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Globetrotter: Metal fabric is a theme in some of the world's finest hotels

From the W Hotel in Boston to the Aloft hotels scattered about the globe to the Armani Hotel in Dubai, the fabric of metal is defining the aesthetic in the world’s groundbreaking hotels. It’s an example of how metal can make an impact beyond walls, roofs and buildings, as a decorative, functional and sustainable interior element in high-end settings.

Wire-mesh fabric from Cascade Coil Drapery Inc., Portland, Ore., drapes down from the cathedral ceilings in the W Boston lobby, creating “pergolas,” private seating areas that allow light in and views out. The wire-mesh creates real substance, said Laura Hanshe, interior design project manager of Bentel & Bentel, the Long Island, N.Y.-based designers responsible for the lobby of the venerable Boston hotel. Hanshe envisioned bringing the outdoors in for the W Boston, creating a “virtual garden” within the high-ceilinged lobby.

“Indirect light bounces from the ceiling into the pergolas,” she continued. “It’s like light shining through a canopy of trees. The light reflects off the wire mesh, providing some sparkle without being overwhelming.”

In the Aloft hotels, conceived as a sort of baby sister to the W, Cascade Coil window treatments add to the edgy sophistication of the crisp, functional lobbies. Cascade Coil wire-mesh fabric in gunmetal black forms the backdrop to the lobby reception desks and in some locations is used as a window treatment. Sixty-four Aloft hotels, now or soon to be opened, feature the nontraditional treatments.

“The Aloft brand is all about innovative design for today’s savvy travelers. Public spaces are inviting, engaging and vibrant,” Brian McGuinness, senior vice president of specialty select brands for Starwood Hotels, told Hospitality Net in February. Both Aloft and W are part of the Starwood Hotels network.

Hanshe, of the Boston W Hotel, said the wire-mesh fabric offers presence but is still delicate enough where hotel guests do not feel closed in.

Ronald A. Schoenheit, president of Cascade Coil, said, “Whether luxe or minimalist, boutique hotels are employing [metal fabric] to impress and inspire today’s sophisticated travelers who come for business and for pleasure.”

Hanshe also summoned the light-reflecting Cascade Coil to create the fireplace screen in the W Hotel’s lobby. Travel News Daily wrote, “A modern fireplace is positioned at the most acute angle of the building providing a ‘beacon’ of light to those passing by, enticing them to come inside to join in the fun.”

About the lobby’s total impact, Hotel World Network wrote, “W Boston’s public spaces feature steel tendrils that define spaces and create visual interest in a way that is both organic and industrial, with light entering the spaces from both above, creating a canopy effect, and below, creating a campfire inspired glow.”

To add a wow effect to the 24 junior suites at the W Boston, Hanshe used Cascade Coil as free-flowing headboards, hanging pieces of mesh from the ceiling and positioning lights to shine down through the wire-mesh fabric.

Wire-mesh fabric functions as a trendsetter in hotels near and far. Dividers are the most common use, to give the sense of privacy and belonging, but window treatments are also popular, as are innovative decorative accents. Timothy Schoenheit, vice president of marketing for Cascade Coil, said, “The look is clean and current. You get privacy but don’t lose the openness and grand design.”

In the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa (formerly the Burj Dubai) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Cascade Coil graces the lobby of the stylish Armani Hotel while lamp cylinders create a quirky effect at the Casa de Campo Hotel in the Dominican Republic. U.S. hotels that feature Cascade Coil include the Spa at Allison Hotel in Newberg, Ore.; the Embassy Suites Hotel in Houston; the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara, Calif.; the Hilton Washington in Washington, D.C.; and the luxurious Belamar Hotel in Manhattan Beach, Calif. At the Englewood, Colo., Hilton Garden Inn, designers put Cascade Coil to double duty as both a wall treatment and a security screen.

Timothy Schoenheit said, “Wire-mesh fabric is a green product, completely recyclable and utilizing recycled content wire in the fabric itself. Going green syncs with the goals of most new hotels and the values of their guests. The fabric is also easy to clean and maintain, cost-effective, and makes a big statement.”