Toronto-based interior design firm Mason Studio encapsulates the US capital’s cultural codes in new Washington, DC hotel, the Kimpton Banneker. The hotel, named after Black innovator Benjamin Banneker, displays artwork from BIPOC creators throughout an interior that celebrates local art and history.
Mason Studio was keen to assure the hotel’s position as a platform for local artists by situating artwork as it would be placed in a gallery, encouraging an in-depth appreciation. The curation encompasses work from artists including Aziza Claudia Gibson-Hunter, co-founding member of Black Artists of DC, as well as Patty Carroll, Susana Raab and Lori Katz. In the lobby, key pieces include an abstract portrait of Banneker by Rob Matthews, which is joined by an abstract mural from Nigerian-American artist Victor Ekpuk.
In other areas of the hotel, the history of the city is interpreted in understated design accents. Former first lady Claudia Alta Johnson’s support of Washington, DC’s arts and culture scene is reflected in the lounge and bar with a thoughtfully curated selection of furnishings and objects. The city’s official bird, the wood thrush, is referenced in birds’ wings and patterns incorporated in the design and murals throughout.
Mason Studio considered the architectural elements of the hotel in its interior design approach, with a graduated use of materials, including fabrics, leather, wood and stone, guiding guests from communal to more private spaces. The lighting, too, changes from light to dark as guests make their way through the hotel, making an ambient foil for natural materials in a gradient of darker hues.
The project marks the second time Mason Studio has partnered with Kimpton Hotels, following Toronto’s Kimpton St George hotel.
It is the latest addition in an eclectic portfolio from the interior design company, with past projects including retail, luxury hospitality, and experimental exhibitions.
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Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.
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