Hotel Wilshire, city lights
Located in the Miracle Mile district not far from Beverly Hills, the hotel is housed in a converted fifties building used as a medical facility. A renovation project carried through by the practice KNA Design has softened the austerity of the volume while emphasising the windows and opening up the interior spaces in keeping with a sober functional style tailored to business clients. The six-storey building has 74 rooms and is crowned by a panoramic rooftop with swimming pool, an outdoor lounge worthy of a film set. With its references to modernist architecture and insistence on the utmost linearity and purity of form, the metropolitan style of the Wilshire Hotel makes absolutely no concession to decorative artifice. But at the same time it avoids degenerating into the cold and unwelcoming superficiality that is so often seen in the sector of business hospitality.
Light is an all-important design element. It floods in through the large windows that render the double-height lobby fully transparent and permeable from the outside. It shines from the sculptural chandelier that hangs above the lounge area. And it traces out the Los Angeles urban grid structure reproduced in the giant nocturnal aerial photograph that dominates the reception area.
The reception counter is highly minimalistic, its stark geometry contributing to the sobriety and almost masculine elegance of the hall. Here the atmosphere is determined by the choice of the materials and a neutral colour palette based on shades of grey, brown, cream and beige, offset by bright yellow accents.
The lobby is rounded off by velvet sofas and white leather armchairs, mirrored-surface coffee tables, geometric patterned carpets, and floors paved with dark wood alternating with pale ceramic tiles. The tiles themselves contain a reference to another distinctive feature of L.A., the white sand of its famous beaches. The floors in the corridors, a number of bathrooms and above all the Pool Deck are tiled with white porcelain with a rough, textured surface (Sands collection from Impronta Ceramiche, colour White, Natural and Anti-slip finishes, installed sizes 5×60 cm, 15×60 cm, 30×60 cm, 60×60 and 30×30 cm mosaic).
A combination of design, technology and sustainability (the production process uses a minimum of 45% recyclable materials), this material brings together functional non-slip properties with subtly shaded surface aesthetics. The effect of a petrified carpet of sand floating space is enhanced by the glass parapet that allows for a magnificent, uninterrupted view, which can likewise be admired from both the rooftop and the outdoor lounge area.
Whereas the terrace is the most striking and appealing ambience in the hotel, the guest rooms themselves observe a style of understated hospitality. They adopt a neutral palette from grey to beige and furnishings that are functional yet far from trivial, blending cold and warm materials, linearity and softness.