While the W only opened in Hollywood back in 2010, the hotel has already replaced the original rooftop pool deck for its condos with a new space designed by Rios Clementi Hale Studios. The old deck, designed by Daly Genik Architects, was beautiful but severe. Rios Clementi Hale opted for a more casual approach, which they call an “outdoor living room.”
The inspiration, said designer Mike Sweeney, is LA’s mix of beach and city, which plays out with a combination of hard elements like concrete and metal, and soft elements like wood and colorful foliage. Visitors walk up a small flight of stairs, surrounded by a dense growth of green and purple native and low water plants, to the pool, as if they were passing through the dunes at the shore. The pool deck is organized around a series of meandering pathways and informal spaces that allow for many activities to go on at once. Sweeney said the arrangement makes “it feel like you’re in a garden in the midst of all these rooftops.”
The scene from the roof is dominated by Hollywood’s jumble of towers, billboards, streetscapes, and hills. The architects placed a double-layered water jet cut aluminum sunshade for the barbecue on the east edge of the space as a nod to the omnipresent signage. More shade is provided by fabric cabanas and the abundant plantings. Custom, irregularly-shaped polished concrete fire tables, imbedded with Micah, add a splash of mysterious darkness and nod to the neighborhood’s legendary Walk of Fame. The matte flooring around the pool is light grey concrete.
The central organizing element of the project is a curving spine that bisects the roof, traced to the south by a giant curving Ipe wood daybed, that, Sweeney notes, matches the large scale of the surrounding city. The slatted Ipe fence behind the bed provides a sense of shape and enclosure, but doesn’t block any views. The daybed as well as the other ipe furniture on the deck was custom built on site. This warm and soft material, tempering the hardness of the city and the rooftop, also clads a self-serve bar area and a gym to the west.