Suite 305 by Hichan Lahlou
Today I’d like to present you with the concept for Suite 305, which has been developed under the care of Hicham Lahlou.
I am very grateful to Hicham Lahlou, who was gracious enough to provide some thoughtful answers to a few questions.
Over the course of the centuries, France—with its rich history, traditions, and taste for magnificence—has developed an architectural expertise within hotels that has allowed it to cultivate its art of welcoming. What is your own definition or view of this French art of welcoming? What characterizes it? What influences do you bring to it?
France is home to a history that is very rich and marked by a quest for aestheticism and refinement, such that it has permeated through every possible piece of our national heritage. From woven works to marquetry, brassware, glassworks, cutlery, and porcelain ware, the domains of excellence remain numerous and have allowed us to fashion an entire range of not only exceptional sites, but also careers. Coming down to us as a legacy from the era of the French monarchy, sumptuous receptions have remained a French tradition of global renown. Splendor and etiquette were indispensable features during the time of power, and they remain very much a tradition that, from a certain point of view, has left its mark. Hospitality is, after all, an art. Beyond the customs of service and welcome, which must be up to impeccable standards, French hotels are reputed for their expertise, tableware, gastronomy, tradition of reception, their elegance…
As an intermediary between two cultures, French and Moroccan, I am strongly influenced by the history and cultural wealth of my two countries. What France and Morocco share in common are the art of living, the taste for finer things, and excellence in the art of welcoming. These arts express themselves in different ways, but they represent a true culture of refinement and remain a marvelous source of inspiration.
What is your vision of the hotel room? How do you hope to reinvent it? What is your conception of the division of the various spaces in a room?
First off, it must be comfortable, sound-proof, feature quality bedding, demonstrate high quality of materials, furniture, textures, with enough space to walk around, equipped with cutting-edge technology, featuring the essential commodities, a bathroom furnished with quality products…
From there, I think a hotel room should be able to offer a bit of imagination, an ambiance different from one’s own home, with codes that wander a bit from the quotidian. Staying in a hotel room means living in a space for a relatively short period of time. One has to be able to feel good, to find the essentials but also a bit of inspiration for embarking on a voyage into the imaginary. The décor and the layout serve, in this respect, as essential keys into the proposed experience.
Can you describe for us the plan for the Suite 305 project that you will be exhibiting at the EQUIP’HOTEL Salon?
The suite that I’ve come up with falls under the theme of African inspired works.
The design of this suite allows us to enter an eclectic universe. The concept rests on a duality of ambiances, a visual contrast that plays with graphical and architectural codes, drawing their source from a multiplicity of African inspirations, all the way from deep Africa to Maghreb.
One enters the suite and stumbles straight away upon a universe that is fascinating and energizing: a graphics-heavy motif inspired by African art as well as by the Berber and Arab-Andalusian spirit.
At the heart of this colored universe, one discovers an unexpected structure entirely sculpted of immaculate white. This forms a night/sleeping corner structured by partitions and a ceiling, in which one penetrates to coil deep inside. It’s a kind of “room within a room,” a microcosm in a macro universe. Once inside, the client is enveloped in a sculptural cocoon that lies barely open onto the rest of the room, thanks to sculpted partitions recalling the Moorish-inspired chiseled plasters that offer a luminous brilliance, all within a soft glow and a peaceful atmosphere.
There is some duality, but there is also complementarity, relief, energy, tenderness…the duality expresses itself somewhere between proliferation and minimalism, between exuberance and reserve…
Hicham Lahlou is a prolific international designer, considered among the leading artistic forerunners in Morocco, Africa, and the Arab world. He has achieved celebrity status for his reinterpretations of architectural symbols and the development of figurative styles inspired by Moorish ornamental art as well as by the cultural spirit of Berber, Africa, and Bauhaus.
He has designed collections for prestigious international brands across furniture, tableware, clockworks, luxury equipment, and product designs. He has also led design projects in urban furniture for some of the largest cities in Morocco, in addition to contributing to projects in residential interior design, commercial architecture, and hotel architecture.
Ranked among the top 15 innovators in Africa in August 2013 by the magazine Afrique Business Méditerranée and selected as Industrial Designer for two consecutive years in 2011 and 2012 by the Canadian website EGO DESIGN, he formally established in 2014 the Africa Design Award (www.africadesign.org).
In March 2014, he designed the “Restaurant of the Chefs” (« Resto des Chefs ») covering a surface area of 375 m2 at the Marocotel Salon held by EquipHotel Paris. His next project for ROOM STUDIO by Equip’Hotel 2014: Hotel Suite 305.
Laurent Delporte, an editor and conference speaker, is a strategic expert in the sector of hotels. A visionary, he brings his unique look on hotels in service to the decision-makers in the industry, whether to enhance the development of new projects or strategic visions.
Laurent has visited and audited over 350 hotels across the world and also participates in mystery visits to provide quality control for the world’s finest hotels.