Tim Clark is a furniture maker in Vermont, and here he sits, with his wife and son, on one of the Shaker-type pieces he made for Park Hyatt Washington. How marvellous it is, says the gal, when owners of luxury hotels – in this case Hyatt – and their chosen designers – here, Tony Chi – commission pieces from contemporary craftsmen of a country. Tony Chi did the same when he was designing the sky-high Park Hyatt Shanghai, although there of course the pieces are modern Chinese. Here in the capital of the USA, Park Hyatt Washington has several Tim Clark pieces.
Through August 2014, the hotel is celebrating Made in the USA, a special exhibition at The Phillips Collection. It has converted one suite in the 215-room hotel, number 1002, into a USA suite. The picture shows one of Tim Clark’s rocking chairs, and building blocks from Invisible Creature WA, and a throw by Margo Petitti MA. Elsewhere there is a leather schoolboy satchel by Billykirk PA, and a desk-top mobile from Joel Hotchkiss. The walls are hung with reproductions from The Phillips, Marsden Hartley’s Off the Banks at Night; Arthur G. Dove’s Red Sun; Peppino Mangravite’s Political Exiles; John Frederick Peto’s Old Time Rack Card; and Bradley Walker Tomlin’s No.9.
We were lunching in the hotel’s street-set Blue Duck Tavern, next to its Tea Cellar (would love to have tried the Black Canadian Ice Wine Elixir!). There, in the Tavern, is the Tim Clark settle… but we sat at normal chairs, within view of the working kitchen, with one of the largest Molteni ranges I have ever seen. Everything is made in front of you. Pastry chef Naomi Gallego’s milk chocolate Guinness ice cream has recently been voted one of the best sundaes in town – it is topped with salted stout caramel, crunchy peanuts, stout cream and chocolate micro sponge. Thank goodness such decadence was not suggested at what was essentially a working lunch.
The stuffed bone marrow was actually decadence enough for mid-day and I had two pieces. Somehow such a historic dish seemed highly suitable in an ambience of stunning design, celebrating the best of this lovely country. As I left this luxury hotel, I passed the glass inner walls in the lobby that are decorated with pale pink cherry blossom, a reminder that this is Washington DC, the centre of cherry blossom in the USA.