Interior inspiration: the choice of Design Week spaces using natural materials


From reclaimed wood to stone and copper, some of this month’s projects use natural materials to blur the lines between indoors and outdoors.

1 Toronto Hotel, by Rockwell Group

Photo credit: Brandon Barre

Boasting of having the first “mission-driven hotel” in Canada, celebrating the beauty of the city’s natural surroundings, 1 Hotel Toronto aims to “turn urbanism inside out”. The idea for the design, according to Rockwell Group, centers on creating a portal to the natural world, instead of a flight from it.

Lake Ontario has shaped the palette of materials – reclaimed wood, native plants, concrete formed into panels, and local marble are all present throughout the space. In the hall, the parquet floor and the shelves in reclaimed elm wood sit alongside a stone wall. A living green wall provides a lasting focal point.

Throughout the hotel there are four bars and restaurants, each offering a different experience. 1 Kitchen merges modernity and vintage, depending on the studio, with a veranda-like space and a vaulted ceiling. Plants are featured prominently in interiors and inspire the surrounding color palette of neutrals and greens.

Meanwhile, Harriet’s is a rooftop bar that uses Toronto’s flora and fauna as the basis for the design. A braided rope ceiling is sandwiched between wooden beams, and reclaimed elm parquet and leather and lambskin accents are also present.

Photo credit: Brandon Barre

House of Originals, by Roar

Photo credit: Oculis Project

Interior designer Pallavi Dean took inspiration from the lunar calendar to design the interiors of the Dubai-based House of Originals hotel with his consulting firm Roar. “The original idea arose from a night visit to the site, when it was just a bare patch of land,” she says.

The theme is used in a “subtle and abstract” way throughout the space. For example, the color scheme used in the hotel’s public spaces is influenced by the distinct hues created by the moonlight “hitting the sea,” she says. It combines neutrals with undertones of blue and green.

Decorative elements are used to create personality. At the reception, a large-scale work of art presents an abstract graphic interpretation of the lunar calendar. In the wider lobby and elsewhere, works of art are strategically placed to evoke the reflections of the water.

Beyond the lunar calendar, versatility guides the design. A selection of ‘day and night’ amenities have been developed for the space, including an open-air restaurant, cabanas, and entertainment areas.

Photo credit: Oculis Project

Le Portique, by Ica and The One Off

Photo credit: Le Portique

The 291-room The Gantry Hotel in East London advertises itself as ‘designed in a contemporary and collaborative way’. The interiors were developed by the specialist hotel design firm Ica, while the brand and the interiors are signed The One Off.

The hotel’s location – minutes from Stratford Olympic Park – influenced much of the design. Ica explains that he wants to make sure that the panoramic views of the city catch the eye, with “warm and intimate” finishes added through furniture, art, textures and colors.

The One Off has developed many of the hotel’s public spaces. An industrial theme is throughout and textures of brass and concrete are used to contrast with softer furnishings. The jewel-colored furniture in the lobby and restaurants aims to soften the harshest materials.

Local and emerging artists have been engaged by The One Off to develop artwork for the hotel. Materials artist Stephanie Tudor has created a custom copper shingle installation, which is in the center of the restaurant.

Photo credit: Le Portique

Tree Bar, by Icrave

Photo credit: Icrave

Acclaimed SushiSamba restaurant opened its first outpost in the United States, and interior consulting firm Icrave developed the nature-inspired space. The Tree Bar and Lounge is located at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas.

Featuring a 125-foot curved “theater-style” bar and leafy canopy, the studio claims its inspiration is a blend of Brazilian and Japanese cultures. Bright street art is juxtaposed with traditional Japanese artwork, with both imprinted on the swirling ribbon-like structures that surround the dining room.

A mix of deep reds and oranges make up the color palette, and at the center of the space is a large tree installation, with a living, leafy ceiling canopy.

More subtle elements complement the dramatic elements: warm lighting, leather furniture, and textures like tropical wood and stone. The studio says its ultimate goal was to make the bar look like “Copacabana sidewalks” – an aesthetic the brand has used since its inception.

Photo credit: Icrave

Beverly, by Fettle

Photo credit: The Hoxton

Wood takes center stage at The Hoxton’s Beverly restaurant, with rich wood cladding encircling the dining room. Design studio Fettle offset the characteristic wall with hardwood floors and an eclectic selection of artwork, including a collection of original ceramic wall plates.

Natural colors and textures were chosen to complement the wood: round marble tables and bespoke leather chairs sit alongside smooth green leather banquettes around the perimeter of the space.

The green bench aims to create an “intimate environment”, according to the studio. A fabric bench with contrasting patterns runs the entire length of the bar, with the aim of creating a point of contrast between the bar and the dining room.

While the colors and textures are relatively dark, they are balanced by a large central skylight, which allows natural light to flood the room. In keeping with natural influences, it is surrounded by lush plantations. At night, the Beverly is lit by two personalized brass chandeliers with frosted glass globes.

Photo credit: The Hoxton

Has your studio recently worked on an inspiring interior project? Contact [email protected]

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