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Fire and Ice

Inspired by the Albertan landscape, JW Marriott ICE District is Edmonton’s first five-star hotel.

Edmonton, Alberta

Custom Experience

In the new JW Marriott ICE District, DIALOG was tasked with creating Edmonton’s first five-star hotel – one that would provide a transformative, luxury experience for guests as well as ICE District visitors. The design challenge was in interpreting the hotel’s complex program, which includes a lobby, lounges, guest reception and concierge area, restaurants and bars, gym, spa, event spaces, and guest suites. The final design balances these diverse spaces in a series of big and small moments – ones that span the public and private spheres to make all guests and visitors feel equally welcome. From ballrooms to guestrooms, pool to patios, each space has been thoughtfully designed to elevate the hotel to a five-star environment. Exquisite attention to materiality, custom designed furnishings throughout, lavish appointments, art, and nature all combine to create a one-of-a-kind experience where a spirit of generosity is front and centre.

A Land of Contrasts

From prairies to mountains, summer to winter, Alberta is a land of contrast. JW Marriott ICE District has been designed to reflect this diversity, exuding sophistication, strength, and a sense of pride in being Canadian, Albertan, and Edmontonian. Fire, ice and snow influenced the design of the space. The designers were inspired snow’s sculptural quality and liken the space's sculptural planes to depressions in snow. Receding areas are darker, often encased in darkened metallics, while forward surfaces are lighter and more reflective. Icy-blue marble floors juxtapose against towering vertical elements highlighted in glowing metal. Carpets emulate snow drifting across ice. On the walls, mica white pops against glimmering metal screens. Natural materials and neutral textiles provide depth and texture throughout the public spaces; while subdued Oilers’ blue and orange are used as accent colours – sure to make the hotel a hit amongst the city’s adoring sports fans.

From Public to Private

JW Marriott sits at the centre of ICE District and its hospitable ground floor encourages the public to enjoy the space pre-or-post game. The inviting central lobby lounge is enclosed by vertical fins, creating a sense of intimacy in the large space, while ample seating is arranged throughout, offering a variety of lounging options ranging from lively and public to more hushed and secretive. As guests move from the public to private realm, spaces become smaller and more intimate. Access to the guest reception, concierge, and guest suites are off to the side away from the action. Visual cues communicate that certain areas are accessible, while others are more private. Golden lattice work details are reminiscent of gates, and their placement at the entryways of the guest areas offer an intuitive form of wayfinding. The result, a hotel this is accessible to the public while offering privacy to overnight guests. In this way, the its very unlike other Canadian luxury properties because it’s part of the public realm and not exclusive to only those who can afford to stay there.

Project facts

Services: Interior Design; Architecture, with Hariri Pontarini; Structural Engineering, with Thornton Tomasetti
Owner: ICE District Joint Venture Inc.
Completion: Summer 2019
Program: lobby, lounges, guest reception and concierge area, three restaurants and bars, gym, spa, meeting and event spaces and ballrooms, and 346 guest suites
Operators: JW Marriott, Oliver and Bonacini Group (Kindred, Brevan, Alchemy and Lobby Bar), Archetype (gym)
Size: 384,000 sq ft | 35,675 sq m
Builder: Builder: PCL
Collaborators: Custom Carpets: Creative Matters Inc.; Custom Art: Moss & Lam, Crow Design; Art Consultant: Farm Boy