Epicure sits down with the globally renowned interior designer to discuss what hotels can learn about creating beautiful spaces.
You frequently design beautiful interiors for hotels around the world – what makes a great hotel space in your opinion?
Travelling such a huge amount has meant I’ve learnt which details are truly important. Your hotel should be a home away from home, it should be a place where you can unwind. Beautiful sheets, plush towels and a great bathroom with an amazing shower and really good mirrors are all key. It is also important to be able to have the option of both practical and ambient lighting, giving you the ability to control the mood. Above all else, your hotel room needs to have a sense of zen and this is easily achieved by having minimal clutter and using a mix of textures. The common areas of a hotel should always be relative to the destination. For example, when I designed LUX* Grand Gaube, I wanted to create an experience which was completely unique to Mauritius. I did this by incorporating elements of the surrounding outdoors into the overall design, with the intent to envelop guests in the beautiful island.
Do you have a favourite place to travel?
I love Capri, I’ve been going there since I was a child and it holds special memories for me, it is truly one of the most wonderful places in the world. The charm of Capri always captures me, it’s as if nothing has changed for generations. You get off the boat and into beautiful little cars, it is all so picturesque. The trick is not to go too often so that you can really look forward to it.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned as one of the world’s top designers?
Always make sure you’re doing what you love and believe in yourself – nothing is too big and nothing is ever big enough. If you work hard, listen, digest and communicate with truth, you will succeed. And finally, there are no problems, only solutions!
What can hoteliers learn from designers?
Designers always create with their individual client in mind. Hoteliers can enhance this by paying attention to guests and catering to their needs – making the hotel as personable and comfortable as possible. When designing a space I always imagine how it is going to be used. I think it is important for hoteliers to be mindful of this, as well as the atmosphere in the space. I’m currently designing my third hotel for LUX* in Mauritius – it will be the first 6-star hotel on the island. When working on projects like this, my goal is always to provide the utmost comfort so that guests have everything they could possibly need.
How was designing the Celebrity Edge cruise ship different from hotel and home design?
I’d worked on yachts, but I’d never designed a cruise before Celebrity Cruises approached me – I addressed the project in the same way I would a hotel, just with extra attention to the practicalities. There were completely different things to consider when designing; I had to think about things such as the weight of the materials I was using, how the materials would feel at sea, and how to maximise storage without compromising on space. The sheer scale of the cruise ship was also hugely different.
What has inspired your design for Celebrity Edge?
Travel has always been one of the biggest inspirations throughout all the projects I work on. My signature east-meets-west aesthetic was created through my travels and appreciation for both of these design philosophies, so of course the Celebrity Edge ship was greatly inspired by travel too. The creative ideas, the colours, the finish and the materials, amongst other aspects, are all ideas plucked from my travel archive.
What has been your favourite project to date?
I take something truly unique away from every job I work on and I’ve worked on some amazing projects so I honestly couldn’t choose just one. After 41 years in the design business, there aren’t many areas I haven’t delved into and I’m always keen for a challenge. The opportunity to design the Celebrity Edge ship was so exciting because it was completely new to me, and I’ve loved working with the team at Celebrity Cruises.
What do you hope is next?
I want to continue working on exciting projects with wonderful brands and clients, alongside my fantastic team. I adore working on collaborations so I’m always keen to find new brands and partners to collaborate with in different areas. I would also love to design a boutique hotel in LA; LA is fantastic, however, I am yet to be truly blown away by a hotel there so it would be great to design my own.