A bird's eye view of the lobby and loggia.

Applause: West End Revival

The Fairmont Washington, DC is a quintessential “Washington” spot—a stately, limestone-clad hotel with a venerable history located in fashionable West End. Now, a revitalization of the interiors has given this upscale hostelry a fresh look and an open, functional layout.

Spearheaded by ForrestPerkins, the makeover updated the lobby, where a central lounge flows into a loggia. “The goal was to energize the public spaces with a current, modern aesthetic,” says president and designer Deborah Lloyd Forrest. In its former state, a series of steps impeded movement through the lobby. Forrest and her team eliminated all but one step connecting the entry and reception to the lounge and the loggia, which opens out to a refurbished courtyard. Clusters of plush seating and an elliptical bar occupy the lounge, while a grand staircase beyond the bar ascends to a mezzanine that overlooks the lobby.

Creating a sense of intimacy within the spaces was critical, says Forrest, who accomplished this with area rugs and seating options ranging from wing chairs and ottomans to a huge, u-shaped banquette. Screens made of translucent resin squares embedded with gold, silver and copper leaf enclose the staircase and delineate the bar/lounge. 

A remarkable light installation above the lounge incorporates hanging geometric mixed-metal shapes and small, star-shaped lights. References to the nation’s capital crop up in handwoven rugs by Tai Ping that together form an abstracted map of the Potomac River by the entry, and in a brass-and-chrome display table with hand-painted Portuguese tiles depicting DC monuments and leaders. The original marble floors and limestone cladding are enhanced by walnut accents for a chic, sophisticated effect.

RENOVATION ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN: DEBORAH LLOYD FORREST, FASID, ISHC; LAWRENCE ADAMS, AIA; AMANDA JACKSON, RID; EMILY WOODS, AIA, ForrestPerkins, Washington DC. CONTRACTOR: Sigal Construction Corporation, Arlington, Virginia. PHOTOGRAPHY: VRX Studios.