May 24, 2013

IIDA Awards: Rockwell Group Europe’s W Paris-Opéra

The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) recently announced Rockwell Group Europe‘s W Paris–Opéra as a winner in the IIDA 2013 Awards Hospitality Category.

“A meeting of two worlds, Parisian elegance and New York energy.” That’s how Rockwell Group Europe 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 partitions wrapping the stair and elevator core, enclosing a banquette in the lounge, and appearing at other strategic points throughout the public spaces. These partitions 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 a partition, something mysterious happens to them—they seem to morph under the influence of the flashing LEDs. The chevron pattern in the terrazzo flooring fades; a molding appears to melt. In addition, their light serves a practical purpose, for instance guiding guests from the hotel’s front doors to the restaurant. (It’s 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 features 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 split off 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.

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