August 29, 2019

15 Whimsical Interiors

How to refresh a classic frame? Add a touch of whimsy. From a comically large egg to a wig-covered cash-wrap desk, touches of playfulness bring humor to these 15 projects.

1. Ippolito Fleitz Group Helps Software Company AEB Explore New Territory in Stuttgart, Germany

Ruthless efficiency is a chilly Germanic stereotype with deep cultural roots. Which is to say that Germans will sometimes pledge their first allegiance to scientific precision, even as it threatens to quash any hint of magnetism or sex appeal. “That mentality is part of our heritage,” Peter Ippolito explains. The architect is a romantic and also a member, with Gunter Fleitz, of the Interior Design Hall of Fame. Clients come to them for interventions that unlock creativity and connection, two precious human impulses now recognized as fundaments of modern business. Such was the scenario with AEB. Read more about the office

2. Color Reigns Supreme at Teresa Sapey’s Tunnel Lounge for the Nhow Marseille

It’s practically a mantra: “I believe color is a material,” Teresa Sapey states. “It not only covers surfaces but also molds them.” Even on the architect’s website, the tab between “about us” and “projects” is “color.” It reigns supreme in the 30,000 square feet of public space at the Nhow Marseille, a newly renovated hotel in the south of France. It’s on a level where there’s no natural light, so Sapey conjured an underwater scheme by applying images of swimmers’ legs and fins on structural columns and wave­like circles on the ceiling and carpet, which is blue, bien sûr. Read more about the project

3. Immersive Art Meets Sleep at Japan’s BnA Alter Museum Hotel

Immersive art has taken on new meaning in Japan. It’s thanks to Kenji Daikoku, Keigo Fukugaki, Yuto Maeda, and Yu Tazawa, the multidisciplinary co-founders of BnA, their hospitality company that aims to showcase and support local emerging talent—a portion of profits goes to each artist—and galleries while providing guests, or patrons, the unique experience of “stay­ing in an art piece.” Lulu Kouno’s happy murals are at parks and children’s hospitals, and here, acrylic castles, snowcapped mountains, and starry skies imbue a sense of adventure, heightened by gently curving walls and a floating bed. Read about the other rooms here

4. Jacques Hervouet Interiors Radically Remakes a Classic Paris Apartment

When the owner of this three-bedroom apartment on Paris’s Left Bank hired Jacques Hervouet to redecorate it, she avowed a profound desire for change. The 2,475-square-foot space had previously been designed in typical Napoleon III style, with chevron parquet, elaborate moldings, and little in the way of decorating flair. Hervouet devised some rather audacious schemes. In the master bedroom, the vintage Liane wall light is by Jean Royère, and the bedside table by Gio Ponti. Read more about the apartment

5. In Valencia, an Artful Children’s Boutique by Clap Encourages Creativity

Clap designed children’s boutique Little Stories as equal parts retail environment and playground. The store’s tall, arched apertures reveal the bright and welcoming interior. Clap took essential traits of successful children’s stores, such as simplicity and adaptability of design, and applied them to the boutiques playful environment. Read more about the project

6. Simone Micheli Revivifies Historic Structure on a Storied Tuscan Estate

Having fallen into a state of Grey Gardens–caliber disarray over the decades, this four-story tower was due for its own renaissance. Owner Francesco Miari Fulcis, who has been slowly converting it into something of a hospitality destination, hired Florence-based architect Simone Micheli to spin the spire’s story anew for the modern era, converting it into wellness-focused guest accommodations. Pictured here, in the bedroom on floor three, crystal pendants recall water droplets, while the custom iron-base side table reiterates the “doodle” theme. Read more about the project

