Install Insanity

When you’re a designer, installations tend to be the climatic triumph similar to what we image an inventor feels when he has just passed the brink of pushing his imagination to the limits, and then voila! Or maybe a racecar driver, going as fast a possible towards the finish line, rewarded by victory.

For those of you who are not familiar with the design process, the installation is only the small portion at the end of the job in which you can see the design actually take shape and come to fruition.  The majority of design work occurs in the years, months and weeks prior, carefully planning and evaluating all aspects, making sure every detail is in line.

The installation is the pièce de résistance where you see all the magic happen, where you and your clients finally get the glory – when it all pays off.  Our recent installation at The Sebastian – Vail, a fabulous hotel renovation project in the heart of the village in Vail, CO, was the epitome of this overwhelming sense of accomplishment.

This project began in January of 2010 with a team of designers, architects, contractors, project managers, marketing gurus, owners and hotel management having one common goal: turning the existing Vail Plaza Hotel into something MORE.    The interiors were typical to the region, lots of stained wood and brown leather.  Our mission was to go beyond the expected, and transform the property into a boutique hotel that exuded personality and character.  Oh, and did we mention that these changes had to be complete for the upcoming ski season?   From initial walkthrough to installation, we had roughly 9 months.

Because of the massive nature of the project, we separated the installations into phases.  The first areas installed included the front and back lobbies and the Market.  Our second installment included 100 hotel rooms, 38 private residence units (comprised of 138 actual rooms) and The Library.  And our final task was Block 16 Restaurant and Frost Bar.

Each installation had its nuances and hiccups…the lobbies and Market were installed hours before the official name change and ribbon cutting ceremony.  The guest rooms were installed just in time to welcome visitors for the high season.  The Library required the installation of thousands of books, with topics carefully chosen to reflect the interest of those staying at the hotel, arranged on two-story high shelving in two days.  Block 16 and Frost, were completed just in time for the holiday season!

In saying that, each installation had one thing in common.  Team work.  Each and every team member was committed to the fullest – from the top, all the way to the bottom.  People worked together to make the complicated, better.

As an example, our front and back lobby installation began at 9pm in effort to limit the disruption of current guests.  We worked all night and all hands were on deck!  Sales agents helped roll out the rugs.  Hotel staff unpacked boxes,  brought in items and helped dispose of the mess we were making.  The architect, electricians and painters helped unpack boxes, assemble tables, move our beautiful furnishings and then move them again.  Housekeeping dusted continuously.  Even the director of corporate finance participated!    To say the experience was a bit stressful would be an understatement, but in the end, it’s was all worth it – and then some.  The sense of accomplishment, the friendships formed and the lessons learned were invaluable.

While installations – especially those out of town – can consist of never-ending days, sleepless nights and hundreds of cups of coffee, the reward you feel when you see your creations come alive is a feeling that is indescribable!



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