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The Design Associates

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GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | Seattle

GIRVIN | Strategic Branding & Design | New York

The Design Associates | Tokyo

Alex Calderwood Dies at 47

Death comes even to the best of us.
Very sorry to see this loss.

Three days back, London.

I recall the first time that I’d booked some clients at the [Hotel #1] ACE, Seattle. And I fretted about what they’d think [they were older clients, linked to an American power brand]. Low beds, white glossy rooms, a kind of utilitarian approach to hospitality, speckled with Shepard Fairey art.
Would they be…okay?
They loved the unexpected solution,
so I thought it would work —
and it did.

From there, at our NYC office, we were just down the street from the NYC ACE on 29th Street —
we booked in other relationships.

Alex Calderwood Dies at 47
Alex Calderwood Dies at 47

Stayed there, put clients there, ate with friends there.
On another run, working Palm Desert, Dawn Clark and I
checked into ACE | Palm Springs — and it, like NYC,
was a youthful and technically-tethered, art-spellbound crowd.

We wrote about the “martial-inspired” design — army utilitarian,
a kind of stenciled bullet-proof approach to simple and direct messaging.

What I found fascinating about Alex was his “collector’s mind” — gathering teams: art, foods and restaurants, signing and graphics into a collective whole, to render gallery-like experiences of understated simplicity,
layered with authentic finishes and time-worn textural expressions.
Touch, human touch, care was evident in everything he did, from his early Rudy’s Barbershop days [one haircut for me] to the array of his “art projects” which is how he thought of his hospitality offerings.
Beauty and understatement — a kind of quiet,
“here we are, take is as it is.”

Alex Calderwood Dies at 47

As a contributor to the Seattle design scene,
Alex was a foundational original.
And, to the truth of the originality,
his captivation with the well-used,
accessible and honest statements
of design should never be underestimated.
I might suggest that he’s influenced a generation.

We all come, and go — his journey shall remain
unforgettable in my mind.

Alex Calderwood Dies at 47
ACE Palm Springs {photo: Dawn A. Clark}

Like the draw of the ace card —
it’s high, and low, it’s a play in multiplicity —
one thing, one game, another meaning, another game.

So sad, so young, story here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/nyregion/alex-calderwood-creator-and-face-of-the-unconventional-ace-hotel-chain-dies-at-47.html

Alex Calderwood Dies at 47

The journey just doesn’t stop.
It keeps on going.

You are here, then
you are gone:

Alex Calderwood Dies at 47
[Door mat, ACE NYC]

TIM | Pike Place Offices

….

THE STRATEGY OF RE-IMAGINING
HOSPITALITY & GUEST ENGAGEMENT
DESIGNING ENVIRONMENTS FOR UNFORGETTABLE PLACES:
HOTELS |RESORTS | SPAS | RETAIL | RESTAURANTS |
SPAS + WELL CENTERS

Happiness experience design, storytelling + brand = http://bit.ly/17cakbT