Hnedak Bobo Group architects rebrand as HBG Design

See original article in The Commercial Appeal

The city’s largest architecture firm has changed its name, signature color and slogan as well as address.

Instead of Hnedak Bobo Group, it’s now HBG Design.

Instead of green, it’s now red-orange.

Instead of “Elevating Design,” it’s now “Designing Experience.”

Instead of 104 S. Front, it’s now the 23rd and 24th floors of the One Commerce Square tower at 40 S. Main.

And why not? Co-founders Greg Hnedak and Kirk Bobo are no longer principals. The 100-employee firm has new leadership.

“It’s about representing who we are as a firm in 2017 and who we want to be as a firm,” Rick Gardner said of re-branding with the help of the marketing firm Farmhouse. Gardner is HBG Design’s practice leader and one of the 16 design principals.

It’s still the same firm that designed FedEx world headquarters, Guest House at Graceland, Opera Memphis and Beale’s Hard Rock Cafe as well as casinos, hotels, resorts and restaurants across the nation.

And the list of current projects in its pipeline has never been longer, Gardner said.

What is much shorter is the firm’s name. Reducing firms’ names to initials is a trend. For example, Looney Ricks Kiss is now LRK. Askew Nixon Ferguson is now ANF Architects.

“As guys retire, die, move along, the younger guys move in and they don’t want to lose the benefit they have in the brand,” marketing consultant John Malmo said. “They want to shorten it and (HBG) shortens it. And they want to retain a semblance of what they were without going to something brand new.”

HGB Design moved into its new headquarters Oct. 31 after spending $1.9 million fleshing out a high-concept design. The idea was to create a contrast between edgy minimalism and refinement.

The minimal:  Floors stripped to concrete and polished, many interior walls removed to create open spaces, and ceilings made taller by exposing the structural beams and mechanical equipment.

The sleek:  The prominent wood-and-iron stair case connecting the two floors has the presence of sculpture. The office furniture and work stations are so modern that vendor Spaces/Knoll Furniture will show future clients the HBG Design space as an example of design possibilities.

“The contrast between those two things creates a lot of energy and some really nice things here,” Gardner said.

But the entire space merely sets the stage for the star of the show, which is the panoramic view in all directions. HBG Design uses glass, glass and more glass to let everyone see across the Mississippi deep into the Arkansas Delta, the other Downtown towers and the vast stretches toward East and South Memphis.

For example, the main conference rooms on the 23rd floor have glass walls so the view for those in the lobby is expanded 180 degrees to take in the Hernando DeSoto Bridge and points north.

“This is one of the great rivers of the world,” Gardner said of the Mississippi. “It’s not just any river. So this is a special place. I think this space is unlike anything in Memphis.”

And ‘Employee of the Year’ goes to…

Sr. Graphic Designer, Matt Dildine was named 2016 ‘Employee of the Year’ by HBG Design! Congratulations Matt! Thank you for your service to the firm, and for just being an awesome person.


Congrats to Alex on receiving your NCIDQ certifications!

Congrats to HBG Design Interior Designers Julia (left) and Alex (right) on receiving your NCIDQ certifications!

Casino Style: Dike Bacon Weighs in on “Making Money Beyond the Casino Floor”

"The challenge is not to define products that appeal to one audience or another, but to take cues from all generational perspectives and customer demands, and incorporate them in new and exciting ways."

Dike Bacon, Principal, HBG Design, as quoted in Casino Style magazine


Entertainment Tonight Goes Inside the Guest House at Graceland With Priscilla Presley

It’s not every day that one of our designs is featured on Entertainment Tonight! Watch out Hollywood, here we come!

Watch the videos here at Entertainment Tonight.

ET has been a frequent guest at Graceland and now Priscilla Presley is showing ET the Guest House, a part of the beloved tourist attraction that lets visitors experience how Elvis would live today.

Exterior Photo: Copyright Jeffrey Jacobs Photography

The Guest House at Graceland Earns AAA Four-Diamond Rating

Photos Copyright Jeffrey Jacobs Photography

In the two weeks since opening The Guest House at Graceland, the 450-room luxury hotel has hosted two sold-out weekends and earned a AAA Four Diamond Hotel rating in the process. Graceland's® already-popular resort hotel joins the exclusive ranks of top hotels and resorts in the country that have earned the coveted Four Diamond distinction.

"The AAA Four Diamond Award ratings are among the most well-known and respected distinctions in the global travel industry," said Keith Hess, vice president and managing director of The Guest House at Graceland. "We are honored to receive the award as one of the most prestigious hotels in the country so early in our operation."

AAA Four Diamond lodgings are defined by their refined and stylish design and décor, with upscale physical attributes, and they offer a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail. Resorts and hotels undergo rigorous evaluations from AAA's professional inspectors, and must meet specific criteria to earn the award. The exclusive Four Diamond group represents just six percent of the nearly 28,000 AAA/CAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels.

Inspired by Elvis' personal style and the iconic Graceland Mansion, The Guest House at Graceland opened on October 27, 2016 and is the most significant enhancement to Graceland since it opened to the public in 1982. It is the largest hotel project in Memphis in over 90 years. The resort hotel, which is situated just steps from Graceland Mansion, features 430 guest rooms and 20 specialty suites with design and décor supervised by Priscilla Presley. The hotel also features two full-service restaurants, a lobby bar, a 464-seat theater, outdoor pool and conference, and event and catering facilities.

The primary design goal for The Guest House at Graceland was to create a resort which would complement and celebrate Graceland Mansion – almost as if Elvis was adding a guest house to his original home – without taking away the Mansion's prominence as the focal point. The warm, welcoming spirit of southern hospitality that Elvis embodied at Graceland was a big inspiration to the design process and a key driver of the design.

