Industrial Design – Henry Drefuss
June 8, 2009
Architectural Follies
June 10, 2009


Not Hotels. I love Hotels as well. Some Hotels. Hotels that about design and the experience. That would another post. Or posts.

I love old school, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s motels, where architects, designers and owners created flights of fancy to entice weary automobile travelers. These were often magnificent architectural follies that embraced the Tiki Culture, Cowboy Themes, Space Exploration (in that Jetson’s way) and the owners whims or personality. They were, in short, theatrical. They were designed.

This is not about skanky motels. Skanky has its place, but it is not a place where I might want to sleep.

I think travel should be a bit of an adventure and certainly a diversion. Not so much in a world of corporate lodging, but once upon a time…

I would be interested in a revival of the roadside motel. Like this.

I have always liked the idea of non-traditional homes/living spaces. Many years ago, I found a story about a young designer and his wife who bought an abandoned motel in a not-so-good neighborhood in LA. This was in Metropolitan Home magazine circa 1988. They cleaned up the motel and restored the pool. The motel was ‘L’ shaped around the pool. They lived in some rooms, adjoined as necessary. Many rooms were guest rooms. They restored and added to the snack bar which, along with the pool, became the focal point of their social life. They built and elevated structure on the open corner of the ‘L’ to serve as an office. Unfortunately, the clipping is long since lost, but that idea is very much alive.

I saw this post sometime this week. In some ways, I find these images sad, in many others, I find them hugely inspiring. Many of these places just await the right designer or visionary to bring them back to life as motels, homes, clubs or a cool retail experiences.

I’m sure that I will riff on this idea again.

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