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BBGM Turns 30, a Look Back

Our 30th Anniversary

In honor of BBGM's 30th anniversary, we'll be digging through the archives, pulling out all the gems, throwbacks and achievements we can get our hands on. For this first installment, a brief look at the rise of BBGM.  


Honorably Decorated

In our latest 30th Anniversary highlight, we're turning the clock back - 10 years to be precise.

2007 marked an interesting time for BBGM, and the world at large. Just prior to the 2008 recession, business was booming.  BBGM was a well-established leader in the Architecture & Design industry by this time, with a strong foothold in the hospitality industry.

Although BBGM is widely known as a leader in hospitality design, the firm's repertoire also carries a wide array of projects for federal, state and local government entities. By 2007, BBGM had amassed an impressive list of high-profile projects in the DMV region, with projects ranging from Quantico to the Pentagon.  Notable projects that received BBGM design services in 2007 included the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center in Virginia, the Pentagon Library & Conference Center, several structures at the Quantico Marine Corps Base, the Aircraft Research Support Facility in Patuxent River and the National Maritime Technology Information Center in Bethesda, to name a few.



In addition to completing notable projects in this timeframe, BBGM designs garnered no less than a dozen awards – in a single year – with merits from multiple organizations in several sectors.  BBGM industry rankings and awards came in from around the world, recognizing both new construction and rehabilitation projects, including the following honors:

  • Thailand Best Development, 
  • CNBC International Property Awards 2007
  • Merit Award, Built Category
  • AIA Western Mountain Region 2007
  • Special Award in Preservation
  • Providence Preservation Society
  • Honorable Mention: Timothy Anderson Award for Excellence in Historic Rehabilitation
  • 2007 White House Closing the Circle Award
  • Sustainable Design & Construction at the Pentagon
  • 1st Place, Best Rehabilitation/Renovation/Restoration Project
  • National Capital Chapter of Design-Build Institute of America
  • Best National Rehabilitation/Renovation/Restoration Project
  • National Design-Build Institute of America National Design-Build Award
  • Project of the Year Award, 
  • ABC Chesapeake Chapter
  • Excellence in Construction Award (Best Development Project), 
  • ABC Chesapeake Chapter
  • Award for Excellence – Best Mid-Atlantic Adaptive Reuse Condominium Community
  • Delta Associates
  • 2007 Outstanding Project Award
  • Greater New York Construction User Council
  • Pillar of New York Award
  • Preservation League of New York State


We take great pride in these accomplishments, and in providing services to those organizations that support our great nation. If the first few months are any indication, we believe that 2017 will be a stellar year, for BBGM, our associates and the industry as a whole.

Until next time, here’s to another successful decade of exploring, innovating, creating and growing.

Hyatt House Virginia Beach Designed by BBGM Now Open

The Hyatt House Hotel in Virginia Beach, designed by BBGM Architects & Interiors, is now open.

BBGM was the Architect and Interior Designer for the newest Hyatt House Hotel located in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  The newly constructed building consists of nineteen stories, an extended-stay hotel right on the boardwalk of Virginia Beach.  The hotel offers 156 extended-stay guestrooms, a fitness center, indoor swimming pool, flexible meeting spaces, and dining facilities.  The project entailed a custom design for its prime beachfront location.  One of the unique design features focuses on the location of the bar, which has a vertically operable exterior glazing, creating a flexible space that opens up to become accessible directly from the boardwalk.


“The project has been very challenging since its frontage to the beach was narrow and the client requested a design that would offer ocean views from all guestrooms,” said Bahram Kamali, AIA, Principal-in-Charge of the project. “BBGM’s design solution delivered direct ocean views to all of the guestrooms while incorporating custom design elements to meet the client’s desired ambiance.”


27th Street Hotel Associates LLC as the owner and AHP Construction, LLC as the general contractor / design-builder worked with BBGM Architects & Interiors in creating this unique destination hotel that provides a fresh extended-stay option along the Virginia Beach shoreline.


More About BBGM Leadership

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Conference Rewind: 2017 HD Expo

It’s common for most of us in the design arena to receive follow-ups, recaps, and highlights from many of the vendors we come across during the major conferences throughout the year.  We thought it might be interesting, or even helpful for some of our wonderful vendors, to hear some feedback from our MONOGRAM team who attended this year’s HD Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada.


If one thing is for sure, vendors who exhibited at this year’s HD Expo brought their ‘A’ game.  From furniture to fabrics, everyone came to play. There was no reservation when it came to making bold statements through color and the use of unique fabrics. We caught up with MONOGRAM Senior Interior Designer Heather Chilton, who attended the conference.  “This was the first time I had attended HD in quite some time, and I was not disappointed,” said Chilton.  “The market is strong, and you could feel the positive energy amongst the vendors and exhibitors.  The ability to see new product and build stronger or even new relationships made the trip all worthwhile.” 

