January 1, 2010

Crystal Palace: Paris’ Hôtel Cristal By Mattia Bonetti And Philippe Médioni

It all started with a delivery. When Patrick Allix, co-owner of the Hôtel Cristal Champs-Elysées in Paris, went to source rock crystal in Madagascar, his supplier asked him to take a package back for Mattia Bonetti. “I’d never heard of him,” Allix recalls. “But when he opened the door, I saw lots of wonderful objects behind him.”

Allix initially asked Bonetti simply to design chairs for the hotel; he ended up overseeing the entire project in collaboration with Agence d’Architecture Philippe Médioni. The Hôtel Cristal is the very first hospitality project for Bonetti’s namesake firm. Although he has worked in the past on apartments and yachts, he and his former partner, Elisabeth Garouste, became famous as furniture designers.

The hotel consists of two 19th-century buildings, one neo-Gothic and the other, Haussmannian, suspected to have been a brothel. Philippe Médioni reconfigured the interior to offer 26 guest rooms, each with a different size and layout, plus a unique feature such as a traditional bathtub with chromed claw feet. He outfitted a couple with what he calls a “wink to the past,” one-way mirrors between the bed and bathroom.

When it came to decoration, the owners’ main requirement was the use of crystal: They had a total of 10,000 prisms shipped from Madagascar. In the lobby, they line a long illuminated niche. And guest rooms feature bedside lamps with bases made from solid crystal blocks.

Photography by Eric Laignel.

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