University of Cincinnati Collections
The Terrace Plaza Hotel, located in downtown Cincinnati, was designed by Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill and was the first building to bring widespread acclaim to that firm. When it opened in 1948 it was deemed to be the most progressive American hotel of its day. SOM designed everything for the hotel including the furniture, fabrics, uniforms, matchbooks, china, and silverware. The integration of modern art in the hotel's lobby and restaurants was heralded as wildly successful. The client, John Emery, a great benefactor to the city of Cincinnati, in addition to choosing the architecture firm, also had a hand in selecting the avant-garde artists: Alexander Calder, Joan Miró, Saul Steinberg, and Jim Davis.