What are our clients’ views on their current and future design, and what’s in the pipeline?

By Rosalind Milani Gallieni

FM Architettura

Forget the hygiene processes we are all aware of. Pioneering the essence of post-COVID hotel design, FM Architettura has established the key elements that have amplified over the last year’s pandemic changes, with the understanding of clients’ needs paramount in this. Comfort and homeliness play a forefront role in the design, as guests desire to feel at home in an intimate space they can call their own. Evermore important is the move away from technological prowess, with a focus on bespoke artisanal produced furniture and décor to exude quality and detail. Not only devising a sense of space, but supporting talented craftsmen locally. Space will be used for multiple purposes; therefore the capacity to transform areas for business or leisure is vital, and with longer stays due to flexibility with remote working, clients require a hybrid of hotel-apartment style living with facilities for light independence. 

These combine to a harmonious elegance. According to co-founder Francesca Muzio: “I like to consider these four elements in my designs: earth, air, fire and water. Earth to me is the use of wood in our designs, be it in the bespoke furniture, flooring or structural partitions, and the air is the lightness around the interiors created by using handmade carpets and bespoke woven textiles which lead the eye around the space. The fire comes into the accents with bespoke bronze furniture, glass or the lighting which we use to punctuate the rooms. And lastly: water. The all-important element, to ensure the flow and balance of the design comes together in its entirety, as these are homes which must have a sense of place.” 

With this in mind, coming to water earlier this month, M/Y Somnium was designed to take three generations of family members on a series of memorable voyages around the world. FM Architettura is proud to have brought the owner’s dream to life by designing interiors with charm and personality, incorporating highly refined detailing. 

FM Architettura’s global projects continue to grow with the demand for residence-style abodes. The Aurelia Residences are a collection of 285 bespoke residences in the heart of Bonifacio Global City, the fastest-growing central business district in the Philippines. Italian charm and Filipino heritage blend in a new formula, creating a feeling of authenticity, brightness, and homeliness. Aurelia Residences will be completed in 2024, with 400 square metres of private function space and 5000 square metres of exclusive world-class amenities.

A note on FM Architettura’s formidable past projects – Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London, was listed in both the Conde Nast Traveller’s Readers’ Choice Awards and in Travel + Leisure Awards, London’s No.1 Hotel, Europe’s No.2 City Hotel and as No.13 within the Top 100 Hotels in The World in 2020. Voting has begun for this year’s coveted lists. 

See more at: www.fm-arch.it.

Anouska Hempel Ltd

Sleeper Magazine celebrates its 20th anniversary with a hero feature celebrating the first boutique hotel they reviewed: Blakes Hotel London, designed and created by Anouska Hempel. Interviewed by Sleeper, the international hotelier and designer discussed her vision of the future of hospitality design. Anouska shared ideas of a drone-led culture of travelling pods, in which guests could take their hotel/home with them. This grows subsequently to include a fantasy mothership with pod docking pad.

Anouska has delivered some of the world’s most groundbreaking hotels. Blakes – the first boutique hotel in London, and the first iconic minimalist hotel: The Hempel London, which made its debut in 1997. Each one is as different from one another as can be, but both have gone on to become seminal in the lexicon of hospitality design. She created a special niche for herself and a reputation that saw her interviewed in Sleeper in 2000, the first year of the magazine’s existence. She featured with a portrait image on the front cover, the one and only time that this has happened.

In the feature in 2000, Sleeper said of Blakes that there’s “more soft furnishings than bricks and mortar,” while The Hempel was the “ultimate in minimalism.” Anouska herself was quoted as saying that Blakes “represents things and artefacts; not money but an eclectic way of gathering up the world.” Of The Hempel, she hoped the extraordinary volume of the atrium, instead of things, would inspire guests. Both statements were well ahead of their time, illustrating a clear understanding of the importance of experientialism over materialism.

Anouska’s designs embody an intimate, comfortable ambience, more desired than ever in the current climate. Every space has been designed to ensure a wonderfully unique stay, and everything has been thought out to make guests feel at home, and to make the experience very personal. Take the Marly Rooms and Suite at the newly opened Hotel Monsieur George in Paris. A 45 square metre duplex with its own private garden, it is fit for a king; a haven of luscious greens inspired by the iconic French gardens of Marly, created for Louis XIV at the Palace of Versailles. This space transforms into a secluded private apartment, providing the exquisite service of the hotel, whilst obtaining a sense of apartment-style living. In this post-pandemic era, the hotel checks you in to your bedroom, and dinner is served en-suite, direct from the restaurant. Hotel Monsieur George is a timeless yet modern hotel, bar and restaurant, offering a “family home” atmosphere within the busy milieu of Paris. Another quite new concept for the Parisian lifestyle.

