Throughout history, Rome and Paris have competed in terms of creativity, history, gastronomy, fashion and art, but with five stars Bulgari Hotel Paris They called a truce on Avenue George V. Rare ceramics by Gio Ponti, intricate Pinecone lamps by Paola Navone for Fontana Arte, Dedar fabrics in garnet, amethyst, and gilt topaz, and elegant Antonio Citterio-designed furniture by B&B Italia, Flexform, Flos, and Maxalto stand alongside tall lacquered eucalyptus doors by the best carpentry and straw marquetry decorations from Ateliers Lison de Caunes. Italian sophistication is found in every detail, such as the bookmatched Arabescato marble in the bathroom – a feat of engineering to cut the blocks with symmetrical veins – while the Parisian art of living is evident in the chevron pattern of the carpets, an elegant nod on French herringbone parquet or a glass artwork engraved with the motif of the Bulgari Serpenti Constellation, using the same historical technique as used by France’s master glassmaker René Lalique.
Upon entering, visitors will discover a portrait of Italian actress Monica Vitti painted by Franco-Chinese artist Yan Pei-Ming, a black and white photograph of Sophia Loren, and a distinctive eight-pointed star made of black Zimbabwean granite on the floor, reflecting the one at Bulgari’s historic boutique on Via Condotti in Rome. The creation of the Milan architecture and interior design office ACPV Architects Antonio Citterio Patricia Much, the decor of the Bulgari Hotel Paris, with its 76 rooms and suites, displays a luxurious “Italianness” typical of the famous jewelry brand inspired by Roman art and architecture. Patricia Viel, architect, co-founder and CEO of ACPV Architects Antonio Citterio, responsible for designing all Bulgari hotels worldwide, shares her creative process in designing the latest outpost of the Bulgari family of hotels.
Describe your design language and philosophy, your sources of inspiration and what makes your approach unique. How did your approach shape the interiors and facades you created for the Bulgari Hotel Paris?
We approach architectural or interior design projects by studying the construction site, its context and history, considering it the raw material of our projects. We look for solutions that build a strong relationship with the environment by working on the architectural language and design articulations of the spaces. The aim is always to further develop the values that determine life at the location. Our office was responsible for the interior design of the Bulgari Hotel Paris, which comprises 76 rooms and suites, including the 400 m² penthouse. We also worked on the building and the facade of the hotel in collaboration with the French architects Valode & Pistre. A key aspect of our project was to design with an architectural language that responds to Paris’ inspirational location in the Golden Triangle. The aim was to establish a stylistic continuum with the geometry of Haussmann’s Paris and its Grands Boulevards, with the decorative rows of trees and with the Art Deco perspectives of the Trocadéro on the Seine. The Bulgari Hotel Paris elegantly integrates into this duality between bourgeois and bohemian identities with its own expression of luminosity and purity.
What was your brief and the most important consideration when you started designing the hotel and the overarching guiding principle you were trying to achieve?
Our goal was to achieve a synthesis between this particular Parisian identity and the Roman spirit and meticulous craftsmanship of Bulgari. The taste for colors, the tones and the aesthetics that characterize the Bulgari brand are translated in the hotels into an architecture that is not interested in creating trophies, but instead goes beyond the architectural project itself to create unique experiences . The design also relies on a careful choice of materials, for example with the choice of typical Parisian limestone, which reinforces the building’s relationship with the urban context.
How did you take into account the architecture and character of the building in the interior design and what original elements did you keep and change?
One of the challenges was the design of the facade from the 1970s. What held us back was its original charm and timeless contemporaneity. The outer lines have been reduced to subtly reference Italian Renaissance architecture, creating elongated window openings that span two floors, an element reminiscent of aristocratic palaces designed by Andrea Palladio. With this facade design, the Bulgari Hotel Paris resembles the hotels in Milan, London and Beijing, but at the same time integrates local traditions, such as ashlar masonry in the case of Paris. The interiors reaffirm this special bond between Bulgari hotels, reinterpreting luxury as a new perception of quality, expressed through the choice of materials and fabrics.
How did you combine Italian design and French craftsmanship in this hotel?
It was really about choosing the textures and colors that characterize the other Bulgari properties. Silk wallpaper, lacquered eucalyptus woodwork, tapestries and the use of granite were the defining features of the interiors, which house designer furniture. The Italian design is then enriched by collaborating with the best French craft workshops, working in the style of the famous French interior designer Jean-Michel Frank, with lacquer, parchment and straw marquetry. In this way, the Bulgari Hotel Paris becomes, so to speak, a marriage between “la dolce vita” and “la vie en rose”.
Tell me about the materials, furniture, lighting, artwork and color schemes you incorporated and walk through each of the hotel’s main rooms.
All design elements were selected to evoke the mysterious, intimate and surprising. In fact, the Bulgari Penthouse stands out the most with its spectacular interior design, which represents a whole new kind of hotel experience. The dining room features an antique hand-woven Altai carpet and is illuminated by a glass and gold chandelier by Barovier & Toso. It also has two kitchens, its own bar, a very large bedroom oriented towards the Eiffel Tower, a bathroom clad in Bookmatched Arabescato marble, an adjoining private gym, a hammam, a pantry, a private studio with its own Cigar cellar, a living room and a daylight-flooded dressing room. The penthouse also features leather bookcases, marble and parchment walls, vases by Gio Ponti, images by photographer Irene Kung, Turkish kilims and a rare angora wool filikiwhile the soundscape is shaped by Devialet technology.
Which custom-made pieces of furniture or special design elements in the hotel stand out and who were the craftsmen?
The lounge area welcomes guests with iconic pieces of furniture right from the start of their stay. Here we have selected pieces from Flexform (like the Feel Good chairs), B&B Italia and Maxalto (the Pathos tables and Leukon floor lamps) – all designed by Antonio Citterio. There is also a Pinecone lamp by Paola Navone for FontanaArte, rugs by Altai and plates by Gio Ponti for Richard Ginori above the fireplace. In terms of bespoke furniture, for example in the penthouse master bedroom we have a bespoke bed and table complemented by Febo chairs designed by Antonio Citterio for Maxalto and curtains by Dedar. The interiors of the suites are designed in line with this choice, for example the Executive Suite with Terrace with furniture by Maxalto (Pathos table and Febo chairs designed by Antonio Citterio) and lamps by Flos (Kelvin LED lamp by Antonio Citterio). ). The curtains and sofa fabrics are from Dedar.
What is your favorite room in the hotel and why? How is it designed?
It would have to be the Bulgari Penthouse which, in addition to its mesmerizing interiors, also includes 600m² of terraces and gardens that celebrate the joy of being outdoors. The entire place has been designed to provide a perfect setting for an exceptional stay in the heart of Paris, at every step of the guest experience. The roof garden with its backdrop of Parisian rooftops offers a panoramic view over the most beautiful city in the world. It is an enticing spot for a casual sunset stroll among oak, magnolia, currant, apple and pear trees arranged in a cottage garden style, where you can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities such as yoga. It’s a truly unique, intimate and welcoming place.