Case Studies for Design Management

Adams Design, Inc.


Park Place, Atlanta

Sheraton Princeville

The Queen Victoria

Punahou Cliffs

Personal Observations

The education and experience I bring to my design vocation is rather unique, My first degree is from West Point and, although termed a Bachelor of Science, we in fact carried a double major of science and humanities. After graduating from West Point I served six years in the military where I was given management opportunities as a Platoon Leader, Executive Officer, and General Staff Officer. As a Staff Officer in Army Intelligence I was immersed in the process of research of problems, articulating the options and presenting viable solutions.

Upon completion of my military obligation I entered the Art Center College of Design where I graduated cum laude and sought employment in commercial interior design. I was a staff designer specializing in hotel design. I then established an interior design department within an architectural firm, learning the architectural design process first hand. I next worked for an international hotel design firm as Marketing Director in Hawaii.

I opened my won firm, Adams Design, Inc., in 1976. For almost twenty years I have managed my firm, placing it in the Top 100 in Interior Design Magazine’s yearly survey of commercial interior design firms for five years.

During the past twenty years I have worked closely with developers and development process. I have been an integral part of the development of hotels, restaurants, condominium building, retail shops, medical facilities and office buildings. I have designed upward of thirty homes following different criteria of space planning and decorative styles. I have worked closely in conjunction with realtors, marketing analysts, advertising and sales teams as part of the development process. I am well versed in the step by step procedures and well prepared by education and experience for the responsibility of Director of Design.

Case Studies

1) Park Place, Atlanta
My experience with the Park Place condominium in Atlanta was typical of many of my projects where I was brought in after the initial plans were complete (indeed, the building was under construction) to bring a coherent design to a misdirected and weak plan.

This was the largest high-rise condominium in the South - 40 stories, 320 units.

In addition to redirecting the image, logo and marketing effort, I reworked the space plan of the units and public area. We established a collection of art and antiques which were displayed throughout the building, and were referred to in sales information as "the Park Place Collection". This collection, coupled with the antique furniture used throughout the 40 stories on each common area landing, established owner pride in the common areas.

In addition to the refined art and furnishings, I created a wine room in the lower parking structure, large enough to house a wine locker for a case of wine for each owner unit. The ambiance was of a European vaulted wine cellar with ceilings painted in trompe l'oeil of grape arbors and a moonlight sky. This room created great sales interest for marketing and a sense of price in common area improvements for the owners.

I also provided two ground floor "visitor suites", much like hotel suites, for the use of owners' visiting house guests. Other amenities included a concierge office, security office, building manager office, and a function room off the pool area for catered parties. A health club with separate locker areas for men and women was also included.

The building, in total, functioned much as a residence hotel. The combined effect of the enhanced design made the project the foremost high rise condominium in Atlanta, becoming the home of many notable residents - one of whom is Elton John.

I took a project in construction from a potential market disaster to a building that is a focal point of refinement in Atlanta, and a marketing success.

2. Sheraton Princeville
The original Sheraton Princeville encompassed 300 rooms and six suites, three restaurants, discotheque bar, lobby/lounge bar, pool snack bar, ballroom, meeting/conference rooms, and lobby shops.

My work included conceiving of the early Hawaiian plantation theme and its implementation in various elements throughout the hotel. Each restaurant, each bar, each public area had a thematic motif representing a story of "Old Hawaii" which wound its way throughout the property. The common areas were decorated with two dozen quilts - half Early American and half antique Hawaiian. These quilts explained the cultural evolution of the so-called "Hawaiian Quilt" better than any museum.

The guest rooms were furnished in a style reminiscent of early missionary homes of the 1800's. The case goods were painted in an antique distressed finish that looked like genuine period pieces. These furnishings were so well liked that we received many inquiries from the guests as to ordering this furniture for use in their own homes! This affirmed the successful effort to create a sense of a "home away from home" that would attract repeat guests stays. The whole hotel had a warm and comfortable ambiance that felt more residential than hotel.

From a project management perspective the project was a challenge in that I was retained after the hotel was under construction, due to a change in management groups. I had to create the overall design direction with its various themes in each restaurant, bar, suites, etc., down to the logo's uniforms, and table settings. This was all done with the pressure of redefining each area as the building was being built!

This took considerable coordination ability to provide the architect and contractor with necessary documentation while simultaneously specifiying all furnishings, artwork, graphics, etc.

The hotel achieved a true "sense of place" and historic context referred t more recently as "echo tourism". The design proved to be very popular with both the guests and with the local Hawaiian residents of Kauai who were afraid that this hotel would be another "Waikiki" hotel and were very pleased with its authentic Hawaiian character.

The Sheraton Hotel Group, though initially unsure of the viability of my concept, became enthusiastically supportive of the property and expressed great satisfaction for its marketing image success.

3. The Queen Victoria
The Queen Victoria is a prestige residential condominium high rise of 15 stories, 50 units, a common area including lobby, individual private floor landings, a function room, exercise room, and swimming pool/fountain.

The developers of this project retained me late in the design process after construction drawings were complete. My first effort was to re-evaluate and provide improved space planning for all units.

I then established a theme for the pubic areas based on the Victorian experience in Hawaii. The furnishings included my commissioning a Hawaiian quilt as dramatic wall art, design in koa furniture case pieces appropriate to the royalty period in Hawaii, and locating a series of original prints commemorating the bi-centennial of the British Empire under Victorian rule.

As with my hotel and restaurant projects, I created a coherent theme and "sense of place". The swimming pool lounge area of the Queen Victoria, for instance, looks less like a swimming pool and more like a Victorian fountain in a formal garden found in a British Colonial Villa.

The overall ambiance and attention to detail carries a feeling of contemporary elegance with a strong reference to Hawaii's traditional British influence of the Victorian era. My design guidance established the visual impact of the property which was carried through in effective marketing.

4. Punahou Cliffs
The Punahou Cliffs condominium high rise is an 80 unit, 14 story luxury building with lobby, function room, pool side activity areas, and a wine storage room in the lower parking basement.

As part of the design team for this property, I was hired at the inception of the project and was therefore able to work closely with the architects and engineers from the initial layout. I did all space planning, bath and kitchen design, ceiling and lighting plans, fixturization, and floor and wall materials selection.

Perhaps a greater contribution to the overall sales image of the property was my landscape and waterscape concept which focused on the great bayan tree at the front of the property. This historic tree was scheduled to be eliminated due to city setback requirements for future potential street widening. This tree was seated over a viaduct that allowed flood water to pass under the street and into a system of storm drains. This tree, with its exposed root system hanging over a brick arch, was a natural focal point for this project. I convinced the developer to petition the city to allow us to leave the tree and enhance the exposed water catchment below with a system of natural looking pools and waterfalls. In addition to providing a beautiful focal point at the entry to the porte-cochere, the waterfalls provided a background "white sound" that masked traffic noise. The water effect were carried throughout the grounds, and through the outer lobby to the swimming pool and jacuzzi with additional waterfalls. This whole system of integrated land and waterscape was visible from the glass elevator as you went up the building. The bayan tree and arch became the logo for the marketing of the property and set an image of historic context and serene beauty.

My overall design vision affected all aspects of the building and its grounds, and resulted in a prestige property that is a timeless classic.

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