Shinola Opens the New Shinola Hotel, a Showcase of American Design

The 129-room hotel, opened yesterday, offers fashionable digs in the heart of downtown Detroit.
shinola hotel interior design

Courtesy Nicole Franzen

Detroit has determined the way America looks and sounds as much as any city in the world, but for too long pilgrims on their way to nearby Cranbrook, or to the city’s Motown museum or secret Underground Resistance record store, have had limited options when it comes to fashionably resting their heads. This month, local manufacturer Shinola looks to change all that with its Shinola Hotel in the heart of downtown, opened January 2.

The result of a four-year partnership with real estate firm Bedrock Detroit, the project’s 138,000 square feet comprise two historic buildings and three new spaces. “The brand was built by the city and its people, so we pieced every aspect of the hotel together with Detroit in mind,” says Shinola’s creative director Daniel Caudill. He collaborated with the New York–based design firm Gachot Studios to transform the famed T.B. Rayl & Co. department store into a variety of social spaces, including a pink-and-black Evening Bar and the Living Room lounge, where scores of local artists have surrounded the original Deco staircase leading to upper guest floors with eye-popping new paintings and sculptures. The former Singer sewing machine factory nearby houses Andrew Carmellini’s southern Italian San Morello restaurant below more guest rooms. Two new infill buildings with retail spaces and additional sleeping quarters connect the two with a ground-up annex, accessed via a skybridge across an alleyway activated by the new Brakeman Beer Hall.

shinola hotel interior design

San Morello Courtesy Nicole Franzen

More than 120 guest rooms are spread throughout the five buildings in total, configured in over 50 different ways. “Instead of cutting up the rooms into standard boxes,” says Gachot Studios principal Christine Gachot, “we decided to embrace the irregularity of the existing buildings.” Unity instead comes via local materials and finishes, including Pewabic ceramics, decorative metals by Great Lakes Stainless, rock in the guest rooms from Booms Stone Company, and the hallways’ accents of Shinola Blue, inspired by a solitary paint chip Gachot found in the old Singer building. Even the snack bars are stocked with local beer and Shinola Cola. For a touch of west coast cool, Heath Ceramics created custom tableware that appears in the Living Room and arrives on call via room service, for when guests prefer to recline on Frette sheets while dining.

The rest is mostly Shinola. “The rooms feature our Runwell Desk Clocks and Power Strips,” says Caudill, “and an Alpaca throw blanket knit in Brooklyn in a custom stripe.” There’s also a new Runwell timepiece for employee uniforms. Guests can take one home from the inevitable gift shop, or rent a bike to hit up the boutique/community center Detroit is the New Black before retiring to the rooms to play current local legends like Moodyman and Adult. on—what else—a Shinola turntable. The city has never sounded better.

You may also enjoy “A New Installation in Washington, D.C. Plays with Color, Perspective, and Geometry.”

Categories: Hospitality Interiors, Interiors, Preservation