Le Royal Monceau by Philippe Starck 09.08.11

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Two years after closing for renovation, Le Royal Monceau Hotel, Paris, reopened in October 2010. Redesigned by Philippe Starck, a hotel founded in 1928 has been led from its original jazz age elegance towards a new breed of palace hotel. Owner Alexandre Allard hopes that Starck's modernism will mark Le Monceau's return as a haunt for Parisian artists and intellectuals.

"An hotel is an extraordinary machine for creating experiences, emotions, memories. The process has to be respected, you need the human touch, love, at the start, during and until the end of the project," comments Starck. For Starck, typical hotel rooms are empty. Le Monceau's 84 rooms and 54 suites have been filled with a plethora of personal items – books, photos, even love letters pressed into drawers. Visitors are invited to peer into the private lives of these other, unknown guests – guests left hurriedly, without their belongings. Read his letters; see their photos; sleep in her bed. "Here we're arriving at a friend's place. We're going to enter a room already habited by spirit", says the designer.


Starck's reach extends beyond the bedrooms. An art noveau awning bathes the hotel entrance in sweet wrapper-red light. Proceeding inside, guests enter Le Grand Salon: a vast aisle flocked with mirrors reflecting a canopy of chandeliers and lower concourse of salons and display cases. La Fumée Rouge cigar bar lounges in the same glow as the hotel entrance – a crimson saturation evoking memories of the red that soaked through One Eyed Jacks, the casino-brothel from David Lynch's television series Twin Peaks.

The tone was perhaps set by the hotel's 2008 "demolition party". Arne Quinze's "Rebirth" – a vast, crystalline artery of pine slats and video screens – pulsed through the belly of Le Royal Monceau, while VIP guests prised away the hotel's art deco interiors in the name of Starck's coming renovation. The event served a dual purpose – an eccentric farewell to an historical style and a telling nod to Starck's coming unconventionality.

"When we come in through the door we enter a kind of huge party where we're going to find the bookshop, the cinema, people coming out of the premiere", enthuses Allard. His comment betrays the energy that infects the whole project – an energy inherited from its prolific designer. Not content with his work at Le Royal Monceau, Starck has moved to launch "Yooistanbul", a luxury apartment development in Turkey.




Philippe Garcia/Lasociétéanonyme



Oli Stratford

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An hotel is an extraordinary machine for creating experiences, emotions, memories

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