Platinum: Historic Restoration
Muse Design Awards 2021
Originally designed in 1913 as a banking and commercial office skyscraper, the architecture makes a statement in its elaborate American Beaux Arts Classicism vocabulary with symmetrical and flamboyant features. The open lobby, serving as local “living room,” encourages guests to gather and features restored coffered ceilings and ground-glass transom windows that once looked down upon the former bank space. Now serving as a daytime coffee parlor and evening destination for cocktails with intimacy of a home. The designed experience results in a challenge to merge part heritage and part modernity – a parallel to how we portray ourselves and our collective stories.
Worldly takes on traditional tavern fare are served in a vibrant setting that features a zinc bar and an open-hearth kitchen. Aptly named Mulberry Street Tavern for its Mulberry St. and 6th Ave. crossroads, this comfortable spot is reminiscent of the neighborhood staple where locals gather. Rich wood, warm red leather booths, and warm lighting make a cozy environment for an after-work drink that lingers into dinner and an eventual night-cap. The restaurant dining area features a hand-fired copper metal cookline visible from the Mulberry St. sidewalk, enticing the senses. The bar design also features additional crafted finishes with a wood and stained glass-back bar.
The new hotel guestrooms evoke a humble yet sophisticated design: simple, contemplative, unadorned confidence. Taking shape from former offices outlined by original terra cotta floor plates, the rooms are thoughtfully restrained and inspired by a midwestern heirloom piece: the armoire. Subtly aligning the bathroom entry using this heritage design element, the doorway opens to expose the grooming area as one’s own cabinet of curiosity, outfitted with marble hexagon tile flooring which harkens back to the building’s original tile. Money green, hand glazed wall tile in the glass-enclosed showers are another storytelling touchpoint. Completing the space, new larger windows transform each room into a portal, harnessing the sun-filled bathrooms to pour light into the guestrooms and highlight their city views, of which some overlook the county courthouse, another piece of Des Moines history.
DLR Group brought a unique blend of technical ability and entrepreneurial design spirit that we were looking for. We aimed to find a balance that provided awe-inspiring design with very rooted narrative that grew stronger over time. DLR Group interpreted this beautifully – a handsome, timeless design with a refreshing lightheartedness very true to Des Moines."