The Principal Manchester, U.K.
Michaelis Boyd Associates, London
Flip a historic hotel from conference-centric to contemporary lifestyle. Reveal the hidden grandeur of a late 1800s Victorian Gothic Revival property. Salvage the building’s original details while adding new elements of comfort. Maximize functionality without compromising the wow factors.
The grade II* listed building served as the headquarters for The Refuge Assurance Co. until the late 1980s. Then in 1996, the property was converted into a hotel. Because such listed buildings make up only 5.5 percent of the designated properties and monuments in England, the designers went to great lengths to pay tribute to the location’s history and idiosyncrasies.
The Director’s Cut
Keeping the hotel operational throughout the conversion meant the project had to be completed in phases. It also required back-of-house functions and guest-facing areas to be spread throughout, making the design logistics complex. Because of the historical significance of the structure, the designers stayed in touch with English Heritage and the Manchester City Council throughout the project to ensure design decisions and materials met their standards.
The Highlight Reel
While celebrating the building’s past life was paramount, coolness was also king. The former Palace Hotel’s conference feel was nixed to make way for a more visually stimulating atmosphere. Original tiles and carved timber paneling were preserved and accentuated in the guest rooms. In the reception area, a new brass circle in the floor and a commissioned horse sculpture created by artist Sophie Dickens—who’s a descendent of the famed author and referenced his work in the engravings within the circle—recalls the space’s original purpose as an open-air turning circle.
Balancing fashion and function is critical, even when creating a grandiose ambiance. Here, the designers improved guest circulation throughout the building’s three individual sections with a new external elevator and removed partition walls within the ground floor F&B space to improve traffic flow.
OWNER: Starwood Capital Group, Greenwich, Connecticut; OPERATOR: Principal Hotel Co., Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England; DESIGN FIRM: Michaelis Boyd Associates, London: Alex Michaelis, partner; Luke Rowett, senior architect; Jake Lai, associate; Alison Castella, interior designer; Kate Holt, part 2 architectural student; Stephen Pelly, architect; ARCHITECT: 3DReid, London; PURCHASING COMPANY: Benjamin West, London; GENERAL CONTRACTOR: HC Contractors Ltd.; DESIGN CONSULTANT: Michaelis Boyd Associates (interior design); ART & ACCESSORIES: VISTO Images; AUDIO/VISUAL & ELECTRONICS: Principal Hayley Group Ltd.; BATH & SPA: Utopia Projects; FABRICS: Panaz, Futura Leathers, Kobe Interior Design, Robert Allen Contract, Sekers Fabrics; FLOORCOVERINGS: Brintons; Solus Ceramics; FURNITURE: Ozo Living; LIGHTING: Heathfield Lighting; SIGNAGE: Rivermeade Signs; WALLCOVERINGS: Seltex Wallcoverings; WINDOW TREATMENTS: Robina Curtaining
Detroit Foundation Hotel
Simeone Deary Design Group, Chicago
Spin an adaptive-reuse project into an opportunity to help revitalize the Motor City. Honor the historic property and the city’s heritage while celebrating its ongoing renaissance. Channel the idea of “Coming Home to Detroit” into a building that once housed a fire department.
Giving used elements new life and reinterpreting relevant moments from the past through a contemporary lens was the jumping off point for the designers’ vision. In The Apparatus Room—which encompasses the check-in experience, lobby and restaurant—an open-display kitchen and an antique brass metal rail system reminiscent of a fireman’s pole runs through the F&B area, highlighting the space’s robust architecture.
The Director’s Cut
Setting the project apart from other historic preservations meant the design team had to do more than source locally. From the start, the designers reached out to the community, collaborating with the developer, architect and artisans of the city. But embracing Detroit’s promising future didn’t mean avoiding its rocky economic past. Graphically manipulated photographs of stunning-yet-abandoned Detroit landmarks grace the guest room walls, while the headboard’s soft curve and high-lacquered finish recalls the craftsmanship of high-end automobiles during the city’s manufacturing heyday.
The Highlight Reel
Virtually every detail within the hotel thoughtfully honors the locale. A massive chandelier that encircles the central bar not only serves as a light source but also as a feature art installation. Inspired by the street lamps that dot the city’s downtown district, that custom piece is illuminated by 359 warm, exposed LED lamps and showcases 110 pieces of hand-blown glass. Another sculptural chandelier acts as an abstracted reference to the building’s history with its smoke-like billowy form.
Don’t just capitalize on a city’s revitalization effort, join it. Tapping into local artisans not only results in authentic craftsmanship and entices Detroit natives, it economically engages the comeback community in a way supports the city’s renaissance at large.
OWNER/OPERATOR: Aparium Hotel Group LLC, Chicago; DESIGN FIRM: Simeone Deary Design Group: Gina Deary, owner; Lisa Simeone, owner; Christine Babini, associate; Katie Lieberman, designer; Mark St. Romain, brand designer; ARCHITECT: McIntosh Poris Associates, Birmingham, Michigan; PURCHASING COMPANY: Slate Procurement, Chicago; GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Sachse Construction; ARCHITECTURAL MATERIALS: Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit; Fire Orb; Foxwood Wine Cellars; Mod Interiors; ART & ACCESSORIES: Alex Porbe; Anton Maka; Chris Rutherford; Cone Denim; DAC Art Consulting; Fairbault Woolen Mill Co.; Incite Design; Josh Young; Kim Harty, College of Creative Studies; Lisa Spindler; Lulu & Georgia; Matt Eaton; Uncommon Editions; Matt Gaglio; Mod Interiors; RH Contract; Simeone Deary Art & Branding; TRNK NYC; AUDIO/VISUAL & ELECTRONICS: Stephen McGee; BATH & SPA: Blue Leaf Hospitality; Delta; Grabinski Group; Kohler; Project Stone; RH Contract; Séura; FABRICS: 1st Dibs; Afra Furniture; Architex; CF Stinson; Custom Contract Furnishings; Dani Leather; Designform Furnishings; Fabricut Contract; Fabric Innovations; Fishman’s Fabrics; HBF Textiles; Houles Paris; JAJ Contract Furniture; JF Fabrics; Moore & Giles; Optima Leathers; Opuzen; P/Kaufmann Contract; RH Contract; Romo; Samelson-Chatelane; Sankon Interiors Ltd.; Swavelle Hospitality; Valley Forge Fabrics; FLOORCOVERINGS: Borokhim; Durkan; Lapama Rugs; Old New House; One Kings Lane; The Vintage Shop; FURNITURE: 1st Dibs; Anton Maka Designs; Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit; Ariston Hospitality; Atelier Gary Lee; Beachwood Custom; Bernhardt Contract; Chairish; Cheng Meng Furniture; Coalesse; Custom Contract Furnishings; Scott Pallan; France & Son; Herman Miller; Interlude Home; JL Furnishings; Marquis Seating; Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams; Pooltables.com; RH Contract; Roger & Chris; Sandler Seating; Skypad Inc.; Urban Ashes; Valley Forge Fabrics; West Elm; Wood Goods Industries; LIGHTING: Challenger Lighting; HB Architectural Lighting; Incite Design; Lambert & Fils; Lusive; RH Contract; Troy Lighting; Visual Comfort & Co.; SIGNAGE: Detroit Laser Co.; WALLCOVERINGS: Detroit Wallcovering; Simeone Deary Art & Branding; WINDOW TREATMENTS: Miceli Drapery Co.