Guenther suggested Ketra lighting as a possibility from the very start. Having struggled in the past to find the right technology that would enable light to look precisely the way they wanted it, Strauss and the Lore Group were immediately on board after a demonstration. The lower level’s tall windows with an open eastern exposure meant that precise tuning of both the color and intensity of the lighting was a must to properly illuminate a space that would be active both during the day and well into the night.
At the same time, Guenther knew that the lighting could accommodate the project’s mandates for authenticity and minimal damage to the existing walls and ceilings. Ketra’s lamps were installed in the decorative and portable light fixtures that the interior design team had selected. And Ketra’s ability to offer full wireless control over both the fixed and portable lighting meant that Guenther did not have to tear up the plaster ceilings to run cabling. For further ambiance, the showpiece custom chandelier could be lit with a soft glow, and architectural lighting with PAR 30 Ketra lamps were an easy solution where recessed lighting didn’t work.
In addition to flexible, perfectly tuned lighting to set the mood, Strauss ensured a feeling of authenticity by embracing, not correcting, some of the space’s imperfections. When demolition work uncovered the bank’s original vault, it became part of the story. Invoking a touch of wry irony, the space looks like bank robbers just ripped the door from its hinges. Other playful moments that emphasize the massive scale of the place include a colossal gumball machine that holds 50,000 of the sweet treats, and a tall glass case holding an impressively large display of paper flowers handmade by a single artisan in the Ukraine. In a nod to the powerful women he felt were overlooked in D.C., a 9-foot plaster medallion of the goddess of funds, Juno Moneta, enlivens the lobby space, while the hotel’s four suites are named after First Ladies instead of Presidents.