In the retail and hospitality business, customer service is everything. Happy customers and contented guests are tantamount to success in these industries, and business owners go to great lengths to ensure their patrons’ experiences exceed expectations. The environment in which these experiences take place is pivotal—from a restaurant’s unforgettable interior design to the almost-like-home comfort of an exceptional hotel. Customers want something unique and memorable from their shopping, dining and lodging excursions. This is especially true in a down economy when consumers want even more bang for their discretionary buck. In many instances, retrofitting an existing hotel, restaurant, store or shopping center can benefit owners by saving money and time while improving building performance. Other times, a retrofit is the preferred approach because the building or location itself is critical to the business’s identity or brand. Whatever the reason, retrofits in the hospitality and retail sectors—which represent almost one-tenth of the American economy—present unique challenges and rewards. On the following pages, discover hospitality and retail projects large and small that are transforming the places where Americans eat, shop, stay and play.
TEAM: Owner: Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, www.wolfgangpuck.com; The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Group, www.ritzcarlton.com // Designer: Tony Chi and Associates, New York, www.tonychi.com
Renowned hospitality design firm Tony Chi and Associates put its talent to work to retrofit a restaurant space to meet the unique demands of internationally known chef Wolfgang Puck and his newest Spago venture. The space, formerly called the Remington, is situated in The Ritz-Carlton Hotel. The 4,400-square-foot renovation was meant to capture the essence of the surrounding mountain landscape with a distinctly modern design. A 37-seat bar and lounge creates a unique façade for the restaurant, opening directly off of the hotel’s great room. With clear-glass display towers, etched silver bar tops and polished stainless-steel fixtures, the bar illustrates how the retrofit, completed in 2007, built upon what was already available to the designers.
David Singer, senior associate and principal in lighting at Tony Chi and Associates, says lighting was particularly challenging. “There is a lot of large artwork in the restaurant, and properly lighting it was incredibly important. There were also many brightly colored doors that needed to be highlighted by direct sourcing of light,” he said. To enable diners to get the best views of the mountain vistas, Singer employed directional lighting, accenting tables but not lighting the room. “We also raised the decorative fixtures high enough so that one cannot see the reflected images of fixtures in the glass,” he added.
TEAM: Architect: NORR Limited Architects and Engineers, Detroit, www.norrlimited.com // Architecture and Engineering Consultant: Fiffels LLC, Southfield, Mich., www.giffelsgpe-ibi.com // General Contractor: MiG Construction, Detroit, www.migconstruction.com // Automotive Consultant: Chip foose, Huntington Beach, Calif., www.chipfoose.com // Metal Panel Fabricator: Riverside Group, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, www.riversidegroup.net // Metal Panel Installers: American Glass & Metals, Plymouth, Mich., (734) 459-0760 (architectural composite light bands for the hotel) and CL Rieckhoff Co. Inc., Taylor, Mich., (734) 946-8220 (ACM panels on the faccade) // Metal Panel Manufacturer: Alcoa Architectural Products, Eastman, Ga., www.reynobond.com (82,000 square feet of 4-mm Reynobond ACM with a PE Core in a Valspar champagne metallic finish for all light bands on the casino, hotel and valet buildings // 45,000 square feet of 4-mm Reynobond Natural Brushed Aluminum with a PE core in a clear Valspar finish on all façades of the continental, casino and valet buildings, the entrance canopies and column covers)
Part new construction and part retrofit, the more than $300 million, 1.1-million-square-foot complex seamlessly blends the existing casino, which is housed in a historic Wonder Bread bakery constructed in 1915, with the newly built hotel, bridge and valet buildings. The work was done in stages from July 2006 to January 2009.
On the façade of the casino building, the architects created a 3-D “grille” by alternating aluminum composite material panels on the old brick façade. Single skin, stainless-steel sheeting was used to create the rounded and flared roofline mimicking the sleek lines prevalent in 1950’s auto detailing.
Charged with the requirement of reducing over- all framing cost for the rainscreen cladding system, Riverside Group engineered the “Chevron-shaped” champagne metallic light band panels to span from top to bottom without any fixation to intermediate supports. Because the overall height exceeded the maximum composite sheet width, the light bands were fabricated out of two separate panels and unitized together prior to crating and delivery to site. The unitized section had to be engineered to withstand wind and snow loads, which necessitated custom gusset reinforcements on the back side to hold the overall shape together.