Dream Palm Springs truly connects with the exterior: HBA’s Darrell Long [Video]

by | Jul 4, 2019 | Design

HBA’s Darrell Long, who was a finalist in the Creative Spark design competition at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Los Angeles, shares how Dream Palm Springs truly delivers the chain’s epic F&B to a sleepy resort

A new property that channels all the best facets of California life and living was presented at the recent TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR in LA by designer Darrell Long. This stylish and sophisticated property is not trying to be hip, but determined to be timeless.

California dreamin’ at Dream Palm Springs

California has long been a coveted destination for both globetrotters and settler’s down alike, so perhaps it is no surprise that a new hotel in Palm Springs will draw it inspiration from the mellow and cool vibe of the west coast’s most famous state. Dream Palm Springs will take up residence in Palm Springs in the not too distant future.

At the recent TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR event in Los Angeles to talk about the project’s conception and delivery was Darrell Long, partner and design director at Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), who are responsible for both the exterior and interior architecture of the property.

Darrell summed up the mission for the project by saying, “The hotel will provide a retreat from the world’s activities and trappings, devoid of all noise. It will be the timeless host of everything good at that very moment in time for generations to come.”

Contextual connection that avoids hipster trends

It can often be considered a cop out in design to pander to the latest trends, and this is exactly what Long and his team wanted to avoid. Instead, the designers chose modernism as their inspiration, along with a palette of muted tones coupled with splashes of colour to add some fun. Large expanses of glass have been employed, encouraging connection with the outside, in particular “the site, landscape and water” which “visually rewards the viewer at the end of their journey of discovery.” The neutral colour palette complements the natural materials used which are used in the exterior and interior architecture and design, that, “once combined with impressive landscape architecture, will be immeasurably iconic.”

Here are excerpts from an exclusive interview Darrell did with TOPHOTELNEWS on the sidelines of TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Los Angeles, where he speaks about the biggest challenges of the project, and how he wants a rematch with R+A’s Brooks Atwood, who won the Creative Spark design competition this time.

How to bring Dream’s epic F&B to a sleepy resort?

Darrell: The challenge is: Dream is a food and beverage-forward company. They do great jobs with all of their hotels with regard to food and beverage, heavy on the beverage side. How do we translate that into a sleepy resort? And the whole idea that it being sleepy is important. Because if you’re going to a resort, you still want to be able to get away from the noise. And with Dream being so adjacent to Los Angeles, being ground zero for noise, when you pass those windmills you want to be able to relax and you want to be able to be in an environment where, “Okay, I’ve got a really great vibrant pool over here. I can have 25 cocktails if I want. But on hindsight, I also want to be able to go in that corner over there and I don’t want to hear a damn thing.” So, the design gave us that duality of fun, quietness, with great food, great beverage, great views and all those key words I’m supposed to talk about.

Everyone wants a connection with the exterior – we truly did it

Darrell: Our first vision when we started looking at the building was that the whole podium of the building, this curve, was all glass so that 10 months out of the year, where the weather is absolutely beautiful day and night, that, that whole podium would open up. So it’s a breezeway from this point to this point and if our landscape wasn’t lush and inviting and capitalize on the sense of discovery, you couldn’t do that. So, the building is very basic in form, it’s a beautiful curve. And it’s very basic in materials because we want the lushness of the landscape to capitalize on that glass podium. So when you’re walking through it, you’re seeing to and from, bow to stern, however you want to say that, that everything is interactive. Everybody starts a project, we all joke about it, saying, “I want a connection with the exterior.” Everybody does that. We truly did it.


Darrell: I got to tell you, this event shocked me. I didn’t know what to expect. And I was extremely, and I mean this with utmost respect, I was so pleasantly surprised. It was a lovely affair, I’d like to come to them again, I’d like to be invited again. I thought that it was great, I had some really fantastic conversations with both my peers and vendors and obviously your staff. So it was thumbs up — loved it.

Advice on entering Creative Spark

Darrell: I want to do it again. Coz Brooks kicked my butt, and him and I are very competitive and I’m not going to let him win again, so hopefully when him and I are at another point where we’ve got two hotels, there’s going to be a showdown again. I’m comin’ for you, Brooks.

About Darrell Long

Darrell has practiced interior design for 25 years, earning a bachelor’s degrees from Old Dominion University and Virginia Commonwealth University. On a day-to-day basis, Darrell oversees the design direction of his team’s projects while leading the group’s dynamic designers. His team focuses on modernist principles rooted in the contemporary and the technological, and has taken on projects from every point of the globe.

Creative Spark is a hotel design competition between three architects/interior designers, which is judged by delegates at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR conferences. Shortlisted finalists present their innovative projects, and further discuss their work as part of a stimulating panel discussion.

For information on how to enter Creative Spark, get in touch with TOPHOTELPROJECTS Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.


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