7. Rottet Studio Makes Layovers a Luxury at Renaissance Atlanta Airport Gateway Hotel

Luxury hotels and Lauren Rottet. They definitely go together. But airport hotels? Not so much. The Renaissance Atlanta Airport Gateway Hotel, at the nation’s busiest travel hub, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, does not sound like the kind of project we expect from this Interior Design Hall of Fame member. On the other hand, why shouldn’t road warriors enjoy a touch of class, too? The Renaissance mantra captures it: “Business Unusual.” In reception, a custom chandelier’s handblown glass drops and a Patricia Urquiola woven chair keep company with an acrylic-painted mural by Ryan Coleman. Read more about the hotel

8. Childhood Whimsy Informs Interiors at Paris’s Hôtel Joke by Maidenberg Architecture

The Hôtel Joke is having the last laugh. Bursting with candy colors, nostalgic school references, optical illusions, and interactive toys, Maidenberg Architecture’s 15th project for the Astotel group offers tourists the chance to relive the French childhood they never had. Read more about the hotel

9. Bennett & Böhme Designs Theatrical Restrooms for Wintergarten Berlin

Bennett & Böhme jumped at the chance to reconceive the Wintergarten Berlin theater, already built out by Meyer-Rogge + Kutsche Architektur, as an immersive art installation. Plush red button-tufted velvet-covered ottomans are scattered about the mosaic tile flooring, flashing hints of gold. Overhead, clear glass spheres are suspended from a ceiling sculpted into concentric rings around a central column. Read more about the project

10. Nido Architecture Displays Artistry at the Drawing Hotel in Paris

At the Drawing Hotel in Paris, Nido Architecture collaborated with contemporary artists to design the corridors, including those on the top floor, where a work by painter Thomas Broomé was turned into wallpaper. In this hallway, the wallpaper depicts his ideal library. Read more about the hotel

11. KinneyMorrow Architecture Brings the Marfa Sunshine Inside Art-Filled Adobe Dwelling

There is magic in Marfa, in the vast sky and the light that accompanies the wide-open space—so much of it unencumbered by intervening objects such as trees, buildings, power lines, and other flotsam of modern life. These elements inspired the renovation of a former boarding house near downtown Marfa with the help of Houston architect Michael Morrow and Marfa-based builder Billy Marginot. Read more about the residence

12. Five Retail Wonderlands Subvert Reality

At Gray Matters’ Brooklyn store by Bower Studios, riffing on the brand’s Mildred Egg mule, table bases are ovoids of painted resin composite, but the mirror is a customized Bower production piece. Read more about the five stores

13. Cun Design Thinks Like a Client to Create Its Own Art-Filled Beijing Studio

When a firm designs its own studio, you might think it would be the perfect opportunity for creativity to reign. But the reality is more complicated. Cui Shu, who had decided to relocate his Beijing firm, Cun Designspent three months brainstorming with his 45-person staff to determine what type of place everyone would like to work inCui ultimately came to the conclusion that the only way to address everyone’s bucket lists was to think of the office not as a single entity but as a series of zones, each one its own mini universe. Read more about the studio

14. Dimore Studio Fashions a Unique Look for Luxury Italian Womenswear Emporium One-Off

Over the past decade, Dimore Studio has become one of the design world’s buzziest practices. “Everything we do is about creating a sense of surprise,” declares co-founder and the more creative half of the duo, Emiliano Salci. Dimore Studio’s latest project is One-Off, a luxury womenswear boutique in Brescia, about an hour east of Milan. As the name suggests, the One-Off stores have the express aim of creating an exclusive shopping experience, both in merchandise and environment. Pegboard fitted with dozens of wigs composes a cash-wrap desk. Read more about the store

15. Studio GUM’s Asmundo di Gisira Hotel Is Awash in Catania Lore

Set at the foot of Mount Etna in Sicily, Catania is steeped in legend, mythology, and religion. A noble residence from the 18th century now contains a vibrant boutique hotel, the Asmundo di Gisira by Studio GUM. In a guest room, Gaetano Pesce’s foot and a white crocodile sculpture mingle. Read more about the hotel

Read more: 10 Animals in Design

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