Wednesday 03 Aug 2011


Famed Hilton Anatole Atrium Reopens with Fresh Energy, Identity

The project reinvigorates the 1970s-era atrium and presents two original food and beverage concepts while showcasing new and existing works of art.

EDG Interior Architecture + Design (EDG) has re-imagined the soaring, 31,000-square-foot Atrium II, creating a park-like Asian garden with an elegant, kinetic sculpture suspended overhead. The new design pays homage to the hotel's priceless Asian art collection and to the atrium's history as one of Dallas's top entertaining spaces.

When the Anatole's ownership and operations team approached EDG in 2008, their Request for Proposals focused on remodeling seven food and beverage outlets within the convention center hotel--five of them within the original atrium. The firm's response emphasized energizing and updating the atrium space itself.

"Atrium II looked dated and was functioning like a corridor to all of the property's newer amenities," said Jennifer Johanson, EDG's design principal. "We felt that the atrium space had to be worth savoring."

Her team's design features a lush landscaping, a 160-foot reflecting pool, new seating areas with comfortable teak furnishings, and a modern tea pavilion for meetings and private events. Two compelling food and beverage outlets are located at the perimeter of the garden. The Jade Room, formerly a private meeting room, now functions as an exterior entry portal to the atrium, showcasing original hotel developers Margaret and Trammel Crow's collection.

Realizing that the 110-high-atrium needed something spectacular to draw people in, EDG orchestrated a design competition to commission a kinetic sculptor. Bay Area artist Ruben Margolin, who submitted designs for a geometric mechanism inspired by the fluidity of nature, was chosen. His multi-tiered structure, called Nebula, is constructed of 10 miles of aircraft cable, 1780 pulleys, and more than 4500 amber crystals that float in a wavelike dance.

"Reuben's sculpture creates a truly engaging sense of motion and change within the monumental space," says Johanson. "The hotel's developers, the Crow family, have always had a high regard for art, and this contemporary piece embodies the Anatole's rebirth."

EDG worked with Crow Holdings and Hilton Anatole to develop the two food and beverage concepts, consolidated from the originally planned five. Media Grill + Bar offers a media-centered and/or sports experience for the hotel's many business travelers, with state-of-the-art, interactive technology and television screens. Counter Offer, a "grab and go" concept, is an all-day outlet that transitions into a wine bar in the evening. Counter Offer is crafted from stone, wood and metal to mesh with the surrounding garden.

Atrium II's new design is strategically planned to give the Hilton Anatole a renewed sense of identity and energy. Rather than focusing exclusively on food and beverage design, the project invests in the atrium while showcasing new and existing works of art. Compelling, sustainable food outlets are tucked off the main walkways, rather than at the center of the room. With the addition of Margolin's elegant and hypnotic sculpture, the atrium has become a dynamic, public space that may well get the Anatole "back on the bus tour," a goal to which Crow Holdings CEO Harlan Crow and his design team aspire.

Merriman Associates Architects of Dallas was the architect of record on the renovation. The Dallas office of Mesa Design Group was the landscape designer.

EDG Interior Architecture + Design