From theatrical maximalism in a Doha hotspot to pared-down calm in a Sri Lankan resort, going to extremes is all in a day’s work.
What makes a cynical traveler feel like a five-star price tag is justified? Not “safe” design, that’s for sure. Guests are ready for a magic carpet ride, whether the end result is a decadent celebration of texture and pattern or the exact opposite. Read on for insights from the two ends of the luxury spectrum.
Pampering doesn’t end at the spa door, at least not for today’s jaded luxury guests. Spoiling them from the minute they walk in is a must. For Marcel Wanders, product and interior designer, and art director of his eponymous Amsterdam-based firm, that means cocooning them in a world where beauty is the only visible force behind the built environment.
Who says too much is too much? Repeating elements like the crystal chandeliers in Marcel Wanders' vision for the Skybar at Mondrian Doha just ups the ante. Photo: Courtesy of Marcel Wanders
“We want to make something that feels like it’s all smooth for our audience and that sometimes means that we, internally, have to work harder,” says Wanders. “Because we are good designers, we know how to hide things well; we know how to make something difficult look simple; we know how to make something that is odd-looking seem very logical. If you see a design and you don’t see the things that look technical, it’s because we have fooled you; it is full of technique but we fool you by making it invisible. Say there’s a maintenance door in the back. We’ll hide it behind some nice decoration so you’ll never see it.”
Balance is overrated. Putting the art wall off center draws the eye through the guest room. Photo: Courtesy of Mondrian Doha, SBE
Wanders’ behind-the-scenes meticulousness is key to creating front-of-house visual magic. It starts with an intense drill down into the vernacular of local culture.
“Transporting something of that same genetic formula we used in the Mondrian South Beach in Miami, in the Mondrian Doha we tried to do something that is as festive and as funky, to create a place where people can party, have fun, feel surprised, enjoy the weather, the culture and meet each other,” he says. “Even though it is all of these things combined, the Mondrian Doha’s design is a lot more sophisticated and even demure in comparison to a property like the Mondrian South Beach in Miami.”
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