photography by Jerald Grimes
ASSIGNMENT: design Dallas Stars’ owner Tom Hicks’ suite at the American Airlines Center and make it “manly.” The only stipulation: it has to be designed, approved, and installed in 14 weeks. Alexandra Champalimaud of New York-based Alexandra Champalimaud and Associates got the job.
Tom’s suite feels like the inside of a vintage auto, very leather. The ivory-colored bucket chairs swivel (manly!). The box chairs were re-upholstered with the Imbuya wood and black leather. The English buffalo-hide rug, which is recessed into the acrylic floor, is a quarter-inch thick and spur proof: buffalo hide is used to polish diamonds. Extra seating at the bar ups the crowd capacity to 18. The parchment ceiling panel lights can be dimmed for mood settings. The platinum handrail is studded with—what else?—hockey pucks.
All of the AA Center’s 142 luxury suites have a common design theme—except this one. Tom gave Alexandra carte blanche, and she and architect Quincey F. Nixon went into high gear, installing a sleek but perfectly restrained design for the 435-square-foot room. The walls are covered with exotic Imbuya wood veneer imported from West Africa and selected for the wood grain’s linear qualities, which move away from the Cup. The right wall hides more storage, coats, and tech toys than a North Dallas master closet.
With limited space, intelligent storage design was paramount to the project. The bar is tucked into the corner. The walls house all of the conveniences of home (well, Tom Hicks’ home): a titanium-fused, crowd-proof stainless steel sink, refrigerator, icemaker, dishwasher, and drawers for chips and salsa. And, of course, coordinating china for 30. The suite is wired with three multi-media monitors. Like the linear qualities of the Imbuya, the black Venetian-stucco walls and ceiling are with etched vertical lines to create movement.
Who needs art when your team has won the Cup? Alexandra kept it simple. At one end of the suite is the industry grail, a replica of the Stars’ Stanley Cup from the 1999-2000 championship series. Behind the Cup, Alexandra had the names of the team and Stars’ owners etched into the elephant-embossed, camel-colored leather walls.