Calgary’s Fairmont Palliser has seen a lot in its 100-plus years. (The Edwardian Commercial-style hotel opened in 1914 to accommodate tourists travelling from eastern Canada to Banff on the Canadian Pacific Railway.) So it only makes sense that Frank Architecture tapped into its storied past when dreaming up the glam, vintage-inspired interiors of Hawthorn Dining Room and Bar, the first new food-and-beverage outlet to join the Palliser in more than 60 years.
“The Canadian Pacific Railway used to run through the land beside the hotel. There used to be flower stalls… and it used to be this really lively space,” says Kate Allen, co-founder and director at Frank. “So we were brought on board to return the lobby—and this new restaurant—to the bustling area it once was.”
New elements, like the sage-coloured leather swivel chairs at the bar complement features preserved from Palliser’s past. Photo by Bonjwing Lee.
With that ask in mind, the team developed a design narrative for Hawthorn that centred on the history of both the Palliser and the national railroad. Banquettes feature subtle metalwork that references the stained-glass windows of old railway cars, while a custom floral wallpaper in the restrooms gives a nod to the flower stands that formerly populated Palliser’s lobby. In addition, the ceiling was raised to an airy 15 feet and coffered with contrasting black strapping. The resulting look is reminiscent of railroad tracks, says Caitlin Flynn, senior interior designer at Frank, and echoes the striking black moulding.
This vibrant ’60s-era mural is by Banff-based artist Charles Beil. Photo by Bonjwing Lee.Clustered seating was added in front of the original fireplace, while a vibrant mural (another preserved feature, this one from 1962) by the late Banff-based artist Charles Beil features galloping horses and cowboys. “The goal was to make this into a destination in the city, so that locals—not just visitors and people staying at the hotel—are coming by,” says Allen.
black-and-white flooring from Stone Tile pops in the dining area. Photo by Bonjwing Lee.