Timeless Design, From the Outside In
By Lamarr Reid Principal and Managing Director, Pierre-Yves Rochon (PYR) | November 15, 2015
Co-authored by Kathryn Freeman Rathbone, Founder and CEO, Freeman Rathbone Communications.
When it comes to luxury hotels, no detail goes unnoticed. This rings especially true in the interior environment, the space where most day-to-day hotel activities take place. It is often the interior that shapes the identity of a hotel in the minds of visitors and guests-for this reason, the interior design is of utmost importance. Stay in a hotel with disjointed or outdated design, and the experience can come off feeling stale and mediocre. But stay in a hotel where the interior design has been executed with great care and consideration, and the stay can become timeless, branded in the mind as an unrivaled, memorable experience.
Creating a timeless interior requires going beyond an interior design direction crafted on fads or subjective preference of a designer. Instead, lasting hotels strategically ground their interior design in their overall context. The best interiors distill the hotel's architecture, the fabric of its location, its culture, history, branding, and the ownership's vision and goals into a seamless design that creates an authentic sense of place. It is this characteristic-an engaging interior that draws its direction from its larger environment-that unites the world's most iconic luxury interiors, from the historic George V in Paris, to the contemporary Peninsula flagship property in Shanghai, and the in-construction Jade Signature tower in Miami. These properties are designed from the outside in: their interiors reflect all of the complex elements that make up their surroundings. Their designs reinforce these elements through tailored programming, materials, and FF&E choices. The elegant, individual environments that result create truly memorable experiences. Each cannot be replicated in any other hospitality environment, and exploring their designs reveals the extreme attention to detail that sets them apart.
The George V in Paris: The Revitalization of Pure European Classicism
In 1928, the George V opened its doors as one of Paris' premier hotels. The eight-story hotel is located off of the famed Avenue des Champs-Élysees in the eighth arrondissement, a neighborhood characterized by its classic Parisian architecture and well-known landmarks, including the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and the Place de la Concorde. The hotel's architecture is a study in fine French Art Deco design, with original interiors capturing the grandeur of French 1930s elegance. Its history is just as pedigreed. In its heyday, the George V hosted the world's social elite, who preferred the hotel due, in part, to its opulence and reputation defined by distinct French luxury.
However, by the 1990s, the hotel had undergone several renovations of different styles that created a disjointed experience and undermined the property's strong character. In 1996, it was purchased by the hospitality magnate Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, and its doors were closed so that an ambitious renovation could take place.