Arizona : Experiencing Frank Lloyd Wright’s Genius and Cactus Glory

One of the only existing luxury hotels in the world with a Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced design, The Arizona Biltmore has been an Arizona landmark since its opening in 1929 when it was crowned “The Jewel of the Desert.” The resort was designed by Albert Chase McArthur, a Harvard graduate, who had studied under Frank Lloyd Wright from 1907 – 1909 in Chicago.
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to stay in the resort for a seminar on Interior Design Business Practices. I was wowed by the distinguished hotel, which is stamped by the unique design touches of Wright and the geometrical fascination he applied to patterns and architecture. Nature is always a central element in his creations, and the building’s openness to the exterior is immediately evident.
The resort carries in its walls the quiet and invisible weight of famous past visitors and guests, extending a definite glamorous feel to one’s stay: Marilyn Monroe, Irving Berlin, JFK, Clark Gable, Liza Minnelli, Ronald Reagan are a few of the prestigious visitors who stayed at the Arizona Biltmore.
Below, outdoor and indoor views of the resort. Photo credits: Barbara Elza Hirsch.
Arizona Biltmore- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza
Arizona Biltmore Hotel- Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza
Beautiful gardens and terraces surround the block like concrete pavilions of the Arizona Biltmore.
Arizona Biltmore Hotel-Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaArizona Biltmore Hotel Terrace-Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAeizona Biltmore Hotel Lobby-Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaArizona Biltmore Door Detail- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaUnusual juxtapositions of glass and concrete, velvet and carpeting enhance the unusual spaces of the Wright-inspired Arizona Biltmore Hotel.
Gleaming ceilings-Arizona Biltmore Hotel- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaArizona Biltmore Hotel Sitting area- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaWright Glass Art Mural at the Arizona Biltmore- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaNote the repetitive palm leaf motif carved and repeated throughout the resort. This motif surrounds a stunning glass mural work by Frank Lloyd Wright entitled “Saguaro Forms and Cactus Flowers”
Arizona Biltmore Hotel Sitting area- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaStunning ceiling fixture in one of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel's restaurants. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaGorgeous chandelier and ceiling detail bring the eye up in this Arizona Biltmore Hotel dining area.
I was in Phoenix mostly for work but was able to escape to the Desert Botanical Garden with my designer friend and colleague, Richard Rabel.
Cactus glory comes to mind and I was truly awed by the landscapes and local plants and fauna. I had never been out West so this was really a treat! The Chihuly exhibit was being installed while we were there so I was able to catch a few interesting exhibits in the making, with stunning glass sculptures arranged next to grandiose plants.
Chihuly-Blue thistle like glass sculpture at the Desert Botanical Garden- Photo credit Barbara  Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit : Barbara Elza Hirsch
Chihuly-Yellow sculpture at the Desert Botanical Garden- Photo credit Barbara  Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit : Barbara Elza Hirsch
Me in the garden- Chez ElzaRampant Cactus at the Desert Botanical Garden- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez elzaDesert Botanical Garden- Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit : Barbara Elza Hirsch
Hope you enjoyed this slice of design and sun from Arizona!

1-New Orleans: Architecture, its Crown Jewel

I am back after a formidable blogtourNOLA journey with the lovely Veronika Miller and an amazing group of designers/bloggers I had the pleasure of meeting.

I debated on what to share with you in this 1st chapter of my New Orleans adventure. I decided to begin with setting the scene. And what comes to mind is BEAUTY. Beautiful architecture abounds in this gorgeous city.

How can I even start to explain the beauty of New Orleans? There are no words, really.

We begin on a warm, muggy day in April 2013. Destination: The Garden District.

The Garden District was designated a national historical landmark in 1974. It is renowned for its beautiful 19th century mansions, some late Victorian homes and elaborate gardens. Greek revival, Spanish, French, British and Italian influences have come together to create an incredible architecture.

New Orleans Street Car on Charles Street- Photo: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaNew Orleans Street Car on Charles Street- Photo: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Click on link below for a little film I took of the ride from the streetcar:

Link to Film of BlogTourNola-StreetCar

It will give a sense of the laid back, green and lush vibe of this city.

NOLA Garden District -Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

NOLA Garden District -Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

NOLA Garden District -Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

NOLA Garden District -Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

NOLA Garden District -Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

NOLA Garden District -Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

NOLA Garden District -Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

NOLA Garden District -Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

NOLA Garden District -Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

NOLA Garden District -Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

NOLA Garden District -Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

NOLA Garden District -Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

NOLA Garden District -Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza


At this point, I imagine and hope your are rendered speechless. Good! This is truly a trip I recommend!  Be sure to follow my blog posts on new Orleans over the next few weeks. A bientôt, les amis!