Say Hello to Hospitality Design at Populous


We’re a curious bunch at Populous. When setting out to design an arena, for example, we can’t help but imagine how it interacts with its surroundings – plazas, hotels and restaurants, just to name a few – and how the entire area becomes bigger than the sum of its parts.

This awareness of a project’s environment and its place in the bigger picture, more than anything, defines the spirit of our practice. It’s the driving force behind our firm’s evolution.

Today I’m excited to officially introduce the latest example of that progression: the Americas Populous hospitality team. A number of talented teammates including Director of Interior Design Wes Crosby have joined me in the pursuit of creating authentic travel destinations. Wes’ design aesthetic, honed over 25 years of experience working on public and private projects, fits in perfectly with the Populous approach.

Today’s travelers expect an exciting and seamless experience imbued with a sense of culture. In their eyes, the measure of a destination isn’t any one structure but in how well individual spaces are woven together into one organic place. They crave the freedom to roam beyond where they lay their heads at night.

When a city’s retail, entertainment and hotel anchors are conceived of together with this in mind, it creates a framework for the broader community to grow and attract a steady flow of visitors. The result is remarkable and achieved only through constant collaboration with a variety of stakeholders.

To get there we first center ourselves in the destination. We can’t begin to understand its history without immersing ourselves physically.

Talking with local residents and touring everything from city halls to dive bars slowly reveals the soul of a place. It’s our job as designers to give it a physical presence in the form of structures like convention centers and hotels, but most importantly in the scores of smaller touchpoints and transitions in between.

Our focus on research results in design that eschews trends in favor of sustainable growth. Beyond travelers, this approach benefits all involved parties whether you’re a developer or diplomat, owner’s representative or small business owner.

So what impressions of your community are guests currently leaving with? Let’s keep the conversation going and start designing the sort of memories word-of-mouth marketing is made of.




Chris Ross is a nationally-recognized architect in the convention center and hospitality industry with three decades of experience working on projects that transform cities throughout the country.

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