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When Hyatt Regency Minneapolis approached Stonehill & Taylor to design their two stage renovation, it was due to their reputation for high quality design.
But Michael Suomi, principal and VP interior design at Stonehill & Taylor is also the founder of the Futuregreen Hospitality Forum and as such he was keen to introduce elements of sustainability within the design.
Phase 2 of the renovation is now complete, adding over 30,000 square feet of event space and an additional 112 new guestrooms including 54 high-end suites. Coming after 2012’s phase 1 which included the hotel's guestrooms, suites, public areas and restaurants, the result is a truly stunning hotel. Hyatt Regency Minneapolis now has the largest meeting and event space of any hotel in Minneapolis at 100,000 square feet, and is possibly the USA’s largest hotel made with locally-sourced materials.
“We are excited to unveil a second round of multi-million dollar enhancements that reflect the unique heritage of Minnesota,” said Mark Becker, general manager, Hyatt Regency Minneapolis.
Gary Dollens, Global Head of Product and Brand Development at Hyatt, added, “It was important for the Hyatt Regency brand to create a strong sense of Minnesotan identity and culture at this hotel. Through sourcing for materials within a 500-mile radius, jobs were created for the regional community while giving the hotel a local soul and heartbeat,”
Suomi is thrilled that Hyatt came on board with his suggestion. "We are proud to have completed a project of this size and aesthetic quality with the majority of it made in North America," he said. “We didn’t just want to evoke localisation through décor and culinary choices. We wanted to show that we can in fact have our hotel work make a difference by maximising impact on the local economy and minimizing environmental footprint.”
The renovation ended up on budget and without a premium as a result of using goods made locally for the majority of the project. This was possible through committed bidding locally and overseas. "We wanted each piece to be a reminder of resources available to us here in this country, especially within the state of Minnesota,” said Suomi. “Our main goal for the design was to create a beautiful hotel that is socially sustainable, thus supporting the local economy and jobs,” he said.
As a result he estimates that 81% of dollars across the two phases were spent in North America and Canada. The tight schedule for the renovation helped push the local agenda because time impacts were kept to a minimum by sourcing local products and materials.
The design team, together with purchasing agents The Stroud Group, worked hard in developing new products with local manufacturers to meet the design criteria. “Our work is the result of our tireless search for superior materials, furniture and decorative items from the region that fit our design vision,” they said.
The pieces chosen represent the best of local craftsmanship, while giving the design a sophisticated, artistic edge. This includes:
- Approximately 80 percent of the furniture, fixtures and equipment produced in the U.S. and Canada.
- Locally sourced design elements include products from some of the oldest local companies—with an emphasis on surrounding 500-mile radius.
- Companies like Red Wing Stoneware were selected for the hotel’s guestroom accessories. Stone, from a nearby quarry, was used in the bathroom counter tops and purchased from Coldspring Granite, a 115 year old Minnesota company.
- North American craftsmen were used to create custom, statement-making pieces. The ceiling-high stone fireplace in the lobby framed by rustic wooden logs was created by artisans in the Northeast, similar to another unique lobby element - a giant log with three seats carved into it with Scandinavian-style seatbacks.
- A luxurious bar, made locally of 13-foot tall walnut and mirrored panels, is the centerpiece of the new Prairie Kitchen & Bar.
- Guestroom furniture including high-end leather chairs and modern walnut desks in the mid-century Scandinavian style were also produced in the U.S. Each room includes leather headboards, luxurious linens and window coverings, and plush navy blue carpeting.
- The guestrooms feature striking original works by local artists, including an image of the iconic Gold Medal Flour building overlooking the Mississippi River by Mat Ollig; a dark blue and white aerial view of Minneapolis by Dennis Ekstedt; a modern rendering of Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman by Mark Khaisman (who used Minnesota-based 3M masking tape as his medium for the piece); and pieces by Rosemary Dumar in the corridors with a conceptual take on Minnesota’s natural geography.
Design choices complete the local story while paying homage to the history of manufacturing in the state of Minnesota. The local heritage is further celebrated by references to the Scandinavian roots of many of the area’s residents – from antique Nordic cooking tools displayed in the restaurant area to the Scandinavian design-inspired furniture.
Suomi says, “We took a unique approach to creating a design that would support local businesses. We wanted it to be reflective of the culture and industrial history of Minneapolis and the surrounding area.”
When they commissioned the artwork for the hotel, Stonehill & Taylor had some criteria that needed to be met. “The artists had to come from the area, they had to use materials that represented the industries of Minnesota and that included iron ore, trees and logging, grain and flour, wool from sheep and 3M tape because the local 3M company which had a history in mining has a strong connection with the region. We asked that two of the three criteria be met for all the artworks,” Suomi says.
Consequently as well as the portrait made from 3M tape, a key artwork map of the local area was made using thread and Post-It notes.
Suomi, who says he set up the Futuregreen Hospitality Forum as a response to feeling that sustainability should be a priority for design in hospitality, is impressed with the Hyatt Regency’s approach to the renovation. “They loved the ‘made in America’ approach and really embraced it,” he says, “Hyatt has spoken about how pleased they’ve been with the renovation, and we’re happy to have been involved with such a striking project.”
Hyatt Regency’s focus on environmental sustainability is a core pillar of their global corporate responsibility platform, Hyatt Thrive. Recognising the environmental impact associated with theirhotels, Hyatt has made a strong, focused commitment to implement more sustainable business practices across theiroperations.