling membrane from LATICRETE that creates a barrier between the tile and concrete for crack isolation protection essential to healthcare facilities. Master Bathroom Mark Williams, Mark Williams Design Associates Timely invocation of a 1920s Gatsby aesthetic coincides with Baz Luhrmann’s film release to define a masculine master bath with Art Deco undertones. Products from the Noble Company, TOTO, and Crossville are combined to create neutral walls, blue glass tile accents, and a herringbone-patterned floor. "We used color where we want you to look," Williams said. Collins Tile and Stone set Crossville’s ultra thin Laminam wall tile with MAPEI installation materials.