Is Karl Lagerfeld the New Trend in Hotel Design? 1

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
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Karl Lagerfeld Fashion Designer
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Luxury hotels continue to collaborate with some of the world’s most iconic fashion designers with Versace, Giorgio Armani and Moschino already boasting hugely successful hotel projects.

Global fashion heavyweight Karl Lagerfeld is the latest designer to bring his runway expertise to the hotel world with the KARL LAGERFELD Hotel at Lisboa Palace, a destination resort in Cotai, Macau.

Lagerfeld, the creative director of Chanel, Fendi and his own label, has been commissioned for an array of hotel projects over the past year, placing the designer’s fashion credentials in high demand.

The KARL LAGERFELD hotel promises to be his largest hospitality project yet.

Lisboa Palace, South Elevation Design

Lisboa Palace, South Elevation Design

“I am very happy and proud to work on such a great project: An entire hotel designed by me,” said Lagerfeld. “It’s the first time for me! I think the idea is great!”

Lagerfeld will work in collaboration with casino operator Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM) to create the exclusive 20-storey hotel tower, which will house 270 guestrooms.

Scheduled to open in 2017, Lisboa Palace will comprise a full range of facilities, including around 2,000 hotel rooms throughout The Lisboa Palace Hotel, Palazzo Versace Macau and KARL LAGERFELD Hotel.

Lisboa Palace, Reception Lobby

Lisboa Palace

The tourism destination will feature a number of Michelin-starred restaurants, a themed retail mall with further food and beverage options, a wedding pavilion and a multi-purpose theatre for celebrations and events.

The resort will provide up to 700 gaming tables and over 1,200 slot machines, supporting Macau’s growth as the world’s largest gambling city. It brought in $45 billion in 2013, approximately seven times the amount spent in Las Vegas in the same year.

While many fashion houses are commissioned to simply designing the interiors or allocated spaces across the hotels, Lagerfeld will be responsible for the full design of the hotel.

“We are excited to collaborate with Karl Lagerfeld, a multi-talented and visionary designer, to introduce the first KARL LAGERFELD Hotel,” said Dr. Ambrose So, chairman of SJM’s board of directors. “Together with Palazzo Versace Macau and our own Lisboa brand, our destination resort will become a hub of luxurious accommodation. This partnership further demonstrates Sino-western cultural interchange which has a long tradition in Macau.”

Palazzo Versace, Gold Coast, Australia

Palazzo Versace, Gold Coast, Australia

The hotel is also an extension of Lagerfeld’s Greater China arm where he has opened five Karl Lagerfeld stores over the past year.

While no official details have been released of the design, Lagerfeld is expected to pay homage to his signature style and luxury fashion portfolio through Chanel and Fendi.

Speaking to WWD, Lagerfeld did reveal he envisioned the hotel would feature a “19th century style” but would be “modern at the same time.”

“You know, Gabrielle Chanel (aka Coco Chanel and original founder of Chanel) always said, ‘I only make dresses I would wear.’ And I make only rooms where I would like to sleep. It’s a simple as that,” he said.

So Sofitel Emblem Designed By Lagerfeld

Sofitel So emblem designed by Lagerfeld

The nearby Palazzo Versace, designed by Dontatella Versace, will feature the fashion house’s “neo classical” design but will also work to align with the Chinese culture.

Last year, Lagerfeld was enlisted by Accor to create the emblem for the new Sofitel So in Singapore, which is set to open this May.

Last year, Lagerfeld revealed “The Lion’s Seal” which the hotel described as paying “homage to the lion as a symbol of innate courage and dignity – values that will be fostered by the boutique design hotel in driving evolution of the local hospitality industry.”

Sofitel So is the brand’s newest label launched in 2011. Recognising the valuable connection between fashion and hospitality, Sofitel aims to connect its famous ‘art de vivre’ (the art of living) motto to the signature of a world-famous designer.

So Sofitel Singapore To Open May 2014

Sofitel So Singapore to open in May 2014

The company also commissioned Christian Lacroix to lend a Baroque touch to Sofitel So Bangkok while Japanese fashion designer Kenzo Takada was artistic director for Sofitel So Mauritius Bel Ombre.

Last year, Lagerfeld also designed the new pool space at the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo along with the area surrounding the hotel’s Joël Robuchon restaurant.

The pool’s floor is embedded with lights and surrounding areas feature a long glass bar, lush gardens and a neutral colour palette of grey and white. Its most striking feature is a 20-metre long installation inspired by The Iliad and The Odyssey for which Lagerfeld shot a black-and-white series of models demonstrating Ulysses’ journey. These images were then etched into large glass panels that are installed alongside the pool.

Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo Pool

Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo pool

“We wanted something that would remain for generations,” said  Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo general manager Jean-Claude Messant. “Karl has definitely achieved that.”

Just last month, Lagerfeld was asked to design two luxury suites in Hôtel De Crillon, a Parisian landmark which was originally built in 1758. As part of the hotel’s restoration, Lagerfeld will revitalise two grand apartments to showcase both opulent and heritage design elements.

So as the “designer hotel” flourishes it poses the question of whether fashion designers are the new hotel designers?

Along with a host of successful luxury fashion houses making the transition into hospitality, Lagerfeld’s project pipeline has demonstrated that fashion is favoured and in high demand particularly across luxury tourism destinations.

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  1. Jason

    Angela, Nice article. having worked on the Versace projects you cannot deny they are not iconic developments. These unique developments add to the Hotel landscape and are a welcome addition.
    Jason Kelly