HBG Design, also based in Memphis – one of the top ten leading hospitality design firms in the United States, designed The Guest House at Graceland, working closely with Priscilla Presley and the team at Graceland.

View the full release on

See Inside: Elvis Presley Fans Can Now Sleep At Graceland's Guest House

It was 30 years in the making, but the 450-room Guest House at Graceland, which is just a hop, skip and a jump from Elvis Presley‘s actual Graceland home, which has historic landmark status guaranteeing its preservation, opened to the public today for the first time, and Today got a tour from Priscilla Presley, which you can watch in the video.

“Elvis loved detail and he was so stylish himself,” Presley told Today contributor Jenna Bush Hager, “He had just such a flair. And actually that’s really what this is all about — its flair, its taste. It’s beautiful, it’s comfortable. I mean, everywhere you look, Elvis is here.”

Watch the video and read the article at

Guest House at Graceland is draped in Elvis style

MEMPHIS — The Guest House at Graceland doesn't scream Elvis, but there's no escaping his sense of style in the new Memphis resort hotel.

From a lobby ceiling evoking his bejeweled cape to lightning bolt-motif lamps to a replica of Graceland's staircase, the 450-room resort is a contemporary translation of the late singer's aesthetic.

"It's basically his personal style, and of course, it's inspired by Graceland," said Priscilla Presley, his former wife. "You don't have pictures of Elvis everywhere, but you do have his style: a little bit of his jumpsuit, his guitar, TCB, his belt. But it's not in your face." The letters TCB with lightning bolts (Taking Care of Business - In a flash) comprise Elvis' motto.

The $92 million hotel marks its "soft opening" in private events Thursday before hosting a full house of VIPs this weekend. The hotel, lobby and restaurants will open to the public on Sunday afternoon.

There was a whirlwind of activity Wednesday at 3600 Elvis Presley Boulevard as workers put finishing touches on the building and grounds and members of an exclusive fan club checked in. Crews from the Today show and Entertainment Tonight filmed segments that will air Thursday.

Priscilla Presley, who helps manage their only child Lisa Marie Presley's interest in Graceland and the Elvis estate, believes Elvis would be pleased.

"I think he too would absolutely be blown away by the attention to detail, the attention to color and the lightness of it all. It's not heavy. It's not dark. It's stylized, and he was always a man of style. It has that little extra touch that he always had," Presley said.

"It's warm, and it has that Southern hospitality look and feel," she continued. "That's something Elvis always had in his home."

Read the full article and watch the video at

Congratulations to the Recipients of HBG Design’s 2016 International Design Competition

HBG Design is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of the University of Arkansas International Design Scholarship.

Molly Evans received the Award of Excellence for her work as part of a study abroad in Mexico. Derek Hukill was honored with an Award of Merit for his work during his program in Rome. Honorable mention was awarded to Ashley Evans for her design work during her study abroad in Mexico.

As a design-oriented rather than strictly academic-based scholarship program, it provides an annual prize of $5,000 to a rising 5th year architecture student or team of students who participate in one of the School’s approved international programs, including both semesters at the Rome Studies Center and the summer in Mexico. The purpose of the award is to recognize these architecture students for exceptional work completed during this inspiring period abroad. Students must submit their work in an established format, which will be judged by a jury comprised of HBG Design and School of Architecture officials. The winner(s) are announced each year at an All-School event in the fall.

“The International Design Competition is one example of our firm’s commitment to preparing the next generation of architects,” says Mark Weaver, FAIA, HBG Design Principal and an alumni of UA's School of Architecture. “Through our financial investments, mentoring programs, and participation in design reviews at the School, HBG Design is illustrating its commitment to the future of the architectural profession.”

The Guest House at Graceland featured on TODAY

Take a tour of The Guest House at Graceland with Priscilla Presley and Jenna Bush Hager as seen on The Today Show.

Click here for full article and video tour




Elvis Presley once sang about a “Heartbreak Hotel,” but he couldn’t have known that one day, just steps from his home in Memphis, guests would be able to stay at the Guest House at Graceland.

The 450-room hotel, which opened to the public on Thursday for the first time, is a resort right near Elvis’ iconic and famously stylish home (which is also open to the public). TODAY’s Jenna Bush Hager even got a special tour, courtesy of Presley’s ex-wife, Priscilla!

“He loved detail and he was so stylish himself,” said Presley. “He had just such a flair. And actually that’s really what this is all about — it’s flair, it’s taste, it’s beautiful, it’s comfortable. I mean, everywhere you look, Elvis is here.”

It’s taken 30 years to turn the dream of a hotel into a reality, and just stepping inside it does have a certain dreamlike quality. But the interior really inspired by Presley’s home, particularly in certain areas.

For example, Presley and Hager trod down a gleaming white grand staircase with a sparkling chandelier that Presley said was an “even larger” replica of the light fixture in Graceland’s foyer. There are 20 Elvis-themed suites (presumably with “King”-sized beds) that echo the singer’s tastes, including the King Suite (done up in red, black and gold and featuring a TV set on the ceiling above the bed, just like at Graceland).

“I hope you were watching the TODAY Show on the ceiling,” Hager joked to Presley. “Well, we were never up that early!” said Presley. “We came home at that time.”

Other suites recall Elvis’ other homes, like the one in Palm Springs that included a winding white couch, where he spent his honeymoon. “I can actually see my parents sitting here, my brother, my sister, him, myself, his father,” said Presley.

What else comes with the “guest house”? How about a 464-seat theater, a pool and five restaurants serving comfort food? (chicken and waffles, we imagine, are on the menu; Hager said the biscuits were amazing.)

“Graceland is where I really feel [Elvis’] presence,” said Presley. “His spirit is there. Where I feel it [in the Guest House] is just the style and design of what he loved.”

And Elvis never has to leave the building.