Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Public spaces of the Biltmore hotel, Arizona

The Arizona Biltmore is not only a hotel as I've mentioned but a huge resort regularly used for conferences, weddings, and other events. Many of these spaces are original to the hotel and in the main building and I thought I'd share them with you here today!
One of the first rooms one comes upon while entering the hotel is the Aztec Room which was designed as a lounge and theater in the original to the 1929 hotel.
Featuring a spectacular gold leaf ceiling, 2 fireplaces, garden access, and a curtained stage, no wonder this is so popular for weddings!
One of the 2 unusual fireplaces in the Aztec Room.
The Gold Room off the lobby was originally designed as the main dining room and also features a stunning gold leafed ceiling.
Much larger than the Aztec room it also features french doors out to a terrace.
I love the unusual shape to these windows!
This beautiful wood and metal screen was near the entry.
Two enormous murals featuring Native American scenes add color to the room flanking the wall of glass.
As you can see the room is enormous!
Upon entering the hotel you don't enter directly into the main 2 story lobby but rather a discrete anteroom which features an unusual water feature built of the textile blocks. Here you can see how some of the textile blocks are actually glass and provide ambient light.
Also in the lobby is a stained glass window designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1927 (Saguaro Forms and Cactus) and donated to the hotel by his wife after his death.
One of numerous hotels is named after the architect who inspired the design, Wright's.
This pleasant sunny space was at one point the hotel's sun lounge or conservatory. It also features a gold leafed ceiling and pleasant garden views as well as an enormous terrace.
This pretty little garden is the view from the restaurant.
And rising above the restaurant is the hotel itself. Notice the unusual pierced roof overhang above.
The hotel has become a campus and the outbuildings which host conferences, apartments, and other guest rooms are designed in the same Wright'ian style incorporating his textile blocks. As you can see despite the warm weather the trees do loose their leaves which surprised me!  This brings to an end my sharing of the Biltmore Hotel but I will be bringing you Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West shortly!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Window boxes

What do you think of window boxes? In most cases they're left derelict and forlorn -nude of any planting. In some cases I've seen them planted with horrible plastic flowers! However in Quebec City I came across these delightful planters full of creeping red (live) flowers -aren't these charming? Just something to remind us all that spring is on the way!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Santos Museum of Economic Botany

Sometimes museums which might sound rather dull (to design aficionados such as myself) can be held in the most astonishingly beautiful buildings. Such is the case with the Santos Museum of Economic Botany at the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, Australia which my penpal recently sent to me.
This little classical gem of a building from 1879 was just extensively and sensitively renovated. The structure wasn't built as the Greek temple it resembles but rather as the science museum it remains.
The ceiling is a good example of how the Victorians were able to meld together decorative detailing with highly detailed and rather commercial looking steel structure. I love the gilded mechanical vent. If you can't hide it -make a feature of it!
The collections themselves are just as decorative as the building - these rather amazing Victorian models of mushrooms above are entirely made of wax! I remember even as a child going to the Buhl Planetarium in Pittsburgh which at the time was the science museum (now the Children's museum of Pittsburgh) and being more interested in the beautiful building than in the exhibits themselves. Design inspiration can come from the most surprising places, no?