In 1960, Al was commissioned by the Alessio Brothers to plan and carry out the first renovation and restoration of the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, California since its establishment in 1885. Being a known Hollywood set designer and Art Director-turned-Industrial Designer, Al’s portfolio was already garnering attention by the local hotel and restaurant industry.
Being from Chicago, Al was seen as an outsider in the eyes of San Diego locals who were skeptical of whether or not he was the right choice for the job. However, Al’s training in fine art and industrial design gave, as well as his Hollywood experience, gave him a keen eye, an empathy for the type of work that needed to be done, and an accurate sense of scale even in his initial renderings.
The Hotel Del Coronado had become run-down and was in need of a renovation. The hotel was ascqured by the Alessio brothers, who’s first goal was to renovate and restore the hotel to its original state. When they brought Al on board for the job, they knew that the locals, as well as they employees, were uneasy about any changes that would potentially be made to the hotel.
Al took time and care to make sure that his restorations would be true to the original 1885 Victorian stylings, from the designs right down to the materials. His commission included redesign and restorations of the hotel’s Victorian elevators, The Victorian Room lounge, the columns and bay window of the main floor, the hotel’s patio design, as well as the Crown Room.
See the original 1961 article about the redesign here.