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A Look Inside the Rooms at Hyatt Union Square and More on Those Reversible Headboards

March 1, 2012 at 4:00 PM | by | ()

Welcome to Design Thursdays! This is our day to focus on hotel design through photo tours, video walk-throughs and interviews with hotel designers. Got a cool hotel design story we should know about? Let us know.

Today we have a super special treat--a sneak peek inside the forthcoming Hyatt Union Square in Manhattan (above) AND an interview with Morag Macpherson, a textile artist based in Scotland who did the fabric designs and supply for the hotel's reversible headboard patterns. Yes, reversible! After all, this Hyatt did want to be design-forward than other Hyatt hotels. So now, let's dig in!

HotelChatter: Even though you have an extensive design CV, this looks like your first hotel design project. What was it like designing with a hotel guest in mind?

Morag Macpherson: It's different to thinking about a private home - there will be many thousands of different people coming in and out during the year - so maybe that is why the designs are so diverse and vibrant - there's something in there for everyone! It also reflects the diversity of New York City.

HotelChatter: Can you tell us a little more about the headboard design? How did you come up with these patterns?

MM: The patterns are from an existing collection of natural, organic shapes - influenced from African tribal adornment to local plants and fauna where I live - I call this collection 'The Masculine and Feminine in Nature'. It was spotted at ICFF 2010 by Vennie Lau of VLDG.

Ed. Note Vennie elaborated more on her choosing of this design saying:

The textile design corresponded to the overall "allegory" concept with a great respect to nature and union square park that drove many design decisions. The play of whimsy, use of natural materials (wood floors, wood for the millwork), glass, stone etc is evident throughout the guest room.

The design brings in a nature inspired aspect but is presented in an unexpected manner (hence the allegory playing through). The pillows are "hung" much like artwork and is the accent color source in the somewhat earthy black and white monochromatic room.

HotelChatter: What does the process for making these headboards involve?

MM: My brief for the headboard designs was a seasonal theme of Spring Summer and Autumn Winter as two separate panels. I was given a free reign and deliberately asked to be wild with my depiction. So I've juxtaposed, overlapped, broken in two and generally mixed all the designs and colorways together for a very bright, bold and vibrant feel.

I hand-render these shapes then repeat and colour on computer ready for digital printing. The digital printing process is a dream for designers who don't want to be constrained by limited colour palettes and how much line and shape they can overlap - so it was perfect for this project.

Design, fabric supply and printing has all been undertaken in the UK so it is a very British product.

HotelChatter: Why reversible headboards?

MM: The design being embedded into the headboard was an unusual choice and works fantastically in the otherwise minimal rooms. This idea was created as an alternative to having a painting or other wall art attached to the wall. All the design in the room is part of the bed!

Being reversible gives this novel idea a further edge and allows for the designs to match the changing seasons-- allowing the room to change with the seasons, so to speak.

HotelChatter: Since beds are undoubtedly the most important part of a hotel room, what was the overall design concept for these hotel rooms?

MM: To embed the 'art' within the bed itself leaving the room to function simply, with no other fuss.

[Photos: Morag Macpherson and Hyatt Hotels]

Archived Comments:


Is it just me, or are the headboards and wood floors the only interesting things in that room in the picture?

The curved wall

I think the curvature of the wall where the TV and desk are is something new and interesting. But remember, this is Hyatt. They don't usually get too crazy. I am curious about that circular table thing. Is it a table or a minibar or a dresser? Or maybe it's a tub that converts to a table? :)

Everyone loves an everything omelette?

I had the opportunity to see the design & developement plan for this property some 6 months ago, and I recall the draft lookign pretty solid. What I see here is rather dissapointing. There is a way to make lacquer planels work, but the curved piece here reminds me of my grandmother's bathroom in Ft. Lauderdale. I'm not going to even touch the everything omelette fallacy."The Masculine and Feminine in Nature"... I doubt my most eccentric transexual friend would be caught dead wearing this pattern (I doubt even a double-dose of PCP would broaden the appeal). Give me the drab, monotone, minimalism of Andaz anyday. Sadly, I doubt Hersha dropped the extra mil to brand Union Sq. an Andaz.