OZ Architecture Making Waves in Hotel and Restaurant Design

OZ recently completed the interior design and brand of Fisk & Co., at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Chicago. 

By Malorie Williamson

OZ Architecture has been at the forefront of design since 1964. With a team that includes architects, designers, strategists and artists, the firm is renowned for its major resort work such as in Steamboat and Vail but is less known for its smaller-scale restaurant and hotel design.

OZ’s practice areas reflect the diversity of its work, the breadth of its client base and depth of its understanding of a wide variety of project requirements. While the firm’s reach is wide, its focus remains the same: on a collaborative process with every client, no matter where the project takes them.

OZ has completed and is currently working on hotel/restaurant projects in Colorado. The firm has also branched out to Nashville at the Kimpton Aertson Hotel, as well as to Chicago at another Kimpton Hotel restaurant, Fisk & Co.

“In its 50+-year history, OZ Architecture has carved itself into the one of the country’s foremost hospitality and restaurant firms. Likely due to its proximity of the Colorado mountain resorts, the firm is sought after for its resort and hospitality expertise all over the country now,” stated Rebecca Stone, managing principal for OZ Architecture. “OZ has cultivated this expertise deliberately and as a result it is frequently tapped for resort and hospitality projects not just in Colorado, but all over the country.”

Hotel at 19th and Grant St.

OZ is leading the effort to convert Denver’s Historic Cathedral High School building into a new boutique hotel, developed by GFI Development Company.

Once owned by the Archdiocese, the school is being renovated and re-purposed for the new hotel while keeping the building’s heritage.

The design team plans to preserve the former gymnasium located across the alley mid-block on Logan Street and make it into a portion of the hotel. What is currently a parking lot just north of the gym will be transformed into a ground-up building to become a unique space for the local community to enjoy.

“Adaptive reuse such as this is the perfect way to retain Denver’s historic buildings during this period of unprecedented growth, while still creating the infrastructure we need as a city, including more hotel rooms,” said Stone. “The hotel is making good progress. Right now we are projecting construction will begin in late 2018 or early 2019.”

Magnolia Denver

Magnolia Denver

Denver’s rich history also drove the renovation of the 16,083-square-foot Magnolia Hotel located on 17th Street.

“The story of Magnolia Hotel begins with the purchase of its flagship location in Denver, home to the First National Bank of Colorado. By investing in this historic building, the Magnolia brand carries on its stewardship of iconic Denver architecture, ensuring that the city evolves without diminishing its rich history.

The lobby and Harry’s Bar at the Magnolia Hotel reveal a modernized design that tie together the spirit of today’s downtown Denver with its historic past. A wall installation featuring re-purposed deposit boxes creates a signature moment for travelers. The colors used in the lobby take guests back to the old west, as earth tones such as green and brass are used to take on the luxury look of old bank lobbies. These colors carry into “Harry’s” bar on the ground level as these spaces connect creating a free-flowing space.

OZ was also selected to design the interior remodel of Magnolia Houston’s hotel common spaces, lobby, bar and guest rooms. The property will join the Starwood Tribute Portfolio of amazing, yet independent hotels. OZ Architecture has a deep history working with Starwood and this experience with overlaying the brand standards onto a boutique property has been extremely smooth.

Hotel Teatro

Hotel Teatro

Still one of the most revered in downtown for its interiors, the restaurant renovation of Hotel Teatro was completed in 2014 by OZ. The 5,600-square-foot restaurant, The Nickel, includes a coffee bar/breakfast lounge. OZ redesigned the first floor of the hotel, reconfiguring the reception area/entry and repurposing space for the new restaurant concept.

“The whole concept with the project is old with new,” explained Darcey Vertuca with OZ. They wanted to showcase the old features of the building by highlighting the unique architecture.

The Nickel occupies a prime corner space with bright open windows, high ceilings, a zinc top bar tucked under the mezzanine and a fresh color palette of blues and pops of red. Small barrels used to age The Nickel’s signature hand-crafted cocktails are highlighted in the bar design.

Hotel Teatro remained open throughout the fast-track construction.

Henley Modern American Brasserie


Located in Nashville, Tennessee at the Kimpton Aertson Hotel, OZ designed the Henley restaurant to embody the progress of the roaring 20s. OZ worked with local makers to orchestrate the details that define the experience.

“Henley is rooted in the traditions of American regional cooking coupling timeless craftsmanship and progressive design. A story unfolds as guests travel through the restaurant; clean and refined at the front gradually transitioning to darker and more unexpected as diners travel to the back,” said Abigail Plonkey, director of brand experience design and associate principal at OZ Architecture.

The 4,875-square-foot restaurant includes a hidden door disguised as a bookcase where behind is a 6-person chef’s table named The Rabbit Hole. Only those who know about it through word-of-mouth are able to experience the 24-course meal.

Fisk & Co., Chicago’s Newest American Mussel and Beer Bar

Fisk and Co.

Most recently, the firm completed the interior design and brand of Fisk & Co., a new mussel and beer bar at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Chicago. The almost 3,000-square-foot restaurant opened on April 6 and pays homage to to the building’s former D.B. Fisk & Co. that served as the building’s local millinery and hat manufacturer from the early 1900s.

Like a lot of other projects OZ has been part of, the story of Fisk & Co. came together with the merge of old and new and subtle nautical nods.

Our goal is to create places that evoke and enhance an experience with details that tell a story; down to the menus, coasters, signage and experiential touch points,” said Plonkey.

“Through an aesthetic that incorporates the dynamic elements of a mussel – from the colors and texture, to the places and people that harvest the mussel, the result is an off-kilter nod to Belgium dining experience that doesn’t take itself too seriously,” said Plonkey. “Fisk & Co guests may never make the connection to the concept or ever know the mussel drove the design, but our goal is to create places that evoke and enhance an experience with details that tell a story, down to the menus, coasters, signage and experiential touch points.”

Photos courtesy of OZ Architecture

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