Boutique Hotels, what’s the hype?

Friday, April 14th, 2017

Originated in the 1980s as an alternative to the entirely standardized and familiar hospitality industry, a boutique hotel concept intended to deliver a unique and highly luxurious experience.  In contrast to the desired familiarity that defined the international hotel scene of the 1950s, with the introduction of boutique hotels, guests’ unique travel experiences started when they checked into their boutique hotel.  So what exactly make the boutique hotel so appealing and revolutionary for over three decades?

The largest defining element that separates boutique hotels from any other travel accommodations is the exclusive interior design that often dictates the hotel’s unique guest experience.  With the highest sophistication and the extraordinary ability to connect sensorial associations to interior design elements, boutique hotel’s authenticity changed the way people travel for work and leisure.

Boutique hotel concept also had a large influence on the growth of modern design within the residential space with travelers finding inspiration during their stay and recreating it in their homes.  Chic, individually curated properties like the Sanderson Hotel in London that was conceived by Ian Schrager and designed by Philippe Starck or the Mondrian Hotel in Miami that was designed by Marcel Wanders, transport its guests to fantasy-style spaces depicting elements from Sleeping Beauty’s castle and Alice’s journey to Wonderland, and subsequently creating unforgettable hotel stays full of lasting memories.

Sanderson Hotel in London, United Kingdom designed by Philippe Starck

Sanderson Hotel in London, United Kingdom designed by Philippe Starck

Sanderson Hotel in London conceived by Ian Schrager and designed by Philippe Starck

Sanderson Hotel in London conceived by Ian Schrager and designed by Philippe Starck

Mondrian South Beach by Marcel Wanders

Mondrian South Beach by Marcel Wanders

Mondrian Hotel in Miami designed by Marcel Wanders

Mondrian Hotel in Miami designed by Marcel Wanders

How architecture inspires design

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

Design’s ever-strong bond with architecture is central in personifying these inspirations in a creative and functional manner.  Architecture thus lends itself to applied concepts around the design world in the form of furniture, art and fashion.

Profound influence comes from major religious buildings that were constructed for the admiration of the masses and for the eternal emotional connection that people experience with these structures.  Example of this emulation can be seen in the architectural elements of St. Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square in Moscow and likewise found in the Venetian glass legs of the Jewel dining table by Costantini Pietro.

St. Basil's Cathedral on Red Square, Moscow

Royal palaces of the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque movements are known to showcase lavish splendor and offer visual magnificence that easily stirs creative and sensory emotions.  Not unexpectedly, Van Cleef & Arpels famous quatrefoil (four leaves) motif necklace finds inspiration from a traditional Christian symbol found in many infamous structures among which is the Dodge Palace in Venice.

Dodge Palace in Venice

Abstract structures of the 21st century like Santiago Calatrava’s L’Oceanogràfic in Valencia influence modern design in fundamental depth with many similarities that can be drawn between such revolutionary architecture and innovative modern design.  Tonin Casa’s Gaya dining table features a palpable base with underlying structure that draws inspiration from the likes of Calatrava’s fluid elements, integrating the tangibility of architecture into people’s daily lifestyles.

City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, Spain

Revolutionary architecture of early 20th century, known today as the Bauhaus movement spearheaded by Walter Gropius was full geometrical intensity, formed by linearity and pragmatic regard for function.  The Fagus Factory designed by Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer was one such radical structure that was constructed in 1913 and later served to inspire Pablo Picaso’s Three Musician Painting that depicted classic cubist style with evident parallels original modern architecture.

Fagus Factory by Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer

Coca-Cola, a sign of good taste

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Indeed, Coca-Cola’s recently designed British and Canadian headquarters are spot-on representations of Coke’s 1957 slogan that originally tied the megabrand to superior taste.

Coca-Cola Canadian headquarters

Coca-Cola headquarters in Canada

Coca-Cola Canadian headquarters

Coca-Cola headquarters in Canada

From the exterior of Coca-Cola offices in Toronto, the building features wavy glass that symbolizes the brand’s iconic Coca-Cola wave, while the interior design is styled to create an audacious yet bubbly space that features wall- sized graphics and art installations from the Coke’s archives, spot-lighting both current and historic campaigns. Read More

Inside Yelp’s headquarters

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Yelp’s city guide and directory headquarters in San Francisco can be called a small (self-contained) neighborhood, spread across multiple floors.  Mostly without partitions and doorways, Yelp’s open layout spaces suggest of an industrial interior style complemented by exposed brick walls, concrete ceilings, reclaimed doors and mid-century inspired modern furniture. Quirky common areas like “semi-private pods for chess or chatting”, coffee bar, The Library and The Tool Shed are styled to epitomize their names whilst offering curious meeting spaces.

Yelp open layout spces in San Francisco

Yelp headquarters in San Francisco

Yelp interiors in San Francisco

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Contemporary chandelier at the Versailles Palace

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Designed by the Parisian duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Gabriel chandelier is the first ever contemporary installation commissioned by the Chateau de Versailles.  While distinctively, a baroque structure with intensely extravagant interior décor, the recent interest in amalgamating modern elements is perceived to be a seamless way to blend the past and the future.  Hanging above the recently completed Gabriel staircase, the Gabriel chandelier is made of Swarovski Crystals to insinuate tradition and emphasize continuity, but that’s were its rococo influence ends and its genuine modernist design begins.  Ronan and Erwan Bouroullac wanted a focal point above the historical staircase that was originally conceived by Ange- Jacques Gabriel in 1772, something that was congruent, yet current.  The magnificently modern chandelier ended up being close to 40 feet high, suspended in asymmetric curves and illuminated by LED lights that diffuse a soft, elegant aura on its surroundings.

Gabriel chandelier by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Chateau de Versailles

Gabriel chandelier in Chateau de Versailles designed by Parisian duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

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