AC PortlandWill Speros • Photographhy by Benjamin Benschneider • July 12, 2017
Erupting with a European sensibility and wholly unique artwork, the AC Portland celebrates the legacy of the city across its 13 stories and 204 guestrooms. Locally based firm SERA Architects oversaw the execution of the eclectic design to ensure Portland was honored with affection and style, while incorporating the signatures of Marriott’s AC brand.
“We always want to be authentic with our design and respectfully represent the city and the goals of the brand,” explains SERA principal Lisa Zangerle. Because AC is art-centric, Zangerle “wanted to highlight the local craft culture of Portland.”
Behind the marble-clad front desk, for instance, a mural by Jason Prouty depicting a scene from German-American brewer Henry Weinhard’s Barrel Room offers a glimpse of the city’s history. The lobby also pays tribute to Portland’s coffee culture with an elaborate molded tree trunk crafted from welded aluminum that opens to reveal the onsite coffee concept. Subtle touches include a handpainted mural by Damien Gilley in the breakfast area that presents an abstracted view of the architecture in the surrounding neighborhood.
Even the lobby staircase, wrapped in floor-to-ceiling sandblast-etched glass totems (a tribute to the traditions of the indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest), acts as an art installation. The addition of pendant globe fixtures connects the ground floor and the lower level conference spaces, which receive a splash of color courtesy of a 10-foot-long sculpture by James Florschutz that is made of 6,000 redwood and cedar pencils.
The design also exudes a masculine aesthetic. “As we designed the entire hotel, we developed a metaphor for the hotel interiors as a tailored men’s suit—sharp, masculine, and impeccably detailed,” Zangerle says. Brass and bronze glass accents complement the lobby bar’s geometric panels where purple veining in the marble adds a luxe feel. “The bar is the sparkling cufflinks of the space,” she adds. In the adjacent lounge, fixtures, furniture, and materials balance the theme.
In the guestrooms, artwork sourced from a local photographer further establishes a sense of place, and bathrooms channel a European sensibility with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors clad with a linear, matrix-like design that create a dramatic dispersion of light and shadow as they open and close.
The art-focused hotel is “the talk of the town,” Zangerle points out, adding that “marrying the sophisticated European aesthetic with that of Portland was a wonderful opportunity.”