Cleveland Indians Model Suite at Progressive Field
The impetus behind the renovation of a new Suite for the Cleveland Indians, the first step in a multi-year/phase master plan, is to re-integrate the experience of the suite with the ballpark itself. Baseball park suite design appears to be an exercise in monotony. Visiting suites is similar to the experience of walking into hotel rooms around the country; they are anonymous, generic, and worst of all bear no measurable connection to the ballpark that houses them. At the same time suites are often seen as an extension of a business interest or suite-holder, akin to inviting someone into your home or office. Our project is to bring a measure of the ballpark back into the suite and create a unique framework for the social atmosphere having a suite implies.
We started by stripping the existing suite back to its bones; exposing the ceiling to increase the volume of the suite, opening the wall to the park through fully retractable glass partitions, and establishing a polished concrete floor. A typical suite layout, where food and cabinets are placed against the walls, results in cluster seating and awkward unconnected standing. Rethinking this layout, we chose to occupy the middle of the suite with an island for users to socialize around, more akin to modern entertaining tendencies. This provides more diverse areas for gathering and frees the perimeter up for movement and branding.
The entry and restroom is clad in tongue and groove walnut with an open closet area to evoke the experience of the players' locker rooms. The feature wall is designed as a series of illuminated memorabilia cases bringing authentic artifacts such as shoes, jerseys, gloves, autographed baseballs, and trophies out of storage and imbuing each suite with an authenticity of its own. These cases are set into an astro-turf clad wall which brings the field into the suite while reinterpreting its use.
Ultimately, the project for the Model Suite is to establish a framework for multiple suite renovations moving forward. While materials and specifics may cater to different audiences the suite establishes core parameters set around authenticity and an attitude about the need to integrate the suite experience with the feel of the ballpark and spirit of the game.