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!

Crushing on the Eventi Hotel Design in New York

When Brizo invited a bunch of designers and bloggers for Fashion Week, they chose to lodge us in a hotel they have grown fond of over the years: the Eventi Hotel in Chelsea.

I can see why. As soon as you arrive, you know this is an unusual space. Glorious and over the top decor surprises you in the shared spaces of the hotel, part of the Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group. In 1981, Bill Kimpton pioneered the boutique hotel concept in the United States. His idea was to create welcoming and stylish spaces for guests. Thus was born the Kimpton Concept.

Without further ado, let me present the brilliant Eventi Hotel:

Photo courtesy Jayme Thornton.

The lobby’s dramatic entrance with velvet drapes revealing a hidden painting. Eventi Hotel photo Elza B. Design.

Brizo FW-2013 073Lobby photographed by Elza B. Design. Eventi Hotel.

 Brizo FW-2013 016Lobby photographed by Elza B. Design. Eventi Hotel.

Allow me to walk you to the 2nd floor, home to the lounge and dining area, a 60’s/70’s  inspired space with over-sized lighting and a disco vibe :

Brizo FW-2013 046.copyLounge area Eventi Hotel. Photo Elza B. Design.

Brizo FW-2013 042Heron statues greet you in the lounge area. One of the dining area hostesses thought I was crazy photographing all the spaces. They are sooo ugly, said she

Brizo FW-2013 031Lounge area abuts the heated patio. Photo Elza B. Design.

Brizo FW-2013 114Heated patio. Photos Elza B. Design.

Brizo FW-2013 347Brizo FW-2013 0924th floor common area with art by Barbara Nessim. Elza B. Design photo.

4th floor meeting area . Elza B. Design photo.

Glorious view of New York from top floor of Eventi. Photo Elza B. Design.

I am curious what you take away from this post. Did you enjoy the spaces? They are not for everyone, however, I found them well suited for the Chelsea neighborhood vibe. Would I decorate my house this way? No. But who wants a stay away that looks like home? Hotel spaces are unique. They are meant to intrigue and transport you.

I am not ready to forget this fabulous hotel design. Eventi’s sense of scale, color and grandiosity nurtured me and left me feeling inspired and energized.

I left New York with a big smile and creative sparks popping inside my coat pockets…