An interview of Thomas with lots of photos!
When reinventing the dated Maxwell Hotel as the new Hotel Frank near Union Square in San Francisco, it seemed desirable to retain a sense of the hotel's history but to make it more appealing to business people or younger travelers seeking a hip, relaxing spa-like atmosphere.
One inspirational image was that of an early 20th century sporting club with its patrons dressed in tweedy houndstooth jackets. Thus, a large houndstooth design was chosen for the pervasive carpet which ties the entire hotel together.
Original art pieces were commissioned for each room portraying vintage athletes, though the images are cropped and displayed in large frames, as though to suggest that one is getting a partial glimpse into the past. The images and decor suggest that sports and comraderie are a time-honored tradition in this hotel.
An open floorplan and free standing bathtubs encourage a spa-like attitude that is playful and sensual. And yet the tub design also echoes the historic designs of yesteryear.
Some rooms even place an open tub in the living room near a window, for the height of luxury and a touch of decadence. The table shaped like a head is another whimsical gesture.
Combining historical periods in furniture design presents another way of putting a modern twist on tradition. These chairs merge the high culture of a Queen Ann wing chair with the casual ease of an outdoor Adirondak chair to create a new hybrid: the Adirondak Wing Chair. These chairs are featured in the conference room (seen here) and also in guest suites throughout the hotel.
Besides the art deco period, Schoos drew from mid-century modern era for design elements like these minimalist fireplaces and grouped hanging light fixtures. Like the 1910's and '20's, the 1950's were also famous for a country club vibe, though with a more modernist feel.
The overall effect is a room that is cool and hip, though with the luxury, quality and style of an exclusive club.