Outdoor Blossom

HD is known for bringing a wide variety when it comes to the types and styles of furniture and manufacturers throughout the expo.  This year’s outdoor furniture displays can be summed up in a single word: strong.

Chilton elaborated, “Compared to previous years, I feel as though outdoor areas are finally getting the notability they deserve.  It’s no longer your basic teak or aluminum frames.  Outdoor areas are environments of their own and this year vendors really went beyond the boundaries to provide iconic, flexible and comfortable pieces that are suitable for a wide range of styles.”

Vendors brought unique materials to the table, making the fresh looks more resilient than ever. Take it from us in Phoenix, the outdoor furniture is no place to skimp on the design – and with the selection presented this year, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Carpet Tech

With the constant stream of technology announcements in today’s digital world, it’s easy to miss tech updates that impact manufacturing, durability, and implementation of common décor elements.  Carpet is a big-ticket item specified on a majority of hospitality design projects, and its importance cannot be understated. This year’s presentation of carpet solutions met the challenge head-on, delivering carpeting options that capitalized on impressive advances in production technology, translating to a strong selection for designers to choose from.

“I feel as though the colors and saturations presented this year, from woven carpets to prints, departed from stark trends that have become stale in multiple markets,” Chilton stated. “With the expansion of capabilities in designing a carpet, manufacturers have given designers the gift of endless possibilities.  Our designers can more easily adapt to the level of imagination appropriate when developing schemes, from printing a portrait directly onto carpet, to creating a handwoven forest with tufted rugs.”

Reality in Design

As many in the A/E/C industry have been anticipating, the use of Virtual Reality in the design process is taking hold.  This was abundantly clear at this year’s HD Expo, with a number of vendors exhibiting VR solutions that would allow for designing, decorating and touring all within the virtual environment. 

The ability to design, select products and even print a copy of the VR experience was particularly notable. 360 cameras have also come into their own, particularly as prices become more affordable on base models for this solution.  That being said, there is no rival to the immersive experience of VR, especially when conveying a design concept to a client or potential guest.

At the end of the day, feedback from this year’s HD Expo has been positive all around.  A strong showing from vendors makes for a great year ahead, full of exciting projects.  We look forward to continued advances in our industry, and seeing everyone in 2018! 



More on HD Expo

Residence Inn Designed by BBGM for Silver Spring

The 14-story Residence Inn hotel building designed by BBGM Architects is scheduled to be built at 8600 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland, as reported by the Washington Business Journal. With 5,000 square feet of meeting space and a rooftop terrace, the extended stay property will serve business travel and weekend demand. The design of the building is based on the history of Sliver Spring. 


In 1840, Francis Preston Blair discovered a spring flowing with chips of mica. The transformation of rock by water flow created dynamic shapes out of a very static element. This natural effect gave way to the birth of Silver Spring, an ever transforming community itself. The design of the hotel building uses this story as its inspiration. 


An excerpt from the Washington Business Journal:

“That location is not really good for office or apartments,” he told the WBJ. “It’s a good hotel site on a prominent corner in the middle of downtown Silver Spring.”

The group is working with BBGM Architects and Studio Partnership interiors. The property will include 5,000 square feet of meeting space, underground parking for 28 cars and a rooftop deck, Eden said. It will also have about 4,000 square feet of ground-floor retail.


The Residence Inn Silver Spring will be managed by Marriott International with delivery scheduled for 2020.


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SRCD Gets New Home, Living Room and Kitchen Included

BBGM was retained to create the new headquarters for the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD).  SRCD planned to relocate its HQ from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Washington, DC in order to recognize efficiencies and achieve closer proximity to the National Institute of Health (NIH).


Through the meticulous process of discovery meetings with the executive team and design charrette sessions, the design team came to the conclusion that SRCD’s Workplace Strategy needed to address a wide variety of meeting types and work styles.  Inherent in the nature of SRCD’s operations, meetings range from small, casual gatherings to larger scale board meetings which occur throughout the course of the year, in addition to flexible day-to-day workspace requirements.


The traditional reception area was eliminated to create a “living room” space situated adjacent to a large communal kitchen, complete with high-top table.  This family-style living room environment became the focus of the space, taking on its own personality as the “village center”.  The private offices are also designed to support the public areas, reinforcing the overall living room concept.  The space is designed to allow board gatherings and open meetings, as well as small or private get-togethers in a relaxed, hospitality-inspired atmosphere.


Comforting and transparent, the living room and “village center” concept is balanced by modern furnishings to complete the design.  Decorative panels and draperies complement the writable walls strategically placed throughout the interiors.  Natural light permeates the space, from the private offices to the central lounge and pantry, complementing, reflecting and expanding off of the healthy use of glass in the new SRCD headquarters. 


BBGM Workplace teams have worked with numerous companies, associations and government organizations throughout Washington, DC and the surrounding area in creating unique work environments that improve productivity, morale and the bottom line.  Their designs are known for incorporating out-of-the-box solutions, drawing on BBGM expertise in the hospitality, residential and mixed use markets in creating unique environments for clients and end users.


