Designing a large space with many possible uses has a number of potential pitfalls that call for attention to balance. If it is too loud and bright, then people will find the sitting areas too harsh. When it is too plain and calm, the design may make guests feel bored or tired. The Courtyard Marriott in Summerville, SC strikes the right voice in its choices for colors, flooring and lighting. The result generates a sense of pleasure and engagement for anyone who sees it.
Visitors to this lobby do not need to stand in front of the fire to feel the true warmth of the space. It is everywhere, especially in the comforting, aged texture of the hardwood flooring and the wood cladding on walls and columns. Nothing in this design is harsh, from the dark lines of the tile work to the soft lighting that shines down. Seating is designed to match or compliment the woods, creating a straightforward, modern style that conveys both delight and ease. Guests can sit on the edge of an armless chair for a quick break, or join friends for a pleasant conversation. Warm tones of terra cotta catch the eye at various points, to instill that sense of a sunbaked enjoyment
On the ground floor of any commercial building, it is common to see a mixture of flooring types related to the function of that particular space. While hardwood flooring is ideal throughout, it is also useful to intersperse carpeting as a permanent flooring or in rug form, as well as tile. This design uses carpet, hardwood flooring and tile to create contrast and clearly define each area according to its use. The dark shades of the hardwood flooring make the yellow in the carpet pop all the more. The bright lightness and clean lines of the tile sets off the rich texture of the hardwood, and the wood balances the tile’s brightness with a matte appearance.
Gray, the current color du jour in all manner of residential and commercial spaces, needs something to make it truly stand out. Without a pop of color or the right shades, gray can come off as drab, dark or even plain. Enter yellow as a long-overlooked hue on the rise. Yellow is a color that speaks value to a space, in the form of gold or even brass. Cool yellows set off dark gray in the seating and carpeting of this space, making it clear that this is not merely an attempt to recreate the mid-century modern contrast of black and white. Rather, the yellow and gray take elements of shock and somber, pushing them together in an unforgettable combination.
Despite the comforting nature of the design, the color choices are definitely selected to grab the attention. Throughout the space, people can see very light, very dark and a hint of surprise around every corner. See the stained-glass patterns on walls down the hallway, with a mix of colors in warm and cool. Is that magenta next to caramel brown and sharkskin gray? It is. The combination of dark browns and grays of the flooring, with the whites and cream colors of the walls and ceiling, allow the eye to snatch a peep of color here and there. The effect is varied and joyful without being confusing or overstimulating.
Designing lighting effects for a space of this size and variation requires a great deal of care. Not enough lighting leaves guests stumbling around, looking for a place to find respite. Too much lighting, or an imbalance of lighting colors, styles and positions, can make even the darkest hardwood flooring appear washed out. Courtyard Marriott makes use of lighting that is functional and fashionable. Chandeliers with light bulbs pointed up and down turn an old concept literally on its head. Wall sconces show off the warmth of the wood cladding without blinding someone who pauses at the column for a moment of reflection. The balance of large, bright inset ceiling lights and smaller spotlights on tracks varies the view of the rooms by position, so that each perspective is new and interesting.
People who imagine yellow as mixing poorly with the cool brown or gray tones of hardwood flooring should take the opportunity to examine this space. Courtyard Marriott’s use of textured hardwood flooring and color contrast creates a curiosity that promotes a feeling of excitement as the eye wanders above and below. At the same time, every part is comfortable, exuding luxury and accessibility with every inch.