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A Sneak Peak At the New Radisson Blu, Opening This Summer in Minneapolis

May 22, 2014 at 3:44 PM | by | Comment (1)

A second Radisson Blu is coming to Minneapolis this summer, following an extreme makeover of the former Radisson Plaza Hotel. The Radisson Blu Minneapolis will be the City’s second hotel under Carlson Rezidor’s design-savvy luxury brand (after Radisson Blu Mall of America.)

The hotel’s opening date seems to be a moving target at the moment, and we have unofficial word that it could be July or later.

The transformation of the hotel is to the credit of a team of design talent. Stonehill & Taylor Architects take the helm of both architecture and interior design, collaborating with Glasgow-based Graven Images, an interior design studio that has worked with Radisson Blu on several hotels both in interior design and in developing the brand’s visual identity. Graven Images also designed the former Missoni Hotels, who have since been re-born under Carlson’s new luxury flag Quorvus Collection.

Hospitality projects designed by Stonehill & Taylor typically start and end with a story to tell, drawing inspiration from the uniqueness of the locality. Whether it is a reference to an historical event, a celebration of industry, or simply honoring a city’s architectural legacy, the story plays out in the details.

According to the official press release, there will be 360 guest rooms and suites, including three Club floors and an executive lounge. The rooms feature a mid-century modern style with a neutral color palette to help you chill out, a clutter-free work space, and a selection of contemporary artwork that extends throughout the hotel. The artwork is curated, also by collaboration, by Stonehill & Taylor, art consultants Soho Myriad and Indiewalls, and the hotel's owners, Charters Lodging.

Here are a few renderings of the hotel’s interiors, which will have to hold us over until the hotel opens. Whenever that is.

This totally re-vamped lobby rises 16 stories of the original atrium, and features a hard to miss video wall and plenty of gathering space to show off your social skills. In this rendering we see a hint of Radisson Blu’s Scandinavian roots in the furniture, the timeless Egg Chair by Danish designer Arne Jacobsen.

This crisp modern bar reflects a great mix of lighting, from the soft glow in the ceilings, to the clear pendant lighting that is just right for casual conversation, pitching a sale, or creating your next design on a cocktail napkin.

The design of the Fire Lake Restaurant has a rustic yet smooth vibe, drawing on the Minnesota landscape and its industries. Finishes and materials that define the restaurant include copper, steel and wood, and in particular reclaimed barn wood, a remarkably reusable material.

A major objective of the renovation, followed by a most creative design solution, is to offer a range of flexible meeting and event spaces that will generate group business. A portion of the original atrium was closed in to create this pre-function space, enhanced with natural daylight (you don’t see this often in a pre-function space) and a museum-like quality of the modern art collection.

The boardroom gets bonus points for the elegant Swan Chair, another Danish Arne Jacobsen design dating to 1958 that just keeps on going.

The hotel’s web site is not yet taking reservations, and opening rates cannot be confirmed

[Renderings: Stonehill & Taylor]

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Original Radisson

To provide context (and because I used to work there), this article is about the first Radisson hotel in Downtown Minneapolis. The original hotel opened in 1909 and included luxuries like an automated revolving front door and telephones in all the rooms. The nightly rate for a room without a private bathroom was $1.50. The original building was razed in the 80s and replaced with the current mixed-use high-rise.

Any arm-chair hotel historians can read more about the hotel in this press release that was written back when I worked there:
http://www.hotel-online.com/Neo/News/SpecialReleases1998/HistoryRadissonHotel_Jan1998.html

One last note of interest: While many today recognize the name, the hotel and subsequent chain wasn't named after a person involved in the company. Instead, the name comes from Pierre Esprit Radisson, a French fur trader who explored the Upper Midwest in the 17th century.

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