Design with the End in Mind


Sonesta, Philadelphia: A Perfect Ending 

“Starting with the end in mind” is a studio exercise we practice when we’re trying to envision how every aspect of the space will be used once it’s completed. We ask our team to think of each of their 5 senses and determine how they would be impacted with the final design.

Where is that photo-ready, magical moment the guests are seeking? How will their shoes sound on the floor as they approach the reception desk? What colors and textures will capture their attention on their way to the elevator lobby? When they drop their bag and pull the curtains back, what sparks their imagination, invites a chuckle or cause a moment’s pause in awe of the detail?

A great example of starting from the end is our Sonesta, Philadelphia project. We re-purposed an old Crowne Plaza, into a stylish art-forward showcase.  Our vision defined the hotel as a living intersection of the city’s, “It’s all about art” directive and the history of the hotel’s location in the heart of Philly’s business district. Our hybrid art + business vision inspired ornament fashion and color.

The walls were painted white, to mirror an art gallery. Accents were a sleek silver and black, and the showstopping glossy crimson pillars are meant to emulate a power-red tie. We didn’t let budget, or time constraints limit our use of art features, this includes a framed wall behind the reception desk (real frames set in a garment-like chevron pattern) headboards that work as functional art in each room, and the best example of all, an S-curved red bench that sits perfectly in front of the gallery space, where guests regularly find and post their instagrammable moments from.

Professional images provided by Thomas Watkins

All Instagram captures from @SonestaPhilly as of 1/31/2020

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