Known as the ‘Jewel of the Desert,’ the Arizona Biltmore is a living architectural masterpiece, showcasing the influence of America’s most heralded architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Constructed in grand form, it has been host to vibrant social events since 1929.
Looking to refresh the reception lobby mural to reflect this unique region at the foot of the Phoenix Mountain Reserve and incorporate a nod to Wright himself, a consulting architect on the property, Smith-Firestone (SFA Design) reached out to Farmboy Fine Arts (FBFA). Wright’s dramatic style and imprimatur are embedded throughout the resort’s design and the “Biltmore Block,” a variation on a textile block used by Wright to construct the property. The pre-cast blocks were made from desert sand on-site and created in 34 different geometric patterns inspired by the trunk of a palm tree.
Taking inspiration from these historic architectural elements, FBFA re-imagined the geometric tiles in the linework of the dynamic mural. We layered the custom-developed wallcovering with pop-out accent pieces of printed gold aluminum to create a multi-dimensional effect, referencing the Prairie School movement and the colors of the surrounding desert — jewel tones and sandy hues — while paying homage to the history of this iconic property.
FOUNDING FARMERS TYSONS
FBFA worked closely with Farmers Restaurant Group and GrizForm Design Architects on the Tysons Corner location, conceptualizing the space’s artwork and design theme to be a modern interpretation of a traditional Virginia Farmhouse. In this spirit, different areas of the restaurant have been designed as stylistic representations of the rooms and spaces found in and around a farm and its farmhouse: the barn (the bar), front porch, kitchen, formal dining room, living room, and boudoir.
Our goal was to create interesting, beautiful, sometimes jarring – in a purposeful and provocative way – artwork for this space. Aligning with the restaurant’s philosophy of working to transform the American dining experience by unbundling the industrial food chain and taking us back to our roots, the artwork steps away from current, mass-produced culture and seeks out the individual creative spirit found in the property’s original art collection.
FBFA Senior Designer Jordan Hilliard developed the unique, custom mural through an iterative process. The inspiration for the mural is cheeky Chinoiserie, giving the artwork a whimsical, unexpected feel. Within it, there is an element of discovery: from afar, it appears to be traditional Chinoiserie pattern, up close it has surprising and quirky elements inspired by the region (red cardinal and dogwood tree) and its environment (culinary tools). The imagery is silly and imaginative, and the execution sophisticated and masterful.
The engaging mural is a statement piece, made of durable EPVC panels printed with Jordan’s handiwork and routered with an overlay of botanical illustrations, giving the piece added dimension and texture.