December 2016 //

Content to Ascend

By Preston Mossing


This idea that life is about our journey, as much as it is about our arrival, is something I have found to be true in my own life and is what I have found to be the narrative of MG2’s PLACE Resorts project. This human desire to be a part of nature and experience its beauty from a place of well-being and security was where PLACE Resorts was born.


After picking your way through thick underbrush to avoid a flooded portion of trail and clutching at weeds on the edge of what seemed like a sheer cliff, you settle upon the mountain’s peak. All that remains are the fruits of each labored step, which carried you up each vertical foot to the vantage point you now occupy.

It could be that not everyone has or holds the desire to climb a mountain, those high cathedrals filling the horizon, but I do believe we have all experienced a moment of effort resulting in accomplishment and appreciate how much sweeter the victory is when our strength is brought to its limit. I want to propose a simple idea: We do not hike (or work, or design buildings) because it is comfortable. It certainly is not due to the effort required. We do these things and work through difficulty to behold the beauty from atop the mountain made better by our experience and grit.

Now this is beginning to sink deeper into philosophy than I would like, but this idea that life is about our journey, as much as it is about our arrival, is something I have found to be true in my own life and is what I have found to be the narrative of MG2’s PLACE Resorts project. This human desire to be a part of nature and experience its beauty from a place of well-being and security was where PLACE Resorts was born.

In March 2016, MG2 was approached by Design in Public, a branch of AIA Seattle, and asked to participate in the annual Seattle Design Festival highlighting design in the city. We began by filling a room with our design leaders to discuss ideas for MG2’s involvement in this city-wide initiative. From these meetings, we determined to merge the festival’s theme of “design change” with our firm’s experience in hospitality: a micro-luxury “go anywhere” hotel pod as a response to disruptors in the hospitality industry.

From there, we took these ideas, vetted by our design leaders and brought a large portion of our firm together to brainstorm the vision of what these micro-luxury units could be. Given a few parameters, associates and principals alike presented their designs to a panel who distilled successful elements from each idea to come to a buildable, aesthetic and functional design.

After design, we engaged every studio to produce renderings, marketing materials and a team of builders to construct a full-scale mockup of one of the micro-luxury pods. The end result was a 10’ x 8’ collapsible module that could fold out into a 98 SF luxury hotel room complete with wood finishes, queen size bed and wall mounted turtle shell. Beyond the buildable portion, our concept contained a microsite, brochures, coloring books, VR experiences and concept hotel locations. It was an immersive experience.

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This process engaged about a third of our 200-person Seattle office and brought people from different studios and levels together; lunch hours, weekends, paint splotches on the dress shoes and stubbed toes were all given to this project. It can certainly be said it was a challenging project. Yet I believe this firm is better as a result. We elevated our design to meet the demands of the changing field of hospitality, created a usable concept that could be applied to many different scenarios and we learned the benefit of taking on a project where principals and associates together had a voice, enabling us to lead and grow as designers.

So maybe it wasn’t just you in the underbrush or clutching at weeds after all…


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