The Ridge, an upscale hospitality-driven senior living community in Salt Lake City, is setting a new standard for senior living communities in Utah, as well as for the entire senior living industry. This community is one of the most forward-thinking communities in the market, as it fuses an exceptional balance of contemporary, head-turning design with residential elements so that residents not only feel inspired by their surroundings, they feel at home. studioSIX5, an Austin-based interior design firm with a special focus on the senior living sector, challenged itself to incorporate features one might never expect in a senior residence. Young designers at the firm took a risk as part of an opportunity to create designs which would stand out. Being creative, they gave the clients the desirable and unexpected “wow” factor. The Ridge was on board to try something new and challenge the status quo, so that’s what studioSIX5 designed.
“The Ridge delivers a considerably more boutique-hotel vibe than what people may associate with senior living,” said Shauna Revo, project design manager for studioSIX5. “While some other communities in the area may have an institutional feel, the owners of The Ridge wanted to create a community that is cutting edge, hospitality driven and upscale, a community with interior design that celebrates and enhances the natural surroundings. Located in the foothills of the Wasatch Range, we worked to maximize the spectacular views that we found at every turn. When you tour the community, you’ll see much of the design lends itself to asymmetry inspired by the topography outside.”
In addition to using natural materials such as stone and wood features, studioSIX5 incorporated a lot of earthy tones to bring the atmosphere of the local landscape inside the community. The carpets in corridors have an asymmetric pattern that simulates how the foothills meet the neighboring mountains. Blue, greens and rust colors enhance the concept. These corridors also feature decorative wood ceilings that mimic the natural geometry of the surrounding views. The combination of these textures helps break up long corridors and adds interest to an area that is usually challenging to draw positive attention. An eye-catching countertop at a chef’s table slopes down to the floor like a mountain instead of the ending abruptly at table height. The demographic in Salt Lake City is becoming more progressive, which is why this hip and upscale market is starting to emerge.
“People in Utah are down to earth, friendly and appreciative of the outdoors, which is why we decided to bring the exterior inside when imagining the design elements we would implement in the community,” said Revo. “It is certainly one of the most beautiful states in the country, so the inspiration for our designs came naturally to us. We also looked at local hospitality projects to get a feel for the local design aesthetic and demand. Aside from using natural elements, we focused on keeping that hospitality feel throughout, making sure there was no stepdown in aesthetic or quality from assisted living to memory care areas. Since the design of this community is more contemporary, we tried to soften it with natural tones and casual furnishings. It was unique to design a boutique hotel concept, but also cater to the idea that this is a home as well. Our challenge was to bridge the gap between those two concepts.”
studioSIX5 is always looking for innovative ways to engage residents and designed human-scale artwork which residents can engage with and touch. In the assisted living dining room, you will find a large structural element resembling an abacus behind the banquettes used to divide the main dining room from the bar. In a central portion of the lobby, there is a tile wall upon which a projector plays short films, graphic art and movies during active hours of the day. In memory care, designers installed an oversized xylophone that residents can play, similar to a Life-Skills station typically seen in other communities but implemented in a more artistic way. In addition to interactive artwork, the designers incorporated USB and charging ports into the furniture so that residents and guests can engage on their electronic devices no matter where they are in the community.
“Even though this is senior care, we think in terms of resort-style living as opposed to a nursing home,” said Revo. “We want to change the perceptions associated with communities for seniors. We want to give people something to talk about when they interact with our designs. Even though we take innovative risks, we make sure those risks are balanced by timeless elements and that we are not doing something just because it is trendy. We draw from what we are inspired by and have fun working with clients who are open minded and willing to take these leaps with us.”