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Interview/Portrait

Juliette Binoche Globe-trotting actress

Juliette Binoche

In my movies, I don't seek an easy way out, but rather something new with each one, discovering the unknown...

From Italy and The English Patient to Israel for the recent Déco magazine.

It all started in the 1980s. Basically, as travel was becoming an increasingly democratic endeavour, hotels customers began to tire of brown papered walls with large orange flowers, a WC on the landing and plastic pink thermo-moulded showers! They were also tiring of the clean soulless comfort provided by the Novotels… Fortunately, in the twinkling of an eye, the «bling-bling eighties» revolutionized everything thanks to the new media stars: the designers.

Casa-del-Mar

The «Boutique Hotels,» an American trend

1983. Andrée Putman takes on the Morgans hotel in New York. On the menu, bathrooms revisited in black and white checkered design. The absence of colour becomes an avant-garde trend. Black leather sofas, nicknamed «the black tide» by Putman, invaded hotel lobbies, and by extension, our home interiors as well.

Following in the wake of the priestess of black and white are an entire generation of designers who proceed to take on the hotels, with the blessing of a rising generation of entrepreneurs such as Ian Shrager, one of the founders of the legendary Studio 54, who quickly grasped that the golden boys of the eighties no longer wished to spend their vacations in an «old school» decor.

This awareness gave rise to a range of creations, all of which were one crazier than the next. Firstly the Royalton, a palace designed by Starck and entirely dressed in night blue, followed by The Hudson, and finally the legendary Delano in Miami, so pure in white. The fashion of the «boutique hotels» was born.

The-Lalu

The major hotel chains follow the trend

Very few rooms, service that is present but not obsequious, a chic yet casual dress code, and above all else stylish decor; these are the essentials for the hotel business in the 21st century. The trouble with this formula was that as they saw their segment of the market shrinking over the years, the large hotel groups also joined the deco hotel bandwagon.

Thus the very classic and conservative Hiltons paid themselves a face lift, the Starwood chain followed suit with an ultra trendy, ultra design line soberly baptised «W,» and Mariott International group, with a worldwide presence, has just formed a partnership with Ian Shrager to open over 100 new design hotels throughout the world. Any ruse is legitimate in making something new out of something old, as long as travellers are surprised and feel they are getting an eyeful!

Hence, in Istanbul the Four Seasons group has just opened a palace in an former prison! In Mexico, former cactus plantations repainted in fuschia or starck blue have been singled out by the Starwood group.

Silken

A design hotel at all costs!

Philippe Starck, Andrée Putman, Jacques Garcia, Patrick Jouin, Ed Tuttle… The greatest designers work on several projects every year.

However, because their order books can't be extended forever, and because entrepreneurs have understood that designer decor is a good way to attract customers, some hotels have by now adopted the fashion of decorating their with celebrities.

This is the case, for instance, with Brad Pitt and Tiger Woods, whose presence can be seen in hotel rooms in Dubai. Same goes for Karl Lagerfeld, embarking on the new deco trend with «couture hotels.»

Medusa_Grand-Room1

You like their clothes? You'll love their hotels…

Bay-of-Fires-2

Armani in Dubai, Moschino in Milan, Missoni in Edinburgh and Kuwait City, Versace in Dubai… no no, this isn't the latest global agenda for haute couture fashion shows, but rather the list of upcoming openings for palaces and «couture» designer hotels.

After having invaded perfumeries, watchmakers' and opticians' shops with their derived products, fashion designers have now turned to interior decorating, and in this sector, it's practically impossible to find a better window exhibit than a hotel. Thus, in 2000, Italian designer Versace opened his first establishment, the Palazzo Versace in Australia.

Since then, what with the economic crisis and the luxury market more competitive than ever, the hotel business has become a real infatuation for designers, providing them with a new outlet and an ideal way of keeping their names up in lights.

In a contemporary style, the design and soft tones of the first of the Bulgari Hotels and Resorts, inaugurated in 2004 in Milan, aimed to recall Bulgari “class.” With his Armani Hôtels and Resorts, Armani the designer is opting for elegance and minimalism…. Although their hotels seem to have sprung up like mushrooms, the couturiers don't portend to improvise their way on the hotel scene. As for the great names in interior design, they've partnered with large international groups so that their style can rhyme with revenues... Someone had to think of it.

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