In downtown Atlanta, where glass towers pierce the sky and soaring atria saturate high-rises with Southern sunlight, the dramatic architecture is synonymous with one man: John Portman. So when it came time to design Hotel Indigo Atlanta Downtown at Peachtree Center, it was only natural the brand turn to Mr. Portman to reimagine his original 1965 design for 2016 travelers.
The result? Architecture buffs, mid-century modern fans and Don Draper devotees will find Insta-worthy details at every turn. John Portman & Associates and design firm HBA Atlanta pulled influences from Portman’s decades-spanning portfolio for a mod, but modern, urban look.
To unlock these easily overlooked elements, Lissa Pierce, interior designer and regional manager of property improvements for Hotel Indigo, shares her top picks for what to discover inside the hotel:
Authentic Portman paintings cover some walls.
“There’s one at the bar and one in the restaurant that are Mr. Portman’s paintings — wall-size murals of his paintings,” Lissa says. “He has a team come in and, in almost paint-by-numbers style, they do a large-scale copy of the originals. He comes and is there for the entire process to make sure it’s been done in his style, and he uses a specific team to do this globally.”
The mural program features digital mash-ups of photography and graphics by local artists.
“The rest of the murals — in public restrooms, meetings rooms, the fitness center — are from Canvas Art Consultants here in Atlanta. They did this really great concept of overlaying,” Lissa says.
The Canvas Art Consultants mural in the fitness center combines three local Atlanta artists’ works: a nighttime skyline shot by Matt Nixon is combined with Patrick Wallace’s photograph of a street mural by graffiti artist Peter Ferrari, whose artwork is depicted in several of the other murals in this series. The resulting composition was printed on silver metallic wall covering for even more depth and vibrancy.
Another mural depicts the escalator at the adjacent Peachtree Center MARTA station, shot by Matt Nixon and overlaid with a custom graphic design by local artist Christopher Derek Bruno. You’ll spot these urban themes of transportation, architecture, graffiti and super graphics throughout the hotel’s mural program, which mixes minimal archival photography with custom photographs commissioned specifically for Hotel Indigo.
The area rugs are art, and different in each room.
Lissa also calls attention to art underfoot. “The area rugs in the guest rooms are also Mr. Portman’s paintings,” she says. “HBA worked with the carpet manufacturer to do a custom design of several of his paintings. Typically with Hotel Indigo, we like to change the mural in each room, but at this hotel, the mural stays the same in every room and the area rug changes.”
The millwork screens pay homage to an Atlanta original.
“The millwork screens that are behind the front desk and also in the restaurant are a nod back to the original Midnight Sun restaurant that was in Peachtree Center,” Lissa says. “It’s not an exact copy — they did a little bit of a variation in the design to change it up — but it’s the same use of wood strips to create that visual, which also adds warmth.”
Architectural details are everywhere.
Lissa’s last word of advice: “If you’re a true architecture buff, going into this hotel and looking at the details is pretty amazing. From the stair to the canopy over the bar, everything — even where the walls meet — is full of amazing little details.”