St. Louis, Missouri is synonymous with The Gateway Arch, world-class barbecue, blues music, and Soulard Market. Now, there’s yet another reason to visit with the recently revamped Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis with Cinder House, featuring South American-inspired cuisine by James Beard-award winning chef Gerard Craft, and two new lobby spaces on the first floor and eighth floor. Overseen by local firm R|5 Design Agency, (a subsidiary company of Casco Corporation), Casco+R|5, the design reflects Chef Craft’s vision (he worked closely with the design team) with a palette of warm and calming hues such as sand, light gray, and blue. “We love the connection that the design has to the city of Saint Louis,” says Manuela Macias, Design Manager. “You will not have better views in any other location in the city. The series of spaces that our team designed elevate the experience that the hotel has to offer. The integration of local designs aspects allows for guest to connect to the city and have a unique stay. These spaces were previously underutilized as they did not serve a specific purpose, the renovation allows for guests to have more spaces to explore as well as creating more options for event hosting opportunities.”
We sat down with Macias for a first-hand account of the redesign and don’t-miss design elements.
“For Cinder House, the hotel restaurant located on the corner of the 8th floor Sky lobby, we were inspired by Chef Craft’s cuisine. We wanted to create a space that complemented the food and created an inviting experience for guests. We chose materials and textures that referred to South American cuisine as well as the Chef’s commitment to culinary excellence and use of charred wood on the grill. For the 1st floor lobby and 8th floor Sky lobby, we wanted to highlight the city’s connection to the river. We focused on earth tones mixed with light jewel tones that bring a calming luxurious feel to the space.
The first part of the redesign of the Four Seasons Hotel in Saint Louis started in 2018 with Cinder House. Designed to complement the expansive views of downtown St. Louis, Cinder House’s design is a timeless, modern interior deeply rooted in South American and European aesthetics. Dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows allow guests to gaze at the city’s celebrated monuments, including The Gateway Arch, Mississippi Riverfront, Ead’s Bridge, and Laclede Landing. In addition to the interior scope, an exterior bar was added to enhance the rooftop experience. After the completion of the restaurant, the full 8th Floor Sky Lobby was added to the renovation scope. Four spatial zones were created to enhance the guest experience. The Fireside dining room allows for private events as well as an expansion of Cinder House when necessary. The center lounge provides a resting area with soft enticing furniture. The library provides a secluded relaxation area as well as a space for events, and finally the Top Golf Digital Swing Suite allows guests enjoy a golf game while on property. All these zones work independently while also allowing the opportunity to work as one cohesive space, giving the hotel maximum flexibly for events. Concurrently, our team worked on the design of the 1st Floor motor lobby. This area included the reception desk area, lounge, feature wall, concierge station, and contemplative garden. The intent for this space was to create a notable first impression of the hotel as well as an intimate and inviting lounge.
“From Cinder House we love the Amazonite quartzite originating from Brazil that was used in the bar. This is a unique piece that really pulls the design together and creates an impact. We also designed a custom étagère that divides the dining area from the lounge. This piece contains carefully curated items that create visual interest as well as provide a more private dining experience. The design of the 1st floor lobby was based on the connection to the Mississippi River, so creating a standout piece that would establish this link with the guests was a very important aspect of the design. For this, we closely worked with local artist Nikki Lemkemeier, who created a custom piece that represents the flow of the river. Each piece is handmade and painted with colors that seamlessly fit with the rest of the lobby design. This art piece sites on a backing of Golden Fossil limestone that represents the sands of the river. In the 1st floor and 8th floor we wanted a stone that complemented Cinder House but also had its own voice. For this we used Picasso quartzite obtained from Morruzzi. This stone has all the natural earth tones as well as the jewel tones we had in our palette. Stone selection is always a big part of our design process. Finding the perfect stone can completely change the feel of the space. We also worked with Kevin Barry Art Advisory, a team of advisors and artists that curate, create, and implement visual storytelling. They helped us with the selection of some of the items in the library such as painting and sculptures.”
“All the items on shelves were specially curated for the space. We carefully select each piece to makes sure they are part of the design story. We have books that belong to the chef, books purchased at secondhand stores, and a multitude of pieces that complement the design. We almost had to change the Amazonite stone due to lead time and delays. We had selected this stone from the very beginning and completely based our design palette on it. It was a stressful few days but we managed to get it.”
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