Rottet Studio (pronounced row-tay) is an international firm known for their unique architecture and interior design. They partnered with the Houston-based Valencia Hotel Group on the Court Hotel projects found throughout Texas. We recently spoke with Chris Evans, Design Director and Associate Principal of Rottet Studio, about his work on these hotels and the inspiration behind their design elements.
How did you get started working with Valencia Group?
Rottet Studio was initially introduced to the new brand with Lone Star Court in Austin. We were contracted to develop the interior design only for this project. With that original introduction, we then worked on two renovations of their upper end full-service hotels, Valencia San Antonio (Riverwalk) and Valencia San Jose, California. When the second “Courts” project (Cavalry Court), was awarded, we were engaged as Design Architect/ Interiors, which allowed us to shepherd the brand from in concept through construction. We were able to sculpt the project, starting with master planning, landscape concepts, architectural design, interior design and branding. Since then, we have been the design architect for all subsequent Courts projects – Cavalry Court, College Station TX; Texican Court, Irving TX; and Cotton Court, Lubbock TX.
What work have you done in Texas?
In addition to the four ‘Courts’ projects, we recently completed the C. Baldwin Hotel in Houston, Part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. We also renovated the Historic Driskill Hotel in Austin. This is the oldest operating hotel in Texas.
La Colombe D’or Hotel, Houston’s small boutique hotel in the Houston Arts District, was a mansion that was converted into a hotel in the early 80s. We completed a careful restoration and addition to that property.
Bridge House is a collaboration with the Texas architects Lake Flato for a single-family residence in Houston. We completed the interior design for the project including a significant amount of custom furniture design.
What are you currently working on in Texas?
The Conrad Hilton Hotel/ Residences in Austin is a new high-rise hotel and condo project. If built today, it would be the tallest building in Austin.
Crescent Hotel in Fort Worth is a boutique hotel in the Arts District adjacent to the Kimble Art Museum.
Maple Terrace Apartments/ Offices in Dallas is a project with Hines Development. We collaborated to convert a historic apartment building into a new boutique office and a new ground up apartment building.
What was the inspiration behind your designs?
First and foremost, we believe in designing our projects to be “of place.” We do copious amounts of research to understand the location of the project on both macro and micro levels. We typically develop our project concepts as a sampling of inspiration including the history of the location or people, physical references like local flora or geographical formations, or social elements like arts or music. The ‘Courts’ have been greatly inspired by Texas in general, but take a more theatrical approach. We think about these hotels much like a screenplay that tells a story about Texas, and the guests get to be a part of that story. For example, the Texican Court Hotel in Irving was inspired by Spaghetti Westerns such as The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. We shaped the hotel as a series of different scenes that the guests discover as they move around the property from the reception, the pool area, restaurants and the guestrooms.
What themes can we expect from your work with the Valencia Group?
The following themes are not specific to Valencia, but I am sure with any new projects for Valencia we will be telling a story about famous Texans. These stories are not always visible to the typical guest, but their stories always define our designs.Texans like C. Baldwin, often called the “Mother of Houston,” or Ima Hogg, “The First Lady of Texas” who helped develop Houston’s art district, or Dominique De Menil who founded the Menil Collection in Houston. Apparently, we like to tell stories about strong Texas women.
Is there a particular piece of work that you are most proud of?
Specifically to Valencia Courts projects, I am very proud that I am able to collaborate with my father to help fabricate our furniture. I grew up in my father’s custom furniture shop and although he is now retired, he comes out of retirement to collaborate with me on the “Courts” projects. We have built a number of pieces like reception desks, coffee tables, and benches on these projects. It allows me to take unique and special products from concept all the way through fabrication. One specific piece I am very proud of is the Taqueria Table we created for Texican Court in Dallas. It is an illuminated table inspired by equal parts Dan Flavin fluorescent tube art and the local Taqueria’s in Houston.
Cover Photo courtesy Rottet Studio.
Maddie Rhodes is a graduate student at Syracuse University. She aspires to work for a travel magazine when she graduates.