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exterior corner view in the evening of multistory hotel with lit up roof arch, warm red entryway, and scaled facade with uplighting at hilton des moines

Illuminating Design: Playing with Light at Des Moines Hilton Downtown

Brian Murch

Everyone knows light is important to our everyday lives. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to do much of our day-to-day work or, for that matter, be productive after sunset. Light also allows designers to enhance the spaces we create. The tangible materials we work with – brick, steel, glass, wood, metal – can be all complemented and enhanced through the intentional use of light.

Hilton Des Moines Downtown in Des Moines, IA. Photo by Bruce Cole. When illuminated by light, 3D textured panels emulate deconstructed wheat grain offering a visual reference to Iowa’s agricultural roots.

Almost every designer tries to bring natural light into a space; and for designers such as myself, who focus much of their time on hospitality projects, lighting is a tool we use to create a dramatic and memorable guest experience. One of my recent projects at DLR Group is the new Hilton Des Moines Downtown, a prime example of how lighting can enhance a space or leave a memorable mark for visitors. The Hilton Des Moines Downtown is a 317,637-SF full-service convention hotel located at the edge of downtown Des Moines’ Iowa Events Center. To deliver a unique guest experience, our team played with light in a variety of ways, both on the exterior architecture of the building and in the interior spaces.

Entryway with benches out front, an overhang, and glass doors wrapped in dark framing at hilton des moines

Transparent podium levels activate the urban street frontage and invite guests into its lobby and restaurant spaces. Photo by Bruce Cole.


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