I met Olivier Lapidus while preparations were underway for the EQUIPHOTEL Salon. Olivier is a fashion designer, an interior designer, an inventor, and a key figure in the conception of hotels.
As part of the EQUIPHOTEL 2014, he will be preparing the room studio suite 302, which I encourage you to visit on “Couture Night.” You’ll be able to try out the suite amid a nocturnal ambiance where the light will take on all the fullness of its meaning. He will be showcasing the full noble qualities of the craftsman and bringing in all the necessary technology installed specifically for the comfort and well-being of the client. A room full of contrasts, it will serve as a source of inspiration and a new “haute couture” vision of hotel design.
How did you find yourself interested in hotel design?
I’ve spent a great deal of my professional life in hotels. First there was Tokyo, where I was able to stay two to three months in the Hilton, which has since become the Capitol Tokyo on the hill by Akasaka, right next to the temple. Then there was China, in Beijing in the 2000s at the Saint Régis. But for Japan, it was around the age of 10 that I accompanied my father on his voyages in Asia: during that time, I caught the hotel virus, after which, apart from the two long periods I spent in Beijing and Tokyo, I found myself on vast tours of the world—in every sense of the phrase—to accompany my fashion designs, with nearly a hundred trips from Moscow to Buenos Aires, from Sao Paolo to Vilnius…
In these conditions, everything counts in a hotel: from the atmosphere, the point of first contact, the reception, the smile, then the elevator (is it cramped? ugly?), the perceived quality, details such as the sheets (is it itchy?), the floor (what does it feel like under bare feet?), the bed (extremely important, the bed! Comfortable? Big enough? The pillows, etc.), the functional design—is everything close at hand? Does the reception line work when I call it, or does it ring empty? How do you seek to reinvent the hotel room?
I’ll take an example from my newborn, the Félicien:
Everything is done in the end for the client; each detail must be reinvented. The gentle lighting of the baths with their luminous textures enclosed along the fragments of the glass wall; the height of the low nightstands that lie level with the bed; the suppleness of the pure wool that goes into the bedside rugs; the elegance of the lighting and its careful positioning to avoid detracting from the ambiance of the room, somewhat like a gallery; the quality and cocoon design of the furniture, manufactured in the south of France; or even yet, the fitted carpeting woven in Ireland by Ulster Carpet, with its sense of perspective along the floor, each design of which was calibrated differently for each room.
Every visual and tactile detail was thought through to create an instinctive sense of well-being for the client, but so, too, was the silence that reins in each room, a result of our choice of panels designed to “orchestrate” the textile quality of the leathers and fabrics. The canvases of painted silk contribute as well to this “polished” quality of the ambiance, almost like a punctuation mark. There is something relaxing, but also a bit stimulating, for the mind, as well as something gentle.
This interweaving between something highly classic and elements of high-tech—this is in some ways my signature.
The textile approach also constitutes a sensibility of its own: the search for satiny, embossed, velvety materials…
The ‘cross-fertilization’ between fashion and interior design.
Can you describe to us the suite 302 project that you’re going to exhibit at the EQUIP’HOTEL Salon?
I want to stage the night.
A whole host of possibilities!!
Thus concludes the lengthy list of interviews for the most important projects that will take place at Studio Contract in the EQUIP’HOTEL Salon. I invite you to join me starting from Sunday, November 16. I’ll be there…will you? Don’t hesitate to contact me and take part in my conferences!
Biography of Olivier LAPIDUS:
Born to a well-known clothing designer father and a mother who was a model, Olivier Lapidus was immersed very early on into the world of fashion. A graduate of the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne (ECSCP), he was appointed Artistic Director of Menswear at Balmain from 1985 to 1986 before he set off for Japan, where he distributed his collections across 350 stores under the Miki Group. After returning to France in 1989, he was named Artistic Director of Maison Lapidus and awarded the prestigious ‘Dé d’or’ of Fashion in 1994. In 2010, he launched his capsule collection LAPIDUS VINTAGE, inspired by in-house archives from the eponymous line. In 2011, he designed a line of sunglasses (the Slack) for E.B. Meyrowitz. He then turned his creative eye toward interior design, with a line of furniture produced in France and supplied by D’Argentat. In 2013, he created a line of furniture and signed the decoration for the Félicien Hotel: a refined universe situated between fashion and interior design. The following year, he launched the production of decor objects and accessories.
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.