Increasingly, hospitality venues are exploring what it means to house multiple offerings under the same roof—whether it’s a bank that also functions as a café or an office that transforms into an event space by night.
These evolving needs have driven designers to find creative ways to unite spaces with different uses while imparting each with its own character. Not only is it about offering various experiences to keep guests coming back for more, but multiuse spaces can provide additional revenue streams at times when they would otherwise be dark.
Consider PleasureMed, a 6,500-square-foot sensory experience in the heart of West Hollywood. Designed by Studio UNLTD, the two-story cannabis lounge houses a dispensary, a farm-to-table restaurant, and an intimate cocktail bar. The dispensary unfolds over checkered marble flooring beneath 13-foot-high coffered ceilings adorned with beaded chandeliers, its ornate millwork display cases stocked with cannabis strains and products. The space is “intended to have a grand feeling to it,” says Studio UNLTD founder Greg Bleier.
Behind the dispensary is Hind, a 45-seat outdoor bar and lounge featuring custom white oak tabletops and veined leathered marble. A staircase leads to the second floor, which houses Irie restaurant, bedecked with custom carved walnut dining booths and a bar with fluted glazing copper facing. While each area carries its own look and feel, the overlapping design features allows “us to create a layered experience for guests,” Bleier notes.
Across the country in Queens, New York is Little Banchan Shop, a modern market that offers a small menu of banchan (Korean side dishes). Yet, there is more to the small shop than its grab-and-go concept. A hidden corridor accessed through a walnut door adorned with a traditional Korean pattern reveals the moodier Meju, a private tasting room from chef Hooni Kim. “The design approaches for the two spaces were quite different,” says Jun Aizaki, founder and principal of CRÈME, the Brooklyn, New York-based design firm behind the project. “We [looked] at what would be offered in each and unified the concept around Korean cuisine.”
Also in New York is the Capital One Bank and Café in Manhattan. Brooklyn-based firm Islyn Studio eschewed the traditional bank layout for a more inviting look that made both spaces “feel like a holistic experience,” says Islyn Studio’s senior design manager Laura Hope. The wood-clad café area flows effortlessly into the bank, which is equipped with teller desks constructed at a lower counter height and free of high-security barriers, allowing for more human connection. Hope credits the “hospitality lens applied to the varied experiences” as the link between the two. “We wanted to make sure the experience between both banking and the café felt equally warm and inviting.”
In London, the headquarters for music and events company Broadwick Live offers a similar open layout. The monolithic 8,000-square-foot space spans two floors, shifting between a workplace and an events venue. Working with a restricted color palette, London-based firm Holloway Li paid particular attention to texture—in-situ concrete and plaster wrap the main atrium, while exposed silver-foil ducting and bright red pipework weave through overhead beams. Dotted throughout are matte black elemental interventions made with rough Tadelakt microcement. “We wanted visitors to experience something of the nocturnal world of Broadwick Live’s club spaces, and the all-black material palette carries a hint of that experience into the space,” says Alex Holloway, cofounder of Holloway Li.
Dual-function elements like a 20-foot-long table can be used for client meetings during the work day and for hosting dinners after hours. The two concepts are married through a “bold simplicity in design,” he points out, “embracing natural light, allowing the office to subtly shift gears between workplace and versatile events space, [with a] series of striking silhouettes and modern furnishings seamlessly uniting the two worlds.”
This article originally appeared in HD’s December 2023 issue.