The Bulgari Paris Hotel presents Italian elegance in the heart of the French capital
Throughout history, Rome and Paris may have rivaled each other in terms of creativity, history, gastronomy, fashion and art, but at the five-star Bulgari Paris hotel on Avenue George V , they announced a truce. Rare ceramics by Gio Ponti, intertwined Pinecone lamps by Paola Navone for Fontana Arte, Dedar fabrics in garnet, amethyst and golden topaz, refined furniture by Antonio Citterio by B&B Italia, Flexform, Flos and Maxalto stand alongside high doors in varnished eucalyptus made by the cabinetmakers and decoration in straw marquetry by Ateliers Lison de Caunes. Italian sophistication can be found in every detail, such as the matching Arabescato marble in the bathroom – a technical feat to cut the blocks with symmetrical veins – while the Parisian art of living is found in the chevron pattern of the carpets, a elegant nod to the French chevron. parquet, or a glass artwork engraved with the Bulgari Serpenti Constellation pattern using the same historic technique as French master glassmaker René Lalique.
As soon as they enter, visitors discover a portrait of Italian actress Monica Vitti painted by Franco-Chinese artist Yan Pei-Ming, a black and white photograph by Sophia Loren and a signature eight-pointed star in black granite from the Zimbabwe on the floor echoing the one in Bulgari’s historic boutique on Via Condotti in Rome. Designed by the Milanese architecture and interior design firm ACPV Architects Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel, the decor of the Bulgari Paris hotel with its 76 rooms and suites showcases a luxurious “Italian-ness” specific to the famous jewelry brand. inspired by Roman art and architecture. Responsible for the design of all Bulgari hotels worldwide, Patricia Viel, architect, co-founder and CEO of ACPV Architects Antonio Citterio, shares her creative process in designing the latest outpost of the Bulgari hotel family.
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 site, its context and its history, and we consider them as the raw material for our projects. We are looking for solutions that build a strong relationship with the environment by working on the architectural language and design articulations of spaces. The objective is always to enhance the values that govern the life of the place. For Bulgari Hotel Paris, our firm was in charge of the interior design of 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 architecture firm Valode & Pistre. A key aspect of our project was to design with an architectural language that responds to the inspiring location of Paris’ Golden Triangle. It was a question of establishing a stylistic continuum with the geometry of Haussmannian Paris and its Grands Boulevards, with the neat rows of trees and with the Art Deco perspectives of the Trocadéro towards the Seine. Bulgari Hotel Paris fits elegantly into this duality between bourgeois and bohemian identities with its own expression of luminosity and purity.
What was your mission and most important consideration when you started designing the hotel, and the main idea you tried to achieve?
We sought to achieve a synthesis between this particular Parisian identity and the Roman spirit and the meticulous know-how of Bulgari. The taste for colors, the tone of voice and the aesthetics that distinguish the Bulgari brand are reflected in the hotels by an architecture that is not interested in the creation of trophies but that goes beyond the architectural project itself. to create unique experiences. The design also calls for a rigorous selection of materials, with for example the choice of a typically Parisian limestone which reinforces the relationship of the building with the urban context.
How did you take into account the architecture and character of the building when designing the interior, and what original elements did you keep and modify?
One of the challenges was the design of the facade, which dates back to the 1970s. What we have kept is its original charm and its timeless contemporaneity. Exterior lines have been streamlined to subtly reference Italian Renaissance architecture by creating elongated window openings that span two floors, an element reminiscent of the aristocratic palaces designed by Andrea Palladio. With this facade design, Bulgari Hotel Paris resembles hotels in Milan, London and Beijing, while incorporating local traditions, such as freestone masonry in the case of Paris. The interiors reiterate this special bond between Bulgari Hotels by reinterpreting luxury as a new perception of quality that is expressed through the choice of materials and fabrics.
How did you combine Italian design and French know-how in this hotel?
It was really about selecting the textures and colors that characterize the other Bulgari properties. Silk wall coverings, varnished eucalyptus woodwork, tapestries and the use of granite characterize the interiors which house designer furniture. Italian design was then enriched by the collaboration with the best workshops of French craftsmen who worked lacquer, parchment and straw marquetry in the style of the famous French interior designer Jean-Michel Frank. Thus, in a certain sense, Bulgari Hotel Paris becomes a marriage between “la dolce vita” and “la vie en rose”.
Tell me about the materials, furnishings, lighting, artwork, and color schemes you’ve incorporated, through each of the hotel’s main spaces.
The selection of all design elements aimed to evoke mystery, intimacy and surprise. In fact, it’s the Bulgari Penthouse that stands out the most with its spectacular interiors that represent a whole new kind of hotel experience. Its dining room is adorned with an antique hand-woven Altai rug and is lit by a glass and gold chandelier by Barovier & Toso. It also has two kitchens, its own bar, a very large bedroom aligned with the Eiffel Tower, a bathroom dressed in matching Arabescato marble, an adjoining private fitness room, a hammam, a pantry, a private studio with its own cigar cellar, a living room and a dressing room lit by daylight. The Penthouse also includes leather bookcases, walls finished in marble and parchment, vases by Gio Ponti, images by photographer Irene Kung, Turkish kilims and rare angora wool. filikiwhile the soundscape is shaped by Devialet technology.
What custom furniture or special hotel design elements stand out in particular, and who were the artisans?
The lounge area welcomes guests with iconic furniture from the start of their stay. Here we’ve 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, Altai rugs and plates by Gio Ponti for Richard Ginori above the fireplace. In terms of bespoke furniture, for example, in the master bedroom of the Penthouse we have a bespoke designed 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 harmony with this selection, for example, the executive suite with terrace includes furniture by Maxalto (Pathos table and Febo chairs designed by Antonio Citterio) and lighting by Flos (Kelvin LED lamp by Antonio Citterio) . The curtains and sofa fabrics are by Dedar.
What is your favorite room in the hotel and why? How is it designed?
It should be the Bulgari Penthouse which, in addition to its fascinating interiors, also includes 600 m² of terraces and gardens that celebrate the joy of spending time outdoors. The whole place has been designed to offer a perfect setting for an extraordinary stay in the heart of Paris at every stage of the customer experience. The hanging garden, with the rooftops of Paris in the background, offers a panoramic view of the most beautiful city in the world. It is an alluring place where you can stroll at sunset among the oaks, magnolias, gooseberry bushes, apple and pear trees arranged in a cottage garden style, where you can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, such as yoga. It is a truly unique, intimate and welcoming place.