Henry Chebaane synthesizes the clash between edgy and inviting in London’s The Megaro Hotel.
Blue Sky Hospitality’s creative director Henry Chebaane might have been born in Paris, but the multi-disciplinary designer found that it was London that really struck a chord with him. It’s that adopted hometown that provides the inspiration for The Megaro Hotel’s new look. We profiled the first three rooms and the redo of the Minimix bar in our May 2018 issue. Here, Chebaane digs deeper into his design process and unveils the next phase in the renovation, a collection of rooms along the theme of Front Row to Backstage.
Boutique Design: You’re known for creating intensely immersive spaces. How do you do that while still conveying a focused design story?
Henry Chebaane: I have always approached hospitality space design as a product with a specific narrative, with multiple layers of story-telling that enable the business owner and operator to communicate with their audience and reach new ones.
I spend a lot of time with my team to define each physical detail and attribute of that space so that each potential user can experience it both as actor and spectator.
BD: The Megaro project pays tribute to the iconoclastic vibe of bands such as The Clash. How did you filter that inspiration through your own lens to come up with something that’s not a replica, but a re-imagination of the era and the culture?
Chebaane: To draw guests and interest them in a project, I spend weeks researching the history, geography and culture that surrounds it. Then I deconstruct, reconstruct and imagine a new iteration. So for me a sense of place or use of source material is not literal (museums are doing this just fine) but more about engaging people’s imagination and entertaining them so that they come home with positive memories to share.
For example, for these new rooms, I draw on the idea of a concert stage (rather than a specific show or band). Nightstands looks like Marshall amps and headboards evoke instrument cases. Black bed frames and caution tape echo the way stages’ entrances and exits are marked.
BD: Your work ranges from interiors to branding. Your interests include subjects as diverse as writing, film and physicis. How do you tie all that into your approach to hospitality?
Chebaane: To conclude an interior design project I will often produce artworks, a graphic composition, a few words or even sometime a short poem. This process is very useful for brand creation and communication, which we usually provide in projects as part of our studio work.