Client: Marcus Hotels & Resorts
Location: Milwaukee, WI, United States
Completion date: 2019
Alejandro Huertas Rivera
Marcus Hotels & Resorts
Linda Marcus Design
Saint Kate—The Arts Hotel with interiors designed by Stonehill Taylor is one of the first in the US to showcase regional national and international artists as well as performing and fine arts. Drawing inspiration from Saint Catherine, the patron of the arts, the hotel embodies art. Stonehill Taylor collaborated with Marcus Hotels & Resorts, Linda Marcus Design, and One Design Company to blend Milwaukee’s renowned arts institutions and cultural heritage into a creatively bold hotel. Stonehill Taylor combined rich materials with elegant finishes in the hotel’s lobby which includes, a central bar and lounge, with two areas that transform to accommodate pop-up performances. Guests have access to 3 art galleries from the Museum of Wisconsin, as well as the “Gallery” and “The Space.” Guests can also attend performances in the Arc Theatre, a fully tech-capable, 95-seat black box theater. The hotel’s F & B program offers numerous options: the Aria Café & Bar; the Giggly Champagne & Wine Bar; and The Dark Room, a moody speakeasy environment doused in deep red and dark woods. The guest rooms at the hotel nod to the artist’s mind at work with tonal moiré pattern, charcoal wallcoverings and photographers’ floor lamps.
The entire concept of this hotel is the appreciation of the visual and performing arts. Pieces weren’t commissioned with a specific theme or visual in mind. Instead, artists were only given the direction to create artworks for very specific locations within the hotel: for example, the sculpture by Caroline Latham-Steifel that hangs in the domed area between the lobby and the art galleries, the three paintings that continue out onto the wall of the lobby’s ADA ramp by Tyanna Buie, the welcome mat patrons walk on at check-in by Paul Druecke, the two blown-glass pieces that light up both sides of the stairwell by Beth Lipman as guests begin their climb to encounter Jason Yi’s organic, amorphous foam sculpture that sits in a corner between the first and second floors. A standout of the Saint Kate is the collection of five “Canvas Rooms,” which are one-of-a-kind suites created by different local artists – John Grant, Lon Michels, Rosemary Ollison, Reed Skocz, and the This Time Tomorrow Foundation. Each of the artists was given the room as a blank slate, and they were able to make lively pieces of art for guests to explore.
For the artworks in the lobby and guest rooms, Linda Marcus, art director for the project, selected a dozen artists, coordinating with Stonehill Taylor. In the guest rooms, Stonehill Taylor worked with Linda Lindner on handmade shower tiles, Daniel Chung and the Kohler company on one-of-a-kind bathroom sinks, Todd Mrozinski on a drawing hidden inside the closet, Christianne Grauert on a bed scarf, Ashley Town on the printed bedside lampshades and Niki Johnson on the eraser-shaped bathroom soap. Saint Kate collaborated with Wisconsin artists to create five fully immersive guest rooms known as “Canvas Rooms.” For Lon Michels’ Leopard Room, the artist wanted to repurpose existing furniture from the original property, so the Stonehill Taylor team assisted him with determining which pieces were durable enough to be refinished and would fit into the new layout seamlessly. For things like the carpet and drapery, Lon’s team sent Stonehill Taylor imagery of their leopard pattern and then the design team worked with manufacturers to select the right fabric and colors to bring Lon’s vision to life.
Located in the heart of Milwaukee’s theater and entertainment district, Saint Kate blends exceptional hospitality with artistic expression. Saint Kate’s motto, “invite participation and expect change,” challenges visitors to keep an open mind, embrace change, and evolve as individuals. The 219-room arts destination features five unique culinary experiences, a 95-seat black-box theater for rotating performances, multiple gallery and exhibition spaces and 11,597-square-feet of flexible meeting and event space. Saint Kate is within walking distance of notable arts attractions in Milwaukee’s entertainment district, the Third Ward and the Fiserv Forum. Russell Bowman, former director of the Milwaukee Art Museum and founding art advisor of Sculpture Milwaukee; Linda Marcus, nationally recognized multidisciplinary artist and art director for the project; along with Saint Kate Curator Maureen Ragalie, formerly of the David Zwirner Gallery and Cristin Tierney Gallery in New York, oversaw the development of the hotel’s permanent art collection and special exhibitions, including over 125 works by artists influential in contemporary art.