Bringing the Oxbow to life is one big, ongoing community collaboration. From the initial idea for the hotel to the recurring events we host today, our entire model is one of cultural and creative cooperation. Here are a few:
The group that launched the Oxbow Hotel concept knew they wanted a warm and welcoming environment, yet something forward thinking and unique. A sort of “modern lodge” vibe. To achieve this they worked tirelessly alongside a design team from Shelter Architecture in Minneapolis, and SDS Architects in Eau Claire, to craft the aesthetic you find today.
Together they designed guest rooms and common areas unlike any others in our region to create a truly authentic Eau Claire and Wisconsin experience.
To help set the visual tone in The Lakely and hotel, we looked to our friend Michael Brown, the creative director of the Eaux Claires Festival, along with his partner Maria Meyer. Michael has created lighting and stage shows for The National, Grizzly Bear, Tom Petty, Bon Iver, and many more internationally touring bands.
He and Maria created the signature look for our stage and patio, as well as designed and fabricated many of the custom light fixtures in our common areas.
The custom furniture in the rooms of the Oxbow, as well as much of the furniture in the Lakely, was handcrafted using urban wood. That means the wood came from local trees taken right off the streets of Eau Claire.
When city workers take down an older tree for any reason — storms, construction, etc — our partner, Tim Brudnicki of Eau Claire Woodworks and Tree Purpose, is there to put it to good use. You can see the wood here and there in both the rooms (desks, night stands, headboards, etc) and our common areas (tables, bar stools, bar top, walls, etc.). It’s all over the place. There’s ash, white pine, birch, walnut, and more — all telling the subtle story of this place.
To adorn the walls of guest rooms at the Oxbow, we commissioned eight regional artists to create custom works inspired by the history, geography, and programming of the hotel and restaurant. Each work is then screen-printed, numbered and hand-signed by the artist.
A random assortment of between two and four works hang in each guest room. All eight prints can be viewed and are available for purchase (in limited runs) in our small retail area near the front desk. Our original eight artists include: Asahi Nagata, Landon Sheely, Leah Monson, Michael Jacobsen, Cody Bartz, Brian Moen, Janae Breunig, and Serena Wagner.
We knew we wanted an interesting public restroom for The Lakely inside the hotel. So we reached out to Keith Wyman of Concrete Pig to build us something very special. He came up with a huge, custom concrete sink that’s a scale replica of Dells Pond and the Chippewa River in Eau Claire.
Water cascades from the faucets on both the men’s and women’s sides of this shared area and carries down river to the drains. It’s unlike any other hand-washing experience this side of the Mississippi.
To give our property a homemade vibe, we partnered with Kurt Gaber from Chippewa Falls (of Gaber Signs) to create some vintage-inspired, hand-painted signage and lettering. Kurt crafted the look of our room numbers and other way finding signage, as well as painted the vintage lake-depth maps that grace the walls of rooms in the Flats. Each of the lakes featured can be found in either Eau Claire or Chippewa County. Kurt works all around the region to revive the artistic pursuit of hand painted signage and murals.
Of the many robust scenes developing in Eau Claire, local literature is perhaps the most intriguing. There’s more than one New York Times bestseller in our midst. And as is the case with our music and art, the landscape and work ethic of this place frequently in uences the writing that’s created. A handful of locally-inspired lines are painted on the walls of rooms in the Main House, as well as in the common areas and hallways. As you explore you may discover the work of author/humorist Michael Perry, novelist Nickolas Butler, poet Max Garland, author John Hildebrand, poet Jason Splichal, columnist Mike Paulus, poet Patti See, or author BJ Hollars.