A new luxury hotel, moments away from the Comédie Française and the Palais Royal gardens, enclosed between layers of history and Haussmann elegance, lies a temple to art and life à la française: the Nolinski Paris.
Opulent and decadent featuring marble surfaces, blue and green hues and oozing Parisian sophistication, the space was designed by coveted architect Jean-Louis Denoit. Grand yet glamorous, the Nolinski combines beautifully the age-old sophistication of Paris with a modern ‘boutique-type’ edge.
We spoke to the architect and designer, Jean-Louis, to find out exactly why he thinks Nolinski Paris won the 2017 Award for ‘Hottest Hotel’.
What’s the story behind Hotel Nolinski Paris?
The idea was to create ideal personal Parisian guest apartments. I wanted every guest to feel like they were in a real, perfectly Parisian flat during their stay. It is very important that travellers really feel they are in Paris. While the Nolinski is internationally inviting, it is very French, very Parisian by essence.
What inspired the design that we see in Hotel Nolinski Paris?
Probably my own way of travelling! I travel a lot, around the globe, staying in many hotels; I always let myself be influenced by all locations, wherever I find myself. I am a citizen of the world. I wanted the Nolinski to feel Parisian but worldly, open minded, to raise the level of interest and curiosity, just like in everyday life!
It’s been described as a homage to France. Did you set out to design it as such?
As the Nolinski is located on Avenue de l’Opéra, between the Opera Garnier and La Comédie Française, I wanted the Nolinski to translate a theatrical vibe, as if all the guests were on a stage and to express nonchalance and decadence, typical of the French people.
I also wanted to make the guests to feel comfortable, like they would be in a private club atmosphere or a private French house, respecting French decor logic, with a totally new aesthetic.
Nolinski Paris combines classic architecture with contemporary fittings. The result is a space that’s refined yet distinctive. How was this balance achieved?
It is just a question of association; I enjoy Decor History, so I can play with it, mixing elements to get a retro yet futuristic look. It is a question of balance between old and new, to achieve the perfect atmosphere, the ideal ambiance. I really love to create from A to Z – I took the Nolinski from an office building to a French hotel with such a strong atmosphere.
How did you decide on the distinctive colour scheme that we see throughout Hotel Nolinski?
The Parisian sky over the Seine at dusk, this is the interior palette at the Nolinski. No white, all the suites are moody, with almost no difference between day time and night time!
One evening I was walking from the hotel renovation work site back to my office on rue de Verneuil, and by crossing the Seine bridge, I noticed that gorgeous gray, blue, green sky and thought that this was ideal to illustrate our great Parisian sex-appeal, mystery and great energy.
What challenges did you come up against when considering the design of Hotel Nolinski?
As it was originally an office building, I had to create a story. The new endless staircase, which was once, a boring building stair hall, became a surrealist piece of Art.
I hired Mathias Kiss to paint dark clouds all over the stair hall, to transport the guests all the way to their private rooms.
The stairway carpeting I designed inspired by one of Roy Liechtenstein‘s plane wing reflection from one of his painting. Looking up, dreamy sky, looking down, graphics playing with the stair flights. The Nolinski was entirely completed within 18 months, super-fast design track, I had a blast!
There’s a huge focus on health and wellbeing in Hotel Nolinski? Tell us a little more about the design choices behind Spa Nolinski by La Colline?
I am very proud of the design tricks I performed in the spa. As the ceiling was too low, and the space very confined, I decided to play with back lit abstract landscape XXL photography and XXL mirrored ceiling to open it up, with very dark subway tiles in reference to our Parisian Metro, and it worked out very well. The combination was design risky, but it really paid off, as the Spa is the best in Europe!
We’re seeing a rise in the need for personalisation in hotels. How does Nolinski Paris create a personal experience for your guests?
My work is very site and location oriented. I work in 15 countries, over 20 cities. I would never design an apartment in Hong Kong, in Moscow, in New York the same way. I let myself being very inspired by each location, to reach my clients. It is a mix of tradition, surprises and interesting expectations.
I cannot wait for opportunities to design hotel in every worldwide city so I can come up with the ideal local compositions to illustrate the specifications and distractions of each locations.
What advice would you give to someone looking to redesign their hotel over the next 12 months?
Hire me! I have a trillion tons of ideas!
What is your favourite part of Hotel Nolinski?
My favorite part was the Nolinski crew, as they all did an amazing job from day one. The Evok Collection group is a delight to work with; they trust professionals and set you free, which is very rare in this business. They love their work, so everyone loves to contribute at every level and every stage. This great synergy really translates in the overall result.
What do you think sets your venue apart from the others?
Magic, symbiosis, spontaneity, cool, unpretentious, no hotel formulas, refreshing, distracting. It is a new generation of five star hotels, most others feels like luxurious retirement centres.
I was able to translate a French sophistication mixed with an international ease, which makes this hotel really enjoyable, not stuffy, not boring, not predictable!
Why do you think the judges chose your venue as a winner this year?
I am very glad and honoured that they understood that a hotel needs to feel real, generous, charismatic and mysterious at the same time. The guests have to dream of a fantasy home away from home without any fake luxury. A sophisticated mix with fun and feelings is much better!
What advice would you give to someone looking to enter the Style Awards next year?
Get to work! Style Award Level is mega high!
To read the Vision Style Guide, please click here or to request your very own print copy, head over to the Vision Style Awards page which includes information on the brand new Vision Style Awards coming May 2018.