From the time guests make their way inside the AKA Beverly Hills hotel in California they can enjoy the ambiance and functionality provided by natural stone. In particular, the lobby space and terrace, which affords stunning views of the Hollywood Hills, employ stone as a signature element.
According to designer Troy Fosler from Koning Izenberg, the design goal was to match the stone with AKA’s personality. “AKA’s brand identifies with the metropolitan crowd, so we wanted the design to be simple but with a touch of specification so it would not be plain,” he said. “We used a lot of fine texture, and we let the materials stand for what they are.”
“Our vision was to transform the original Beverly Hills property at Crescent Drive and Wilshire Boulevard into an exclusive, contemporary residential oasis,” explained Larry Korman, CEO of Korman Communities, the developers of AKA. “When a resident first enters the arrival courtyard of AKA Beverly Hills, they sense the tranquility.”
This tranquility was attained on the third floor terrace, which has a fountain made of Bluestone as one of its focal points. “Closer to the street, where the terrace is more open, is a trellis and a fountain,” said landscape architect Stephanie Psomas of Pamela Burton Co. “The front of the terrace [which is overlooking the street] is less lush and more open for a place of gathering, with great views of the city and nearby hillsides.”
The Bluestone used for the fountain was supplied by Sepulveda Building Materials. “Bluestone is a sandstone product, which means that it is very hard and durable,” said Stephen Ashton of Sepulveda Building Materials. “The particular stones used on the fountain show off a full range of colors, including blues and browns.
“The size of each stone on the fountain ranges from 2 to 5 inches and uses a thin veneer application,” Ashton went on to say. “From the front of the fountain to the back wall, each stone measures about 2 inches. This made the delivery of the material to the installation site eco-friendly.”
Inside the hotel, the lobby of the AKA welcomes guests in and provides them with a place to sit and have a drink. “The lobby has been completely re-envisioned to reflect AKA’s signature design and appeal,” said Korman.
Featured behind the reception desk in the lobby is a large slab of “Breccia Capraia,” a white/gray marble with large purple veining. The stone was installed as two book-matched panels, each measuring 5 feet wide x 9 feet tall, covering the wall from floor to ceiling. The panels were supplied by Modul Marble of Sun Valley, CA. The quarry they come from is located in Massa, Italy, in the same region where Carrara and Calacatta marbles are extracted.
“Additionally, the lobby features the cryptic café+bar that serves residents at AKA coffee in the morning and converts to a cocktail bar in the evening,” said Korman. Countertops of the café+bar are ¾-inch-thick Carrara White marble with a polished finish. They were supplied by Serena Marble & Granite Inc. Located off the lobby, the business center also features Carrara White marble desktops.
The use of Carrara White and cream-colored marble also extended to the guest accommodations as well. This stone was specified in the bathroom spaces of various units, with applications including floors, walls, vanities and within the showers.
The final reaction
Construction for the lobby and arrival court was approximately six months. During this time, Koning Izenberg representatives visited the site weekly, and AKA representatives visited the site bi-weekly. In particular, they were looking for overall design conformance.
The final reaction to AKA Beverly Hills re-design has been “overwhelmingly positive,” said Fosler. “AKA has hosted numerous events, and it is quite an active property, where it provides a lot of value to its guests.”
AKA Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills, CA
Developer: Korman Communities
Designer: Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Santa Monica, CA
Landscape Architect: Pamela Burton Co., Santa Monica, CA
Stone Suppliers: Sepulveda Building Materials, Laguna Nigel, CA (Bluestone) Modul Marble, Sun Valley, CA (Breccia Capraia) Serena Marble & Granite Inc., Pacoima, CA(White Carrara marble)