"I love the tension of modern and traditional," says designer Young Huh. For this particular passion, Huh could ask for no better project than the , a beachfront hotel on Turks & Caicos whose British Colonial-style setting Huh has been tasked with refreshing. "Grace Bay resorts purchased it last year, and their hope was to refurbish the property so it’s more contemporary and up to date but still retains that traditional feel and character of the property," says Huh. She's currently in the midst of a renovation that will span the restaurant, common areas, amenities spaces, private cottages, and some of the oceanfront towers.
One of the first statements she made? A 25-foot tile mural installed over the bar of the new restaurant—a spectacular, eye-catching centerpiece that boldly cements the hotel's new status as historic and fresh.
"We really love working with traditional architecture and making it more modern," says Huh. "The classic and the edgy. In this case, we kept the overall the architecture of the bar space, all of the gingerbread details of the molding, and then the idea was to really have clean, modern surfaces. We have Cambria countertops with really lovely movement, and we wanted a really great focal point, something that people would really see as they approached the restaurant."
To start, Huh took to her sketchbook, developing several concepts that incorporated the local flora in graphic ways. "I love the idea of doing a graphic background and then having flowers and leaves, the natural part, in the foreground," she explains. "My team and I collaged a number of different concepts and then put it together and created the artwork. By collaging, we were able to try a whole lot of different concepts."
After some back and forth with the owners, she settled on a pattern, and enlisted Bisazza to translate her drawings into a mosaic. "All Bisazza needed was a really hi-res digital file of the artwork," she says.
Bisazza translated this file into a detailed plan, and last month, Huh flew down to Turks & Caicos to see the finished pieces of the mosaic, which arrive in multiple sheets. "Each sheet is numbered," she explains. "So it’s like a big puzzle, and you get a diagram showing what sheet goes where." After doing a test "dry lay," the contractor and his team installed the mural in five days.
The result is a sure showstopper. "You approach the restaurant from the street, through a garden with moody lighting, and at the end you see this bar, so we wanted it to be bright and a welcoming kind of vista," says Huh.
Mission, we'd say, accomplished. And as for Huh, she's more than happy with the results. "It was so amazing to see it go from collage to actual scale," the designer marvels. "It’s a 25-foot bar and it's 6 feet high, so to actually see it in person was incredible. Just seeing something you’ve had in your head actually coming to life."
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