Toronto, and more recently, Prince Edward County, Ontario, where Stober
has opened his newest project, the Drake Devonshire Inn.
“All of our Drake properties [the Drake Hotel, Drake One Fifty restaurant
in Toronto’s financial district, and the Drake Devonshire Inn] celebrate the
old and new, the juxtaposition of antique pieces alongside custom, modern
designs, and a specific focus on integrating art with hospitality spaces,” says
Stober. It can be tough to pinpoint specific elements that signify a Drake
property; it’s truly more a feeling than a piece of furniture or a signature color.
Still, there are hints, like the use of natural materials like wood, marble, cork,
and leather. Every location boasts a customized photobooth, a micro Drake
General Store offering up fun pieces of Canadiana, unique wallpapers and
upholstery, community corkboards, and contemporary art curated by Mia
Nielsen, head of cultural programming for Drake Hotel Properties.
“At all of our locations we look to create a balance of historic references
with contemporary elements, to create a timeless quality that appeals to
young and old alike,” says Zoe Shapiro, Drake's senior manager of corporate
marketing and content strategy. “Antiques are mixed in with contemporary
modern pieces, and we’ve created a now-iconic bar stool that pops up at all
of our locations, but in different colored leathers.”
At it’s most basic, Stober says the Drake style guide is a “perfect blend of
modern, timeless, and vintage. We have the benefit of an in-house design team
that is expert at sourcing the perfect accoutrement for a given space. Whether it
is a meticulously crafted piece of millwork or the sourcing of gorgeous fabrics to
reupholster timeless vintage finds, it has to be perfect,” he says. “The secret is
finding great pieces, and trusting your gut until it’s just right.”
According to designer John Tong—who along with his design studio
+tongtong worked closely with Stober and the Drake team on the Drake
hospitality projects—the design brief for each property is shared amongst
everyone involved, at every level, to ensure consistency and understanding:
not just the designers, but operations managers, art directors, stylists, buyers,
chefs, cleaning staff, and marketing and community relations.
“The design approach we have always employed with Drake projects is one
98 INTERIORS & SOURCES MAY 2015