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The Denver Post

New Denver Hotel Design To Mimic Aspen Tree

A hotel under construction in downtown Denver and whose exterior is inspired by Colorado’s quaking aspen trees will feature interior designs and furnishings that pay homage to the outdoors and the West.

The 13-story Populus hotel byUrban Villages is scheduled to open in the summer of 2024. The Denver-based developer said it intends to build the country’s first “carbon-positive” hotel, which can mean going beyond cutting greenhouse-gas emissions to producing such environmental benefits as generating a surplus of renewable energy.

Rendering provided by Nephew

Heather Wildman, principal and design director of Wildman Chalmers Design in Pittsburgh, said the architectural and interior design firm has worked with Urban Villages before.

Wildman said the team built on the tree metaphor by staining the concrete floor of the ground level exposing aggregate to mimic the floor of a forest. “When you’re walking on a forest floor, there are these sorts of patches, needles covering things. It’s not a uniform texture.”

The ceiling will be lined with distressed wood slats that came from wood snow fencing in Wyoming. A sculpture made from leather-like material grown from mushroom roots will hang over the restaurant and entryway. The biotechnology and design company MycoWorks will supply the materials.

Chicago-based Studio Gang, which has projects around the world, is the hotel’s architect. The hotel’s name, Populus, comes from the scientific name for quaking aspen: Populus tremuloides. The outside of the triangular building evokes the bark of an aspen tree, with the inset windows mimicking the dark, eye-shaped marks left on the tree’s bark when branches break off.

Read the full article by Judith Kohler in The Denver Post.