Project Debut: The Shepherd Hotel

Explore the inviting, thoughtful art moments in the new hotel’s public space

Every name has a story and for The Shepherd Hotel, that name is deeply personal. Inspired by his daughter who has Down syndrome, Rick Hayduk, a seasoned hotel leader, had long aspired to operate a hotel and employ individuals with disabilities. In 2011, Clemson’s Head Football Coach, Dabo Swinney, introduced Rick to Rich Davies, a third-generation real estate developer and involved Clemson alum. The three have come together with the goal of positively impacting the lives of others through creating Shepherd Hotels in collaboration with ClemsonLIFE.

A good Shepherd positively impacts the flock by caring for them, loving them, and tending to their every need. As Swinney says, “a shepherd’s No. 1 job is to serve and we want to serve guests, our team and the community.”


Photos courtesy of Shepherd Hotel and IIG Design

At The Shepherd Hotel, every room is curated for comfort, every event features a backdrop of spectacular views, and every guest is invited to experience the heartfelt hospitality of our team. With that goal in mind, the KBAA team was recruited by IIG Design to help bring that vision to life in the public spaces.


The Lobby

Within the hotel, a two-story spiral staircase allows for natural light to shine through the lower level interior corridors. To emphasize the airy space and continue to tell the local story, a custom light fixture influenced by the local flora and fauna was commissioned. KBAA creatives started by researching species of trees in South Carolina; they even went so far as to inspect the branches of trees to find one that best emulates how they were shaped.



The team then collaborated to create custom branches that catch light and emulate a dew drop falling from a branch. The glass was sourced through a glass artisan to create 100 custom hand-blown, delicate dew drops. Gold was then chosen as the color of the branches due to its ability to beautifully reflect light.

One of the perhaps most underappreciated roles that KBAA plays in a project is the actual installation, which, in this case, was certainly a challenge. The creatives and the artist worked to find a balance between a delicate and ethereal presentation, while also remaining functional and durable. The team went through all sorts of different materials before ultimately settling on aircraft cable, which was thick enough to be functional but also match the aesthetic for delicacy.



Photos courtesy of Shepherd Hotel and IIG Design


In the Shepherd Hotel’s lobby, a fireplace, hanging swing and other curated design elements create a warm and relaxing environment for guests. To emphasize the homey and relaxing feeling, KBAA sourced a pre-existing tapestry piece to create a clever and subtle donor wall. We used a local seamstress to embellish the piece and create a brand new piece of art unique to the hotel. The tapestry was also engineered to be a functional piece where donor names can be added in the future; bits and parts of the mission statement were also added into the piece by the KBAA team. It’s another example of the inviting feeling throughout The Shepherd.


The Thomas Bar and Lounge

From the third-floor Thomas Bar to rooms with personal balconies, The Shepherd Hotel combines indoor and outdoor elements to cultivate a natural environment. On the way to the bar up the staircase, the KBAA graphics team created a custom wallcovering that was reminiscent of Blue Ridge mountains in South Carolina. With a vision of emulating a woodblock lithograph, the graphics team created the image based on an etching, which gives it a historic, hand-made feeling. A range of green tones were used that relate to the finishes within the Thomas Bar and fade the sky into a subtle neutral tone.


Photos courtesy of Shepherd Hotel and IIG Design


The nods to the area’s history continues in the bar, first with a large wallcovering behind the bar that bears a historical image of Fort Hill, which was home to John C. Calhoun and then Anna and Thomas Clemson, and is now a National Historic Landmark on the Clemson University campus. Nearby, two custom rope art pieces were inspired by intricate filigree and military brocade. The creative team took inspiration from military coats in both the color and the rope itself, and then worked with the artist to shape the rope into a one-of-a-kind piece that feels natural and organic.


Photos courtesy of Shepherd Hotel and IIG Design


Finally, the graphics team flexed its fine art skills with the Anna Clemson silhouette, using text that was sourced from letters from Anna Clemson and printed on paper that was then laser cut to the shape of the silhouette. Anna Maria Calhoun Clemson, the wife of Thomas Green Clemson and daughter of John C. Calhoun, embodied the true role of an alma mater, the nurturing mother, as a co-founder of the institution that bears her married name. The motto of the Clemson University Women’s Alumni Council campaign is, “Her Land, His Plan,” reminding all that the Clemsons had a collective vision of what would be built at Fort Hill following their deaths.


Photos courtesy of Shepherd Hotel and IIG Design


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