The Drifter New Orleans: Playfully creative design…

To be a Drifter you must leave the old propaganda behind you.

James A Michener’s novel The Drifters written in 1971 is ironically still relevant today for the universal themes it is preoccupied with. Six young people from across the world randomly meet up in Torremolinas Spain to follow their hearts into adventuring where life takes them.  They are attempting to find their place in the confusing world that brought forth the Vietnam war in the 1960’s.  The 1960’s is unique for many reasons not least the Counter Cultural movement (of which reactions to the Vietnam war and civil rights became central) that impacted youth around the world; the novel is in many ways a response to those circumstances.

While Michener tapped into the zeitgeist of the late 1960’s so The Drifter design team have keyed into the zeitgeist of the present day by putting everything on the table in a bid to capture the spirit of the Beat generation.

A skein of adventure imbues the unique design language which free-spirited travellers will identify with.

The Drifter takes in beach shack + mid-century modern + what Mum and Dad have in the shed + a nod to a soft Memphis vibe.

Inspired by the Beat Generation and footloose spirit of postwar America, The Drifter combines streamline modernism and eclectic design…

The designers have displayed both prescience and sagacity in acknowledging that without the past we have no present or future.

Historical periods cannot be neatly separated. It would have been a travesty to completely erase the original building from the historical timeline.

new orleans iconIt would not have made sense because that would mean losing part of the identification with previous generations and the unique history of Tulane Avenue.  The iconic and enduring TEL neon from that time is emblematic of those all important, connections.

A denial of trends means unconventional and unconventional means that confident outsiders will love it.

The Lobby Bar is a case in point and the look is decidedly eclectic.  Cool design-savvy but cash strapped Milennial’s are setting up home for the first time; they buy some of their own things, raid Mum and Dad’s shed for other “old stuff” and friends pass on perfectly good but redundant furniture they no longer need.  We’ve all been there!

The Drifter is distinctly 21st century, and eclectic design inevitably means a denial of trends: palettes and furnishings skewed a little off centre to remind travellers and community alike, that here is a new means to a new end.

And it starts with the tropical print wallpaper which trumpets “lay back and relax”, which has been fully apprehended by just arrived, Room 18.  They have rung through and ordered two Rum Punches to go with a few sides from the Mexican pop-up, poolside in ten and not a + 50 in sight  (secretly, they believe themselves to be twin Che Guevaras?)

The Drifter hotel is an attitude, a mood and a statement about individuality and independence.

The pared back look in the Lobby Bar and intention is not only entrenched courtesy of the vibrant tropical wallpaper but also by way of the pale timber ceiling, the platoon of plants and the terrazzo walkway which speak to the 1970s, yet put to use in this way, spells invigorating 2018 design.

Great foresight has been shown by the design team because it means generations of people will identify with the style, from baby boomers to, well – those millennials.

new orleans hotelThere is a determined bias towards having a good time.  By association, the aesthetics in the Lobby Bar broadly reference the tropics, and tropical connotations lead us to leisurely, lazy humid afternoons sipping ice cold gin and tonics.

The environments we create are filled with the warmth, humour and richness of the stories each room will tell.

By implication that means opting out of the rat race, life is too short for stress, so get on with fulfilling your dreams in a scintillating, not a minute to lose, way.

The designers have prudently connected the look to both drifting time as well as drifting culture. 

A quasi-Raffles / Danish look from the 1960s is keeping company with a soft Memphis-style.  “At the time, the collective (and ensuing movement) known as Memphis was reacting to the austerity of modernism…Memphis designers had an affection for cheap plastic and a mishmash of shapes and colors.”

The former’s rattan pendants and bamboo inspired scheme complement’s the latter’s pale blue and red furnishing’s.  The mash of design styles has been arrived at intuitively creating a personal look, thus the impression is homely yet seen through a lens of creativity.

The atmosphere is not forced; a confident, playful and inviting impression is projected.

The idea of the beach shack and the tropics is fundamental to the mood of The Drifter.  The tropics as a concept is connected to a sense of freedom.  Freedom is inherent to the “drifting vibe” which informs the atmosphere generally at the hotel but also in the Espresso Bar.

The interiors are designed to impart a sense of fun, to relax and expand your view of life, and to connect with other like-minded travellers.

In addition to a café serving up speciality coffee from La Colombe and baked goodies, the culinary program sees a rotation of chic food trucks… Foodies and cultural aficionados rejoice!

The heart of the hotel is a tropical courtyard and pool that hosts a range of cultural programming such as immersive art shows and live music.

A cantilevered disco ball and a Barragan-inspired wall adorn the pool area…

Ad interim, the Mexican pop-up has delivered and the liberal hero’s from 18 are swaggin’ by the pool in a wicked state of nonchalance!  Seriously, the headless straw hats (Peoples poppin’) and vintage caftans expose a Bedouin penchant of the finest camel riding kind. “No mames!

The Rum Punches miraculously match the pink chairs, which look amazing with the Breezers, they happily guzzle and snap, trading poetic and political witticisms well into the night!

The guestrooms include custom-made furniture, troweled concrete walls and Oaxacan tilework. Oaxaca is a state in southern Mexico known for its indigenous cultures.

The accommodations are designed for universal appeal, albeit on a softer note than the Espresso and Lobby bars.  They are exactly what they proclaim to be.  At once casual and chic, the rooms incorporate a beach-bumbing mentality with Moroccan-style infusion courtesy of the bespoke timber furniture and floors.

The tiled floors in combination with stucco walls inspire identification with the romance of travelling to far off climes on the hunt for a unique cultural experience. 

The attention to detail is focused on the premise that the rooms need to look and feel cool and spartan.  They need to offer a calm and relaxed escape from the outside world.  They do this with understated confidence.

The Drifter is

…shining a light on a newly hip side of the city by acting as a melting pot for the local and global “drifters” who end up there.

Having retired to 18 the twins convinced they are hipsters have rung through and ordered a coupl’a ‘chillin’s to go with a few enchiladas (Mum is no longer answering) but the night is still young – Lookin’ for adventure, and whatever comes our way…

Global drifters will “get” the cultural, historical and social nuances The Drifter offers.

Unless otherwise stated all quotes in italics are from The Drifter website.

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