For the last decade, boutique hotels have become big business for A-list designers — they provide an opportunity for an architect or designer to flex their creative muscle in an environment where clients encourage unique, offbeat interiors that can generate attention for a brand. Here are 10 designers who have pulled off some really interesting projects.
- Jean-Philippe Nuel: A well-known French hotel designer, Nuel says, "It has long been said that a hotel should resemble a home, but in reality it should be much more than that." His ethereal rooms look like dream-scapes.
- Kelly Wearstler: The diva of boutique hotel design, Kelly Wearstler's Viceroy and Tides Hotels are famous for bringing back glam.
- Ilse Crawford: This British designer is a talented mix-master, combining eclectic elements to create interiors that aren't really definable by any one style.
- Jonathan Adler: His design for the Parker Palm Springs is crazy, fun, and totally different from cookie-cutter hotel style. There's no beige in sight.
- Philippe Starck: It would be hard to make a list of boutique hotel designers and not mention Philippe Starck, whose portfolio includes designs for the Peninsula, Delano, Hudson...and the list goes on. White interiors, glitzy details, and the plastic "Ghost" line of furniture are trademarks of his best-known hotel room designs.
- Kit Kemp: This UK entrepreneur founded the London-based chain of Firmdale Hotels with her husband. She's a self-taught designer who embraces the flowery, chintzy, mixed patterns of traditional British design, and her projects include the Soho, Covent Garden, and Haymarket hotels in London.
- Roman & Williams: Also known as Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch, this design team created the interiors for the much-hyped Ace Hotel in New York. Their style is dark, masculine, and mixes mid-century influences with an industrial edge.
- Joseph Dirand: Parisian designer and architect Joseph Dirand has a sort of Joseph Beuys meets mid-century modern aesthetic. He designed the chic and minimalist Distrito Capital in Mexico City and Habita Monterrey in the Sierra Madre mountains.
- Kengo Kuma: His architecture combines traditional Japanese detail-oriented design with contemporary forms. There's a reverence for materials in his design for Beijing's Opposite House, a beautifully subdued space that's light, airy, and minimal but warm.
- Zaha Hadid: This Pritzker Prize winning British-Iraqi architect is known for creating dream-like environments that translate well into escapist hotel interiors. Her rooms at the Puerta America Madrid are all curves, white walls, and recessed lighting.
Photos: Hotel Le Grand Balcon, The Viceroy Snowmass, The Olde Bell Inn, The Parker Palm Springs, Mama Shelter, Firmdale Hotels, Hotel Distrito Capital, Ace Hotel, Opposite House, Puerta America Madrid by Wes & Kayla Schwartz