Choosing Interior Designers
A Conversation with Julie Grégoire. I’ve met her when she used to work for Accor as Operational Director of Luxury, High-End, and Thalassa France.
How do you decide on an interior designer? What are the necessary qualities and criteria? How much room do you give for new talents? Do you always select experts?
We select interior designers through a tender process. The principal criteria for selection has to do with the attention to and understanding of the brief and the brand identity. For each establishment, we compose a brief with input from the internal design experts and marketing teams. We lay the foundations of the story that we want to tell our clients with respect to the brand, the location, and the story of the hotel. Then, depending on these elements, we ask ourselves whether we should re-enchant a site that is charged with history, reawaken a sleeping beauty, or simply invent a spectacular contemporary space. Depending on the brief, we will favor a decorator who will be able integrate his style to the angle at hand. We invite three designers to participate in the tender. They each submit a proposal to the ‘Program Committee,’ who then selects the one that best corresponds to the demands of the project.
Recently, we offered a bid to a young partnership, Alessandro Scotto and Yann Le Coadic, neither of whom had ever done hotels before. We thus entrusted them with their first hotel, the Carlton Lyon – MGallery Collection.
What are the criteria for a successful renovation? And a successful hotel opening?
Personally, I find that the success of a new establishment depends on four key factors:
- The location
- The quality of service
- The brand image
- The signature of the decoration
If we accept these four points as being essential, then for me a renovation is only important if it manages to differentiate the hotel from other establishments. An elegant hotel can become bland if it gives off an impression of déjà vu.
In terms of decoration, should you try to please everyone, or should you instead take on some strong stands? When you take on a renovation, should you destroy and redo everything or should you try to preserve certain elements?
I think that from the moment you try to be unique and differentiate yourself in terms of decoration, it becomes more difficult to achieve unanimity.
The moment a site takes on a spirit, it becomes important to cultivate it. And not only that, but I think that everything depends on the site. For instance, we’ve recently renovated the Sofitel Golfe d’Ajaccio in Corsica; we kept the existing furniture and brought about what we might call a ‘lite’ renovation through a change in the textiles, the paintings, and the lights. The spirit of the site was preserved in this hotel, and yet the client still has the impression of entering a new space.
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.