Located in Santa Monica, CA, the Shore Hotel, replaces two aging oceanfront motels with a modern, 90,000-square-foot, four-level hotel with 164 stylishly appointed guestrooms. As guests enter the hotel, they are presented with a signature lobby design that draws from the surrounding environment, highlighted by walls of Indian sandstone with a hand-crafted wave pattern.

According to Fong Liu, Senior Associate at Gensler, the design inspiration for the project “drew from the property’s location, where the oceanfront landscape meets the unique urban fabric of Santa Monica.”

Additionally, to increase pedestrian activity and provide urban continuity, the hotel has its retail spaces and main lobby placed along the street. “An outdoor urban living room blurs the sidewalk and hotel,” Liu said. “It overlooks the public park and the Pacific Ocean beyond.” Liu added that another integral part of the design for this LEED Gold-certified hotel was sustainability.

The owners of the project worked closely with the architects during the selection process. “The client was very involved in the selection process,” Liu explained. “The budget, constructability and longevity of the product were major concerns. By keeping the big design concept of blurring the city of Santa Monica natural landscape into the hotel lobby, the hand-carved stone panels were selected by the owner and design team.”

Natural stone was used throughout the entire hotel lobby. Prior to deciding on the stone that would be used for the space, the project team considered using sedimentary concrete but found natural stone to be a better fit. Jade White sandstone with a hand-crafted wave pattern is employed for the lobby walls. The material was supplied by Southland Stone USA of North Hollywood, CA.

The “Wave Stone” panels measure 24 x 24 x 1 ¼ inches. The stone panels for the vertical surfaces were mechanically anchored to the wall. This method was chosen for two reasons, according to Michael Laenger of City Tile & Stone Tile Inc. the general contractor for the project. In addition to being able to handle the weight of the panels, mechanical anchoring suited the unique nature of the pieces. The use of an open joint design served to meet the challenge of lining up the unique texture and pattern of the stone pieces.

Natural stone was also specified for the flooring in the Shore Hotel. To complement the textured sandstone walls, the architects specified honed tiles of White Wood marble flooring throughout the lobby. This material, which was also supplied by Southland Stone USA, was employed in a size of 12 x 24 inches with a thickness of 3/8 inch. A total of 7,000 square feet of marble was used, and it was installed using thinset.

Overall, the installation of the stone took 30 days, with 20 workers on the job. Speaking on challenges, Laenger said that overall shop drawings and engineering required careful collaboration between City Tile & Stone Tile Inc. as the general contractor and Gensler as the architect.

From the perspective of the architects, the overall staging of the project required coordination. “We had a very limited timeframe for installation,” explained Bryan Oakes, Senior Associate and Project Architect for Gensler. “The pattern in the stone was hand-carved prior to shipping to the site. It was critical to the design to have the pattern of each 2-x 2-foot stone panel align, while maintaining a ¼- to 3/8- inch joint line.”

Before the final stone detail was completed, the architects and contractor worked together to find a successful solution for the project. “We met with the stone installer to review shop drawings and design intent, and then met to review two separate mock-ups,” Oakes said. “Our team was on site daily during construction so we were able to review the stone from beginning of installation to completion.”

Construction for the Shore Hotel began in January 2010 and opened to the public in October 2011. “There has been a great response from hotel guests.  The hotel has maintained a high occupancy rate since the hotel opening,” Oakes said. “The project has won numerous awards from the design and construction community.”  

The Shore Hotel

Santa Monica, CA

Architect: Gensler, Los A ngeles, CA

Stone Supplier: Southland Stone USA, North Hollywood, CA

Stone Installer: City Tile & Stone Tile Inc., Van Nuys, CA