Dyer Brown’s reimagining of a 1960’s vintage building located in Boston’s vibrant Allston neighborhood transformed Studio Alston into a hip, boutique hotel. Originally a Ramada Inn, the converted 60,000-square-foot, 117-key hotel reflects the flourishing artist community in the rapidly expanding Allston neighborhood of Boston, Mass. The redesign included complete gut renovations of the first floor and basement, and collaborations with 21 local artists on original works for the lobby, guest rooms, and other spaces.
The desire of Dyer Brown’s development team to embrace the surrounding creative community inspired a design process that would involve local artists directly from the earliest stages. Colorful, dynamic artwork is integrated into every guest-facing feature, space and amenity. The guest experience begins with the view of the memorable, inspired façade finished in white with bold, asymmetric black lines and turquoise accent. The lobby in particular greets guests with a dramatic, eye-popping arrival experience: striking colors and patterns on the floor, ceilings, and large-scale sculptural installations mingle with chic, contemporary furnishings. A first-floor gallery is refreshed regularly with new local works. And particularly noteworthy, each guest room features an original mural by one of twelve contemporary artists – no two rooms are alike, so returning guests can enjoy a fresh experience with each visit.
The venue also features a 3,000-square-foot Havana-themed restaurant. The “art” and “Cuba” themes meet in the hotel courtyard, where Dyer Brown collaborated with a landscape designer to create a space that marries the hotel’s contemporary artistic outlook and the rustic warmth of the restaurant with twinkling lights, contemporary furniture and firepits. Cuba’s tropical setting drives the bright blue-and-green color scheme, supported by a secondary palette of raw woods and deep tobacco tones – an ideal mix for patrons enjoying ropa vieja and rum cocktails.
Dyer Brown sought to recreate visual cues that conjure an authentic Cuban experience. To evoke the endearing feel of Havana’s tattered, retro architecture, the design features a layered look: elements appear to have been applied at different times over a period of many years. Cuban floor tiles contrast with the raw concrete floor, while elements of patinaed metal and reclaimed wood form the bar, illuminated from above by mid-century-inspired pendants lighting. The layers evoke cultural elements such as cigars and cigar boxes, with rich tobacco tones and leather strapping on banquette seats for added warmth. This palette is blended seamlessly with the tropical motif, evinced with lush blues and greens, woven wicker pendants in the dining room, and a soft-focus tropical mural splashed across the back wall of a semi-private dining room. For the adjacent exterior courtyard, Dyer Brown specified fire-pits and overhead runs of whimsical twinkle lights, contributing a warm, tropical flair for the 106 seasonally available additional seats.