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New Spirit in the West

Andrea Cox Elemente Magazine
New Spirit in the West

Ce De Ce Design reawakens Nelson BC’s Spirit Bar in the haunted halls of the Hume Hotel

Unexplained creaking stairs, elevator doors opening and closing by themselves, and cold unexplained draughts of air – just some of the spine-chilling phenomena rumoured to occur at Nelson’s Hume Hotel.

General manager Ryan Martin recounts an incident from a Christmas Eve years ago when a night auditor was alone working the graveyard shift. The hotel was supposedly empty – of the living, anyway. All of a sudden the elevator doors began opening and closing in rapid succession and then just as suddenly stopped. “We’ve certainly had many accounts of ghostly activities,” says Martin.
In fact, the rumour of haunting has run so rampant that last year Nelson’s Paranormal League filmed a Blair Witch - type documentary on the hotel entitled Haunt at the Hume.

“The stories really give the hotel that sense of mystique,” says Martin. But for him it’s never been about ghosts and goblins – “It’s about the spirit of past owners, the guests who have stayed here and the staff who have come and gone during the hotel’s 110-year history.”
In 1980, Martin’s parents bought the hotel and began a restoration project to rejuvenate the interior of the hotel to its original grandeur. The project has involved a series of renovations, the latest one being a complete transformation of the nightclub located in the basement – where the Paranormal League found most of the ghostly activity.

Martin wanted to change the 80s-type historic sports bar into more of a chic hangout. “I wanted a place that was conducive to Nelson’s sophisticated music scene,” says Martin. “The younger set here is into the European techno-, break beat, house music-thing and Nelson has become a destination stop for many international DJs.”

So in the fall of 2006 Martin turned to Ce De Ce design in Calgary for inspiration. Ce De Ce had designed Martin’s favorite Vancouver club, Ginger 62.

“We were on a limited budget, so we had to figure out how to create a fantastic bar and not have it cost a fortune,” explains Connie Young, principal at Ce De Ce, adding that “Very creative ideas are often generated when one is challenged with budget constraints.”
Martin wanted a retro vintage theme to play on the sense and history of the property’s spirit – and spririts. The team at Ce De Ce took this concept and ran with it. “The whole spirit thing has so many interpretations,” explains Doris Martin, the project’s lead designer. “It can relate to ghosts, to the essence of those who have touched the hotel throughout history – not to mention that spirit is another name for alcohol.”

The team then went a step further and incorporated the spirit of rock and roll into the concept. In conjunction with Foundry Creative, Ce De Ce designed and draped the walls with a series of 3-D acrylics that depict deceased rock ‘n’ roll greats from Nick Drake and Jim Morrison to Bob Marley and John Lennon. “The art really sets the tone for the whole design,” says Young.
In keeping with the club’s ghostlike theme, the design team wanted the art to appear translucent and to glow with a smoky edge for an enhanced sense of the mystical.