The Emerald CityAuthor:Lindsey Shook
Widely known for gray skies and a ubiquitous smell of espresso, Seattle is a sophisticated urban center surrounded by a surreal landscape where snow-capped mountains meet the Pacific. The city that gave birth to coffee houses, grunge music and a few tech giants is now a mecca for those who crave both culture and simplicity. Home to Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks, it is a town that pushes boundaries and equally encourages small, locally owned businesses and artists to thrive. These small boutiques, quintessential coffee shops, microbreweries, urban wineries and restaurants not only contribute to Seattle’s charm but attract many enchanted travelers througout the year. Whether you want to immerse yourself in nature, culture or culinary delights, Seattle has something to share with everyone.
WHERE TO STAY
Located just up the hill from the historic Pike Place market, The Thompson Hotel embraces its surroundings by pairing expansive views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains with cool, classic interiors designed by Olson Kundig. “One of the primary architectural considerations of the project was the scale of the new structure and its relationship to smaller, older buildings in the surrounding area,” says firm partner Tom Kundig.
Once inside, jewel-tone greens and blues paired with rich wood and steel reflect the sensibility of the city. “Olson Kundig has been a Seattle design mainstay since 1966 and operates under the belief that buildings serve as a bridge between nature, culture, history and people,” says Amanda Parsons, general manager of the hotel.
The rooftop bar, Nest, was designed to take advantage of the sweeping views of Elliot Bay, and guests can enjoy cocktails and food from Scout, the open-kitchen restaurant with a cozy ambiance that allows Chef Derek Simcik to engage with patrons often sharing his secret ingredients.
WHAT TO DO
In 1962, the city of Seattle built a cutting-edge observation tower vying to host the World’s Fair that ended up attracting over two million visitors. Now an iconic Pacific Northwest landmark, the Space Needle is undergoing a massive renovation by Olson Kundig, who was enlisted to rethink how to expand the views, allowing guests to see further out and down. Working with Hoffman Construction, they have applied more than 177 tons of glass to transform the historic site into a modern marvel that will feature the world’s only rotating glass-floor restaurant. “Ultimately, our design aims to bring the Space Needle into the future,” says Alan Maskin of Olson Kunding. “Not only in terms of enhancing the views and the overall visitor experience, but also with seismic, structural and building systems updates that will preserve it for the next 50 years.”
Known for his larger than life personality, former rock band manager Charles Smith fell in love with European wines while on the road. During a chance encounter with a wine maker in Washington state, Smith was inspired to produce his own wine that in 2009 led him to be named Winemaker of the Year by Food and Wine magazine. Now his wines can be experienced firsthand at Jet City, an urban tasting room in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood.
Olson and Kundig transformed the structure— formerly a Dr. Pepper bottling plant—into a raw space where guests can drink, eat, listen to great music and enjoy views of a Boeing runway just outside (hence the name ‘Jet City’). “Our design preserves much of the building’s hard-won industrial patina,” says Tom Kundig. “We were inspired by Charles’ in-your-face attitude to create a space that highlights the original aesthetics of the building.
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