DeSallesFlint Infuses Puro Warsaw Hotel With Eclectic, Informal Aesthetic
It began with what Regis de Salles, creative director at the English firm DeSallesFlint, bluntly terms “a design nightmare”: 14 structural columns, each measuring nearly 5 feet across, running the length of a not-so-spacious ground floor of an eight-story new-build by JEMS Architekci. The project in question was a hotel in central Warsaw for the rapidly expanding Polish brand Puro, its art-packed portfolio of properties catering to a young, cosmopolitan crowd. De Salles and his life and professional partner Simon Flint had already completed three other projects for the brand. Their brief for the Puro Warsaw was to convey the Polish capital’s “historic legacy, modern spirit, and creative energy”—but the columns were posing a literal and figurative barrier. “We tried to say: ‘Can you reduce them, can you take them out?’ But all we got was ‘no, no,’” recalls Flint, practice director at the firm, which focuses primarily on hotel interiors. “Now they’re the defining element.”
Instead of hanging the columns with art (“too contrived,” de Salles declares), the pair commissioned a set of bold canvas coverings printed with old maps of Warsaw and botanical drawings, illuminated by lamps attached to black metal frames. The spiffed-up columns tie together the long, shallow space, which contains the lobby and an Italian restaurant, anchoring a look that reflects DeSallesFlint’s taste for the eclectic as well as Puro’s luxe, informal aesthetic. “We always want the lobbies to feel like you’ve just arrived at your best friend’s home,” de Salles says—that is, assuming your best friend has great taste and an amazing art collection.
From the start, Puro has invested in Polish artists, building a unique collection at each of its seven properties. “They’ve become part of the cultural scene in Poland,” Flint says. The company now has its own in-house curator, Zuzanna Zakaryan, with whom the designers work to ensure the art fits their overarching narrative. For this project, Zakaryan commissioned pieces by local illustrators Tymek Jezierski and Michal Loba for the 146 guest rooms and suites. Jezierski’s sketches depict famous visitors to Warsaw (David Bowie, Pablo Picasso), while Loba’s sparse line drawings of female forms were inspired by iconic city sites; both reflect de Salles and Flint’s objective of wanting guests “to know they’re in Poland but not for the hotel to be themed.”
Drawings aside, the guest rooms are a tranquil, understated counterpoint to the ground-floor lobby and the bar on the hotel’s top floor. A subdued palette including textured linen wall coverings framed in brushed oak, and simple bespoke furnishings by the designers complete what Flint calls an “apartmentlike” mood. From there, he and de Salles hope, guests will explore the cultural gems of Warsaw—or just of their own hotel.
Project Team: Haylie Golding; Lisa Pearson; Charlie Lovell; Vinod Ameya: DeSallesFlint. Into Lighting: Lighting Consultant. Hotel Inwest: Woodwork.
Product Sources: Maxwellrodgers Fabrics: Throw (Guest Room). Golran: Custom Rug. Fredericia: Sofa (Bar). &Tradition: Side Tables. Altfield: Ottoman Upholstery. Gubi: Chairs (Bar), Chairs (Suite). Elitis: Wall Covering (Suite). Metaphores: Ottoman Fabric (Bar). Baxter: Sofa (Lobby). Carl Hansen & Søn: Chairs. Lorenza Bozzoli: Ottoman.