Let yourself be welcomed in the warm, cosy and sophisticated interior of the Shinola Hotel in Detroit. Gachot Studios filled this beautiful hotel with art, atmosphere and beautiful design, reflecting the balance of the vibrant city.
The Shinola Hotel, the first hotel project from the luxury watch brand of the same name, is located on one of the most iconic roads of downtown Detroit. In 1909, Woodward Avenue was the first place in the world where a mile of concrete highway was built. In the hotel, you will not only be immersed in the atmosphere of the Shinola brand, but also in the rich history of the city. The New York interior design agency Gachot Studios was chosen for the interior design of this beautiful property. They dressed the entire hotel as a cosy, stylish living room. Co-founder Christine Gachot tells us more about her studio and the interior design in an exclusive interview. A world in itself
In the words of the designer herself, the hotel represents "the balance of history, revival, community and innovation that is Detroit". As this is a historic building, the designers had to be careful. "We are so proud of this project, it was a real labour of love. We had to be sensitive to the history of the place and, at the same time, carry it gently into the future. Detroit is a city with a complicated past and so much potential that is beginning to unfold. This building reflects that delicate balance between history and the present." The choice of so much colour in the design also stems from the city: "Detroit is alive and colourful! The creative energy, the music, the people and the history of the city all call for vibrancy. The hotel is meant to capture and resonate what it means to be in Detroit at this moment. And also if we’re being honest, winters in this part of the country can be really brutal, you need a juxtaposition for that grey sky that lasts for almost six months."
“The hotel represents the balance of history, revival, community and innovation that is Detroit.”
So the city was a great inspiration, but the client also played an important role. At Gachot, each project is treated as a unique expression. It has to be an answer to the customers' dreams and expectations. That was no different here. "From a retail and hospitality point of view, we immersed ourselves in the brand in order to understand its values and 'become' the customer. Shinola is a strong brand, a world in itself. It was therefore appropriate to create a hotel that is also a world in itself," says Christine. The designers have certainly succeeded in doing so. There's so much to discover from the living space to the hidden evening bar and the guest rooms. Each room has so many layers. According to Christine, Shinola as a company plays a significant role in the story of Detroit's revival and strives to share the city's history and talent through its products and initiatives. "It was important that the hotel became the embodiment of the brand." Layers of colour and art
What immediately catches the eye in this hotel are the various works of art, a rich choice of materials and the bright colour palette. These were not chosen randomly, but for a reason. Gachot had already designed two Shinola stores before this project. "We are familiar with the brand's DNA and we wanted to continue this in the hotel. Our starting point was inspired by the atmosphere and aesthetics of famous London private clubs. We used caramel, camel and grey as well as soft blush colours and deep green and of course the typical 'Shinola Blue' that we developed for this project." Throughout the hotel, from the public areas to the guest rooms, they used materials that are rich, natural and distinctly residential in presence.
“It was important that the hotel became the embodiment of the Shinola brand.”
Christine also tells us about the use of art in the hotel. "The inclusion of real art, not just decorative art, was essential to realise our concept of a hotel with a residential sensibility. And a number of partners in the project are passionate art patrons and collectors." The Library Street Collective, a well-known and respected art gallery in Detroit, was appointed to curate the hotel's collection, which includes internationally acclaimed artists as well as emerging and local talent. There are several beautiful pieces and elements that of course stand out immediately, but in the end everything fits together and all eye-catchers and works of art form a harmonious whole. The splendour starts as soon as you enter. "We created a special moment upon arrival with a grand mahogany desk. In addition, local artist Margo Wolowiec was appointed to create custom installations for the panelled walls in the reception area. Woven into the installations are images that tell the story of Detroit's past. It's breathtaking!" For the public lounge Gachot designed custom caramel mohair sofas and sectionals, deep brown leather sofas, a variety of welcoming lounge chairs to surround the stone top coffee tables, lacquered side tables and a mix of custom-made and vintage lighting. In addition to these beautiful pieces, you’ll find a stunning central Arabescato Grigio stone fireplace flanked by two blue sofas with throw pillows by French textile designers Toyine and Le Manach. "You can't help but feel like you have ‘arrived’ and at home right away," says Christine.
Gachot used a lot of colours and statement pieces, but still managed to create a sophisticated whole that doesn't look too chaotic. "Two important elements that provide balance are the lighting – expertly designed by Herve Descottes of L'Observatoire International – and the consistency of clean lines in the architectural details and decorative key elements. When the base is sophisticated, you have some room to play," Christine explains.
The full article about Gashot Studios and the interview with Christine Gachot about the Shinola Hotel can be found in last year's October issue, Imagicasa Autumn 2019. Images courtesy of Shinola Hotel/ Photographer: Nicole Franzen