May 13, 2014 Editing and Reinterpreting
Our team just returned from a site visit in Tuscon, Arizona for an upcoming program. The trip made me realize how both editing and reinterpreting are a big part of a designer’s skill set. We have to be the eyes, ears, and mouths of our clients. Also, we have to communicate their needs and style through the careful selection of furnishings, lighting, flowers, and specific venues. Part of this process is often a delicate dance of working with pieces or components that have already been set in place at a particular destination.
This particular resort was nestled in a valley of surrounding mountains dotted with 100-year-old cacti and other stunning flora. The setting was natural and organic – and the hotel did a superb job of translating that into the architecture and general décor. The palette was neutral with punches of color mimicing the surrounding landscape: natural stone from the surrounding area as walls in addition to timber repeated throughout the property in the ceiling, floors, and doors.
Tables made out of local tree stumps: organic with a contemporary twist
Soft earthtone leather, studded with copper nails
I arranged for the banquet department to assemble some of their furnsihings that would be available for our events, so we toured an area that had been set up for a dinner function. After seeing the beautiful outdoor rattan furnture, leather benches, and wooden tree stump tables, I was looking forward to having access to similar items for our meal functions. The dinner set up consisted of white wood folding chairs with stainless steel highboy buffet tables complete with black legs. Sure the look was clean, simple, and sleek – but not only did it look a little out place in a desert setting, it just did not reflect the design elements that were so strong in the hotel.
This was not a big surprise. I often find a disconnect between the style established by the hotel and the look/feel of the catering department. So, as I typically do, I dug deeper into what might be available to me. However, I did see some of their inventory that was right on the money.
Natural wooden buffet tables with a warm cognac stain, worked perfectly with custom made wooden bars and bar backs. The decision was made to use the wooden tables and bars. We also replaced the white wooden chairs with a natural wood bistro chair. Finally, I also was granted permission to use leather benches, wooden stump tables, and other pieces of furniture from the hotel. Using the existing furniture to accent rented furniture and linens can create a more custom looking event that also blends more closely with the feeling of the space.
The design process is often most successful when cues are taken from the surrounding area and you’ve created an environment that feels, smells, tastes, and looks like where you are. Sometimes a simple edit and some basic reinterpretation can make all the difference!