The B+H CHIL Design team and five other firms worked with Aboriginal artists to design 18 guestrooms at Canada’s first Aboriginal boutique hotel – Skwáchays Lodge in Vancouver – on a pro bono basis. Each room features indigenous artwork including original carvings, blankets and paintings, centred on different themes.
The Lodge is part of the Vancouver Native Housing Society (VNHS) complex, which opened in 2012 with an art gallery, social housing units and 24 healing lodge suites. Originally designed to offer accommodation to out-of-town Aboriginal patients receiving treatment in Vancouver, 18 of the 24 suites were reconceived as hotel rooms in response to lower than expected demand for the healing lodge. The VNHS took this opportunity to transform the suites into unique showcases of First Nations art.
Collaborating with Clifton Fred, B+H CHIL Design created three distinct rooms at the Lodge – the first with a poem concept, the second with a Canadiana approach and the third with a collage feel. Working with Clifton, a Crow from the Tlingit Tribe, unique and functional guest spaces were created as complete expressions of his work and art. Using what was learned from Clifton’s journey and personal experiences, this knowledge was used to translate his pieces into wall murals, which included imagery and prose. Using complementary fabrics and furniture, each of the rooms reflected various perspectives of the relationships between man, nature and animals.