Project Name: Riggs Washington DC

Location: Washington

Date Completed: 2020

Interior Designer: Jacu Strauss/Lore Group

The hotel sits in the former home of Washington, D.C.’s Riggs National Bank. Built in 1891, the landmarked building holds a place on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the last few Richardsonian Romanesque Revival-style builds still standing in the city. The property originally housed the Washington Loan & Trust Company before being acquired by Riggs National Bank in 1954. Known as the “Bank of Presidents”, inheriting a historical building can be risky, but Lore Group was successful in creating a hotel that celebrates both the legacy of the building and the history of Washington, D.C. through several creative touches. 

In conceptualising and designing the hotel, Creative Director Jacu Strauss invoked the spirit of the former bank while preserving and restoring much of the property’s original design features and highlights, including the pillars, ceilings, brass detailing, bank vault, and former bank doors. The building’s heritage was its design inspiration, offering a visual narrative that draws on parallels between the activities of a bank and the activities that take place in a hotel. Examples include oversized chandeliers and light fixtures, which exude an Art Deco, feel – an homage to the golden age of banking, but designed for today’s modern world. 

Each of the hotel’s 181 guest rooms offers a playful nod to the building’s history. The rooms’ minibar and safe are hidden within a design aesthetic that mirrors a traditional steel safe, adorned with a brass plaque of Juno Moneta – the Roman goddess of money (and a design found on the building’s original banking doors).

The design is timeless, classic and embraces its storied walls, the local neighbourhood, while incorporating modern touches to support today’s world. Sustainability and efficiencies are practised throughout the hotel, everything from a heavy plant section of the menu, biodegradable products, water filters to avoid plastic, paperless registration and menus. The design brings a bright and airy approach with colourful and unique custom furniture pieces, artworks, and mirrors amongst the property’s historic features, of stone and neutrals.