This restaurant, lobby bar, and cafe are located in the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, originally designed by John Portman in 1967 and the first of many Portman hotels to feature a signature interior atrium. The trio of projects is part of a series of commissions undertaken at existing Hyatt hotels that aim to create dining establishments on par with those in the city they are located. In keeping with the Atlanta property’s mid-century Modernist legacy, the designs for these three venues are designed to be clean, modern, and timeless with warmth and individuality.
The largest of the three is Sway (a contraction of “Southern Way”), a 7,000-square-foot all-day restaurant and wine bar. Located closest to the hotel entrance, Sway replaces an existing restaurant that had no separation from the lobby—and no distinct identity. The new eatery, conceived as a modern American version of a European-style “Grand Café, is demarcated within the hotel lobby and also with its own specific identity. Three open ‘boxes’ are aligned with spaces between them that define a ‘façade’. These boxes are made of white oak lumber and vertical glass slats. The variety of glass allows views through in each direction, and also animates what is seen; furthermore it acts to delineate this ‘façade’. Think cafes around a piazza or private establishments overlooking a public place. The extensive use of wood on these ‘box forms’ within a corporate hotel is also establishes a restaurant identity that is not ‘corporate’ – where the goal is to not only capture hotel guests, but to also attract others from the city.
Sway is broken up into three areas. The central area, where the entry is, has a large open kitchen that puts forth a commitment to food, and also converts to a hefty buffet during breakfast. To the right of the entry is the main dining area, with diverse seating types, wood walls, mirrors, and is also fronted with two of the boxes with their own seating. At the far left of the restaurant is the flex dining, which is slightly more upscale and is for daily dining when demand is high, but mainly for event dining.