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5.6.07

sneak peek: uwishunu

yesterday i heard from caroline at uwishunu, a new group created by the tourism board in philadelphia. focusing on the "unconventional assets in philadelphia" that are attracting a "new" kind of visitor to the city, uwishunu decided to redesign a single room (room 414) within the westin hotel. the theme of the room was "hip philadelphia" and the goal was to showcase local philadelphia artists and designers (rj thornburg and eileen tognini were the main designers for the project). normally i'm a little skeptical of anything coming from a tourism board but i'll have to say- the room is pretty cool. there's a whole lot of woodgrain and some really beautiful metallic detailing in the tile and hardware. what i love most about this project is that the city really gave local designers free reign to do what they wanted with the room. it's not often that you see local talent supported and showcased in that way so it was fun to see how they chose to express "philadelphia style". you can see full sized (and additional) photos of the hotel room right here or browse below for a quick peek. thanks to caroline for sending this along and thank you to jason smith for sharing his photography with d*s [all photos are by jason smith for uwishunu].

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19 Comments:

Anonymous jill said...

the finger and the hands are scaring me! i think someone is living in my walls! :)

9:38 AM  
Anonymous dahlia said...

Can you elaborate on your comment stating, "normally i'm a little skeptical of anything coming from a tourism board "?

9:39 AM  
Blogger design*sponge said...

dahlia

gladly. i get a dozen or so emails a day from various tourism boards (abroad and at home) promoting design-based projects. often, after reading through press releases i find that the local artists being promoted actually had to take a back seat to "big name" designers or to the wishes of a corporate sponsor. i find that they're often less about the artwork being created and more about the wishes of a marketing department.

however, i was happy to read the press release for this particular project. it seems as if these designers really had no restrictions at all and were free to do as they pleased. they were required to have a few features in the room (westin's trademarked "heavenly" beds and a flat screen tv) but for the most part it looks like they were left to their own devices, which i love.

sadly most projects i see from tourism boards aren't like this. i wish they were, so hopefully this one will set a good example.

d*s

9:55 AM  
Blogger talknpretty said...

ok, so unrelated... but about your "ask a designer" series: i would really love it if a future "ask a designer" featured YOU and specifically focused on starting a blog and writing about design in general. i'm beginning graduate school in the fall in design, which has a major writing component and would like to fulfill that requirement, in part, by starting a graphic design blog...so of course i have many questions i'm just dying to ask you...

10:19 AM  
Blogger design*sponge said...

talknpretty

i'd be happy to give any advice and tips i have if you shoot me an email (designsponge@gmail.com). i don't think most people reading want to here from me ;)

d*s

10:26 AM  
Anonymous uwishunu said...

Grace- you were right on that uwishunu gave the Philadelphia designers carte blanche to interpret Philadelphia as they pleased. uwishunu is all about authenticity!

We will include a booklet in the room that tells hotel guests how they can visit artists' studios & shops themselves-- our way of further promoting local Philadelphians.

Thanks for your interest!
-Caroline from the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp & uwishunu.com

11:23 AM  
Anonymous dahlia said...

Thanks d*s.

11:37 AM  
Blogger mollie said...

that's some brilliant work. I love the tongue-in-cheek quality.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Cajsa said...

Oh wow! Love the metal body parts peeking out here and there, reminds me of a Swedish jewellry brand (www.dadasdiamonds.se - hint!).

And the tree pillow is very nice too, love soft things in the shape of something naturally hard ; )

12:03 PM  
Blogger sherry said...

I used to live in Fairmount and now we live across the river...anyway, I love this room! So, not the Philadelphia I know.
sherry
http://sosherry.blogspot.com
sherrytruitt.etsy.com

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Wyoming Quinn said...

I love it! Is it possible to find out about the wood grain fabric used on the chair and pillow?
thanks!
Wyoming

12:33 PM  
Blogger kcdesign said...

I appreciate the level of creativity here, but don't think I would be able to fall asleep - would constantly be thinking I was in a Tim Burton film or something. But, I'm neither young, not hip, so perhaps the lapse is mine.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous snarkbait said...

those pull my finger knobs are awesome!!

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where can I get a finger? i want many fingers in my place. Thanks, Susan

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Errin said...

Hi all. I'm Errin, the program director of uwishunu who helped coordinate the makeover at the Westin. Many of you have asked how to get more information on specific pieces in the room. Just email our curator, Eileen Tognini, at eileen.tognini@verizon.net. She'll point you in the right direction and/or hook you up directly with the artist. Thanks for all the great comments about the room, by the way. It was an absolute blast to work on! A joy!

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

I just stayed in the Philly Westin Sunday night, but sadly was on the 9th floor and had no idea of the wonders to be found in Rm. 414.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Literanista said...

"Uwishunu" I love the name, but that finger pull is freaking me out!

12:12 PM  
Anonymous RJ @ bahdeebahdu said...

This is all very new to me, the blogging, etc. I must thank all of you for your comments, both wonderful and indifferent as they inform me as an interior designer. Nothing makes me happier than to give someone a real experience in an environment even if there are subtle controversies...it gets remembered and talked about, apparently a lot more than I have known.

2:47 PM  
Anonymous Daniel Sroka said...

The hands coming out of the wall remind me of the wonderfully imaginative cinematography in Jean Cocteau's film "La Belle et la Bete". Specifically the scenes in the Beast's mansion, where the wall scones are in the shape of hands and arms holding candelabras, that follow you as you walk down the hall. Amazing.

2:12 PM  

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