Sawyer & Company Reveals Design of the New Canopy Memphis Downtown


We are pleased to unveil a look into the design process behind the brand-new interiors of the 174-room Canopy Memphis. Located in the heart of historic downtown just around the corner from the legendary Beale Street, the Canopy Memphis features a design narrative that captures the vibrant spirit and cultural legacy of the city in which it resides.


Our team approaches every project by first bringing to life a location’s unique history, and the Canopy Memphis was no exception. We began the process by defining an overarching theme for the narrative, which resulted in what is coined “Steel and Smoke at the Delta” – tying geography and culture with a single ethos. The designs are in one sense inspired by the major transportation methods that have historically defined the city; vintage automobiles on Route 61, the “Blues Highway”, steel bridges, and steamboats that have churned down the Mississippi River.


Inside, the property opens with palettes, textures, and design details that are driven from notions of Memphis’s lively music culture, including the nearby Beale Street and local cuisine. Radio stations, musical instruments, and musicians are layered with smoke lingering beneath bright stage lights from Memphis’s signature barbeque, then conceptually layered again with the taste of bourbon. The space itself becomes a celebration and experience of local culture and history of downtown Memphis. Large scale metal structure and intricate mechanical details combine with brass and glossy finishes with vintage accents throughout the common spaces. Blackened steel and wood details complement the music-inspired art installations, contrasting fading layers, and graphics.


The Welcome Moment draws inspiration from automotive lacquer finishes and shapes – specifically the classic Ford Thunderbird – with a Route 61 map and signage reinforcing the design narrative throughout. Cars and cables are recurring themes, reiterated by a stunning floating smoke art installation in the social seating area. The Restaurant and Social Seating space features wood panels, glass patterns, and colorful accents with smokey mirrors and butcher blocks. The artwork references sheet music, cigars, and barbeque smoke, along with nearby Beale Street.


The Retreat and Business Zone features artwork inspired by steam and smoke, brass and steamboat engines, and implements architectural metal frames, patterns reminiscent of sky and water, and structured ceiling trays. Throughout the public spaces, the architecture is accented by skylights, custom millwork and metal work, an open kitchen, and a fireplace. The furniture plan utilizes bourbon-colored tufted leathers, partnered with complementary textures like wood, brass, and marble with clean mid-century and traditional shapes.


The Guest Rooms are inspired by the story of local guitar musicians woven with the staging of a recording studio and musical instruments. Details and finishes on the furniture are those found in a recording studio, furnished with overlay area rugs in cream and charcoal, blackened steel accents, and a woven cane headboard that overhangs the sumptuous bedding. The upholstered bed bases and headboard panels are offset by deep blue vinyl accents, and tobacco-colored leather look vinyl chairs sit beneath an ebonized wooden desk frame. Wall sconces recall microphones, and car seat details are layered in the seating throughout. Quartz tabletops complete the spaces, as open closets allow guests easy access and visibility to their belongings while traveling.


The Canopy Memphis has 174 guestrooms including two suites, and our design includes the entirety of the Guestroom Corridors, Elevator Lobbies, Transfer Lounge, Boardroom and Business Center, and the Public Spaces – including the Reception, Social Seating, Retreat, Meeting Room, Fitness Room, the Dining, Bar, Café and Lounge.


View more design work in the Sawyer & Company portfolio, here.

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