The Private Residence proving popular with the future of design and private travel is the Grosvenor House Suites designed by Anouska within the iconic Sir Edward Lutyens-designed building built in the 1920s. 

As you walk through the timeless, classic exterior, a narrative of the formal and the eccentric, of modesty and pride, of the future meeting the past, begins to unfold. The best of British begins here. Walking into the building is an Alice Through the Looking Glass experience. Each step takes guests deeper into an ever-expanding space, starting with the horizontal simplicity of the lobby, whose monolithic purity alludes to the bigger reception hall above, while all the time slotted walls reveal and conceal the outside world – a veil to privacy and curiosity. Strips of tiny mirrors offset the strong masculine lines, reflecting and enlarging the philosophy of the lobby. 

The theme is further developed in the reception above. Furnished simply, but dramatically, with a long stone table staffed by butlers for your every need, the reception is an enclosed space, yet breaks and gashes in the walls lend a sense of rooms beyond rooms. It is in the courtyard where guests really arrive at the core of this narrative adventure. The atrium is tall and vast, soaring upwards and creating a sense of infinite space. The chalky stone walls are softened by a gossamer mesh that drapes like a mist on a midsummer’s morning, offering just a glimpse here and there of people moving behind the rooms above. 

Many of the hotel residences overlook Hyde Park or Mayfair. Others have colonial-style shutters opening onto the seven-storey vaulted Atrium with its striking and contemporary chandelier. The central Atrium provides continuity with the building’s fascinating heritage, echoing the grand staircase which once stood at the heart of the storied home. The interior design of the suites combines classical British finishes such as dark oak timber flooring with more contemporary touches such as tailored wall panelling and oversized stone bathrooms. State-of-the-art technology, bespoke furniture and original works of art complete the finish.

Anouska was most recently awarded a Luxury Lifestyle Award in the category for The Best Luxury Hotel Design in Singapore, for the Duxton Reserve. Now in their 13th year, the Luxury Lifestyle Awards recognise excellence across a whole range of industry sectors, with the objective of maintaining high standards in the property industry worldwide.

So, what next for Anouska? Hempel House & Hotel. During this extended period of reduced travel, and the increase in time spent on design and aesthetic within our homes, the collection will allow guests to bring a touch of Anouska’s effortless style into your very own home. It will comprise eclectic design pieces from the Franklin London, the Duxton Reserve Singapore and the newly opened Monsieur George Paris. Furniture, furnishings, fittings, fans, lamps and mirrors are just some of the treasures available in the collection.

See more at: www.anouskahempel.com.

Jason Basmajian

Creative force and Luxury Industry tastemaker Jason Basmajian’s career to date has focused on fashion and design. His sharp eye has helped shape brands such as Calvin Klein and Donna Karan in New York, ST Dupont and Cerruti in Paris, Brioni in Milan and Gieves & Hawkes in Savile Row, London, where he revived the entire flagship store as well as the collections. Having lived in all these cities and travelled extensively in Asia, Basmajian is a true ‘citizen of the world’ and has developed an acute understanding of different territories’ business climates and cultures.

In the realm of design, Basmajian’s award-winning redesign of the Gieves & Hawkes flagship store at No. 1 Savile Row was lauded as a rejuvenation of the brand. He is also a published interior designer and has been profiled for his design and fashion work in the Financial Times’ “How to Spend It,” Architectural Digest, Wallpaper, Esquire, Elle Decor, GQ and Times Luxury, amongst others. 

His interior design straddles the ‘cottagecore’ aesthetic, prioritising harmony with nature, comfort, in a liveable space. On discussing his London home, Jason says: “I want the balance between chic and elegant, and comfortable and practical; my style is understated.” His designs are marked by compelling shapes, textures, scale and surfaces: “I want to create warmth in an interior; I want you to want to be in it.”

Jason believes that interiors should convey an emotion and a mood, often using contrasting black and whites or warm neutrals as the basis. Ornamental and industrial artworks punctuate the open plan loft space, which mixes vintage and modern furniture amongst vases of flowers and green plants. Exquisite contemporary pieces and flare exude throughout, whilst with the natural tones, oak floors and industrial style windows, a sense of nature remains.

Now, as The Luxury Channel re-launches after lockdown with a whole new brand identity, curating 21st century luxury lifestyle, Jason will be the Luxury Insider, taking us on a unique journey with his lively podcast conversations with opinion leaders, artists and designers from the worlds of interior design, art, fashion, science, technology, culture and more.