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Swoon the Studio Unveils an Artful New Communal Space for the W Residences

The Dallas Design Firm Sets a High Bar for Hotel Lobbies

BY // 09.03.21
photography Max Kutz

Swoon, the Studio has set a high bar for how smashing a high-rise lobby can look. The redesigned lobby at the W Residences takes notes from Swoon’s work on the Adolphus Hotel’s 110-year-old lobby and library, along with the transformation of a historic building in Charleston, North Carolina, into the new Hotel Emeline.

Samantha Sano and Joslyn Taylor — the forces behind the design and branding firm Swoon — were tapped by the building’s design committee to update their lobby into a chic spot for residents to relax, meet, or work on laptops. The design team didn’t simply bring in new furnishings and art. They completely rethought the function and layout.

First visual when you walk in the door? It isn’t a concierge desk, but a spacious living room with cozy areas for gathering, lounging solo, listening to music, or reading a book next to a fireplace.

“The lobby is an elegant moment now before you go up to your apartment,” Taylor says.

008 iwr.001-W-Residences_MK-098 (Photo by Max Kutz)
On the shelves in the W Residences, art and culture books from Forty Five Ten and pottery by Carrie White and Matthew Gilley. Painting from Sputnik Modern. Custom ottoman. (Photo by Max Kutz)

People are usually glued to their phones in any setting, but the designers created enticing nooks for intimate cultural experiences, including an area with a retro turntable and collection of records. A handsome wall of built-in shelves holds books and publications on art and architecture, along with sculpture and handmade pottery. Paintings and works on paper are conversation starters for residents gathering downstairs for happy hour, but when there’s work to be done or a meeting needs to happen, a vintage travertine table and chairs are at the ready.

The designers wrapped the lobby in an envelope of beautiful and textural materials, such as white oak paneling, handmade tiles, and concrete floors. And they chose a mellow color scheme punctuated by bright blue elements referenced from a Verner Panton sculptural Vitra Living Tower in an Yves-Klein blue that a design committee member had seen.

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“It became an interesting jumping-off point and pushed us to a place we wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise,” Taylor says.

To tie into the vibrant blue of the Vitra Living Tower, they covered a pair of sofas in peacock blue velvet, had a rug custom woven in Morocco with blue elements, and covered the powder room walls in a vibrant blue tile.

012 iwr.001-W-Residences_MK-158 (Photo by Max Kutz)
Paper wall sculpture by Derrick Velasquez, Denver. Vintage travertine table from 1stdibs. (Photo by Max Kutz)

Given Swoon’s success with artful public spaces, we’ve got to ask: What’s the secret to making interiors sing, whether it’s a lobby in a high-rise or a living room at home?

“Soulful, special, and interesting things like books, art, and artisanal pieces are what make people most happy in a room,” Taylor says.

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