For most projects, a design brief to create a comfortable space for guests to meet would be fairly easy. But that wasn't the case for the Marriott Marco Island lobby lounge. "Defining the typical guest proved to be a challenge in and of itself," explains Malcolm Berg, president of Edge of Architecture (EoA), who was charged with the renovation. "The property is a resort hotel with a very successful convention component, so the typical client is anything but."
With that in mind, he and his team designed a multifaceted space that could accommodate a wide array of guests. The bar was doubled in capacity and relocated to the far end of the room to provide an acoustical buffer to the registration areas. The space was enlarged to provide more views of the main pool and firepit, and the Gulf Coast on the horizon. And there’s a custom jellyfish tank that entertains children during the day and adds a cool backdrop at night.
"We were asked to incorporate an aquarium into our design, and we decided that the aquarium should be the focal point through the openings into the lounge, from both the registration and lobby areas, and that it should denote an easily identifiable place to meet," Berg explains. "To this end we placed the aquarium in the converging path of both main entries and designed a circular banquette as its base. We decided that it should showcase something regional yet unexpected; we figured alligators and man-o-wars might provide some setbacks, but diaphanous Moon Jellyfish fit the bill."
Elsewhere, materials inspired by an upscale beachfront palette abound—from the end-grained hardwood flooring chosen for its sandy appearance, to the communal tables topped with an espresso brown stone with copper veining that were organized in a plan to emulate scattered logs washed up on the beach, and the backlit honey onyx bartop, selected to create a glow reminiscent of the Gulf Coast sunsets. "The entire palette was meant to have an understated feel to it, to be subtle yet impactful in its accents and vignettes," he says.
Yet the highlight of the space: the lit wooden ceiling ribs, each independently internally lit. As Berg explains: "Marco Island is basically flanked by two bodies of water: the Gulf on one side and the Everglades on the other. Both are stunning for different reasons—the Gulf coast for its sunsets, for its endless expanse of horizon and seamless beachfront canvas; and the Everglades for its mystical marshes, ethereal grasses, and rooted mangroves perfectly reflected on the impeccably still waters.
"[The ribs] were designed to statically emulate a sense of motion, as do the mangrove roots, or a snapshot of a breaking wave. The reflection in the back wall was intended to speak of the water's surface tension, of the mangroves' tenacity as they break the water's surface and span between two worlds."
-- Nielsen Business Media