June 1, 2012

Fit For a Queen: Rockwell Group’s W Paris-Opéra

“A meeting of two worlds, Parisian elegance and New York energy.” That’s how Rockwell Group Europe managing and creative director Diego Gronda describes the W Paris-Opéra. Occupying three Haussmann buildings near the Opéra Garnier, the 91-room hotel boasts an ornate entrance hall and 11 original marble mantelpieces alongside David Rockwell signature interventions.

The most striking of the latter are the walls wrapping the stair and elevator core and reappear­ing at strategic points throughout the public spaces. These walls were constructed from black-lacquered stainless steel perforated to allow colored LEDs to flash through. “Almost like a heart that pulses,” Gronda says.

As classical architectural elements approach an LED wall, some­thing mysterious happens to them-they seem to morph under the influence of the flashing light. The chevron pattern in the terrazzo flooring fades; moldings appear to melt. In addition, the light serves a practical purpose, guiding guests, for instance, from the hotel’s front doors to the restaurant, the first in Paris from Catalan star chef Sergi Arola.

The Paris-New York combo makes itself very evident in the guest rooms, too. Graffiti is juxtaposed with Louis XV-style chairs. Bedcovers’ toile de Jouy combines vintage Citroën cars and other Parisian sights. Pillows are printed with photos of fashion models dressed as histor­ical figures: Marie-Antoinette, the Marquis de Sade, et al.

Each of the top-tier “extreme wow” suites is dominated by an enormous round bed with side sections that separate to become a pair of crescent sofas. “It’s a real party bed,” Gronda says. For opening night, W even brought in the pop band Singtank to play while jumping up and down on one.

Photography by Eric Laignel 

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