October 26, 2006
Dream team designs downtown penthouses
By PAUL BRENNEKE
Top talent assembled
Beyond the obvious marketing advantages, the penthouses at 1 Hotel and Residences, formerly known as Second + Pine, presented an opportunity to assemble the best design talent in the region, many of whom work nationally and internationally, and to commission work with limitless possibility, much as artists are commissioned.
The expectation for design excellence had already been set: Sienna Architecture’s structure featured a base of polished dark green granite rising out of matching flamed-granite paving stones that supported a facade of limestone and green-hued glass curtain walls. The design is a testimony to the classic architecture of the surrounding neighborhood.
The building’s public spaces, restaurant and hotel room interiors were all designed by internationally acclaimed design firm Yabu Pushelberg, most recently recipients of a Design Firm of the Year award from Interior Design magazine and inductees into the publication’s Hall of Fame.
But what made this a rare experience for future residents was the opportunity to compare multiple interpretations of essentially the same space not swayed by the attractiveness of an existing structure, location or setting. In short, this was an opportunity to compare design talent solely on its merits and to select a designer whose vision most closely aligns with their own.
Defining a design aesthetic
The showcase was about bringing a bigger vision to the community for what life in downtown Seattle could be. After all, the penthouses at 1 Hotel and Residences range in price from just over $2 million for a unit of about 2,200 square feet to around $11 million for a unit of 6,800 square feet. At that level, buyers expect something exceptional.
This was also an opportunity to help define a Seattle design aesthetic much as the city has defined Northwest cuisine and to give these residences a greater sense of place not so anonymous and easily transplanted to places like Hong Kong or Chicago.
What resulted is both organic and elegant, a wide range of styles, from cutting-edge architecture and monochromatic palettes to the use of environmentally green and recycled materials. Some of the plans feature generous use of natural materials such as stone and wood that diminish the boundaries between interior and exterior, while others became cocooning respites from the hustle and bustle of the city. All feature a signature element or two, from leather doors and lap pools carved into ceilings to koi ponds and spa-inspired baths with tinted translucent walls.
The Seattle Seven
The designers went through a juried selection process that began with recommendations from design media, realtors and local artists. They were then asked to submit samples of past work and a vision statement for downtown living.
Seven designers were selected for commissions on the seven penthouses and instructed to develop their penultimate vision for downtown living.
Each of the “Seattle Seven,” as they were quickly dubbed, started with an undefined and otherwise raw two-story shell that included 23-foot ceilings and the opportunity to creatively demise the floor to take advantage of the two-story glass spans revealing inspiring vistas of the city and the sound.
What resulted was some of the most inventive and striking work this city has seen or is likely to see for years to come. Whether it’s eco-resin panels or luxurious, organic materials and fabrics, spa-like vestibules or reflecting ponds, these homes capture the essence of a private retreat at the center of a dynamic urban environment.
The Seattle Seven
Seven designers were selected for the showcase at 1 Hotel and Residences in downtown Seattle. Their work will be on display when the project’s sales center opens in February. The seven include:
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