History Encapsulated at Omni Dallas Hotel & Convention Center
Newspapers, often considered an ordinary, universal object around the world, are one of the most extraordinary types of documentation of life and society. There are few mediums that can physically capture a tragic moment, a joyful celebration, or a life-changing event in a style that relates to people of all ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic groups on a daily basis. It’s an experience for the senses: the smell of fresh ink, the rough pulp of the paper against fingertips, the crinkle sound as a page is turned, and the colorful images carefully placed in each article. There are no “back” buttons or “clear history” tabs; newspapers are permanent.
The project designers for the Omni Dallas Hotel & Convention Center recognized the innate potential of these historical documents when they chose to utilize newspapers as a primary design element in the sports bar floor, allowing the traditional memories of Dallas sports teams to bleed into the contemporary atmosphere of the chic hotel.
At first glance, juxtaposing vintage articles against sleek furnishings may appear contradictory, but actually embodies the true meaning of Dallas: contrast. “Dallas is blue jeans and ball gowns. Dallas is entrepreneurial, and Dallas is industrial. Dallas has so many contrasts,” describes Reggi Nichols, founder of Waldrop + Nichols Studio. Recognizing the importance of contrast in the hotel’s interior design, the project team enlisted the help of GPI Design to transform the theme from a broad idea into a striking reality at the sports bar flooring treatment.
Diverging from the sepili wood, antique bronze, and white leather found throughout the lobby area, twenty one enlarged newspaper articles about Dallas athletic victories summon guests to the entrance of the hotel’s sports bar. GPI Design worked with the Waldrop + Nichols team and Lang Lighting Design to create an integrated backlit floor system that could give a new life to the historic articles. While the printed articles appear encapsulated and preserved within the glass, only after the panels are illuminated from behind are the memories of Dallas sports history truly celebrated.
Though the newspaper panels were designed to function as floor tiles, the installation has become one of many art pieces within the Omni hotel. Over 7,000 original pieces of art crafted by local Dallas and Fort Worth artists adorn the walls of guest rooms and major public spaces, allowing the lobby areas to function as both a museum and a hotel. Scott Lowe, the project’s interior architect, has observed that “people are coming to just walk around and look at the art.” It’s not surprising – as designers strive to foster a relationship between modern design and historic culture, the Dallas backlit floor can serve as a prime example that it’s possible to cherish the past in a contemporary style.