Stay tuned for additional SRCD photography and project insights.


Click here to learn more about BBGM Workplace Interiors.

Design Manifestos: Israel Olmos

Senior Designer Israel Olmos is the most recent featured designer on Design Manifestos. This interview with Modelo grants readers a personal perspective on his journey through the profession, sources of continued inspiration and predictions for the future of architecture.


An excerpt from Design Manifestos:

On becoming an architect

The truth is that I became an architect by accident. I started a business right after finishing high school, which I ran with my brother for ten years. Life circumstances took me back to school, and when it was time to pick a major, I chose architecture because I had some regular clients in my used car dealership that were architects. They would receive cars as payments and then would sell them to me for an excellent price. So I saw Architecture as a way to expand my business, little did I know that I would fall in love with design and architecture. I have not looked back since.

On discovering his voice as a designer

I believe any architectural designer could never forget the first presentation they give directly to a client. Seeing a group of people paying close attention to what are you saying, understanding, and appreciating the work that you and your team put so much effort into is extremely memorable. At that moment I realized the kind of responsibility we as designers have to create meaningful projects that, in one way or another would change people's lives. Since design is so subjective, it's hard to pick somebody specific that influenced me as a designer. I am convinced that I have learned something from every single person I worked with in multiple projects. This includes, of course, junior staff that remind you of those big dreams that you had when you first finished school.


Israel Olmos is an active member of the American Institute of Architects and the U.S. Green Building Council, as well as an Associate and Senior Designer with BBGM. His work on major projects around the world has been recognized by the design community and industry publications alike. His recent work includes the new InterContinental DC Wharf, historic renovation of the W Hotel DC and the recently completed DC Ball Park Hotel.


Click here to read the full article.

Click here to learn more about BBGM.

Melba Santos Featured on Design Manifestos

Design Director Melba Santos is the most recent featured designer on Design Manifestos. The interview grants readers a more personal perspective on discovering her voice, sources of design inspiration and her rise a prominent designer.


An excerpt from Design Manifestos:

On discovering her voice as a designer

After graduating, I worked in the International Retail/ Restaurant Mixed-Use field and was lucky enough to be provided opportunities to explore creative problem solving in a team environment. It was this exchange of ideas that led me to pursue a collaborative environment that included continual mentorship from colleagues in Architecture and Interior Design.

From my broad exposure to design came a focus on the Hospitality and Restaurant industry, which I consider the time when I discovered my voice. I was hired by MONOGRAM (BBGM) because of my ability to “tell a story” through design and every story is different which keeps me challenged and energized. I understand that Hospitality and Restaurant design requires an all-encompassing approach as well as balance of technical and creative solutions to achieve a homogenous end result that can be appreciated by any given Brand, Client or Visitor. 

Being a painter, the discovery of things beyond physical grasp has always intrigued me. I try to imagine who a guest will be before he/she leaves their home and what the experience will be like for them when they enter a space I have collaborated on.


Melba Santos is a Design Director and Senior Associate with MONOGRAM at BBGM, and has worked on prestigious hospitality projects around the world.  Many of her recent projects have been featured in major publications and received praise from the design community, including Paséa Hotel & Spa, Irvine Spectrum Marriott and the Kansas City Marriott at Country Club Plaza.


Click here to read the full article on Design Manifestos.

Click here to learn more about MONOGRAM.

HotelNewsNow: Designing Resorts That Don’t Isolate Single Travelers

Single Traveler

Kathryn Mickel provides insights for enhancing accommodations for single travelers in this article for HotelNewsNow.  Safety and security are, of course, primary concerns for many single travelers.  Mickel, a hospitality design veteran and Principal at BBGM / MONOGRAM at BBGM, takes it one step further by discussing design, technology and service aspects that can greatly improve the quality of stay for those traveling solo.

An excerpt from the article:

From the design perspective, discreetly designed and strategically placed security cameras monitor public areas without intrusion to the guest. The day of uniformed security guards has transformed to plain-clothed security officials who are often visible opening doors and welcoming guests or unobtrusively monitoring resort perimeters. Great photosensitive lighting throughout both interior and exterior spaces provide convenience and safety. Keycard access to elevators and room entry tied to personal devices all provide a heightened sense of security for singles and groups alike.

Recent decor design trends have also greatly enhanced the experience of the single traveler. Lobby and lounge spaces have evolved almost universally to become hubs of activity. Food-and-beverage spaces are often integrated in public lobby or lounge spaces, and offer a comfortable place to dine alone or enjoy a media event in an active environment. These multifunctional gathering spaces offer the single traveler the choice to sit alone and enjoy observing the active environment or to join others at communal areas to meet, dine and share conversation. Some operators host complimentary wine tastings in the evening hours, which encourages interaction, or may host popcorn and movie nights by the pool. Offering choices to the single guest to control their personal experience is key.


Click here to read the full article.

Click here to learn more about Kathryn Mickel.