Buy: Jean Paul Gaultier Collaboration Tote Bag

Longtime amFAR supporter Jean Paul Gaultier worked in collaboration with the organization to make this bright and bold summer tote, which isn't only an inexpensive way of owning a piece…

Longtime amFAR supporter Jean Paul Gaultier worked in collaboration with the organization to make this bright and bold summer tote, which isn’t only an inexpensive way of owning a piece by the French designer, but also (and more importantly) a way……

Dutch designer Hella Jongerius has created the economy and business cabin interiors for airline KLM's first Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which go into operation today. (more…)

Dutch designer Hella Jongerius has created the economy and business cabin interiors for airline KLM’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which go into operation today. (more…)

Following up their successful Fall 2015 collaboration, fashion innovator Public School and design-forward travel and lifestyle accessory brand TUMI have released their Pre-Fall 2016 capsule collection. Designed as part of…

Following up their successful Fall 2015 collaboration, fashion innovator Public School and design-forward travel and lifestyle accessory brand TUMI have released their Pre-Fall 2016 capsule collection. Designed as part of Public School’s first……

Buy: Classic OB T-Shirt

Made from cotton jersey that's sustainably grown in California's Central Valley, Olderbrother's classic OB T-shirt is designed in Portland and cut, sewn and dyed in LA. Each T-shirt is a…

Made from cotton jersey that’s sustainably grown in California’s Central Valley, Olderbrother’s classic OB T-shirt is designed in Portland and cut, sewn and dyed in LA. Each T-shirt is a little different—due to the dyeing process—but each boasts that……

Dezeen Watch Store: London-based startup Objest is launching its first range of watches, with faces featuring a hatched pattern instead of the usual hour and minute markings. (more…)

Dezeen Watch Store: London-based startup Objest is launching its first range of watches, with faces featuring a hatched pattern instead of the usual hour and minute markings. (more…)

Superior interiors

Words by Sarah BurghardWhile I love the term 'cookie-cutter design', creating a standard look couldn't be further from my ethos as a designer and what I offer the hospitality industry.…

Words by Sarah BurghardWhile I love the term ‘cookie-cutter design’, creating a standard look couldn’t be further from my ethos as a designer and what I offer the hospitality industry. I am lucky to have the choice. There is a luxury in workin…

Foster + Partners completes Dubai Apple store

Foster and Partners has completed a new Apple Store in Dubai – its third retail commission for the world’s largest publically traded company

Foster and Partners has completed a new Apple Store in Dubai – its third retail commission for the world’s largest publically traded company

Dream location

Words by Francis PearceNo two rooms in the new Reverie Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City are alike. Nor for that matter is the Italian-dominated decor of the hotel much…

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Words by Francis Pearce

No two rooms in the new Reverie Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City are alike. Nor for that matter is the Italian-dominated decor of the hotel much like any other’s, especially in Vietnam. The ultra-luxury property owned by Leading Hotels of the World is in Times Square, a 39-storey high-rise building near the Opera House. The glass-fronted complex cost some £82.3m ($125m) to build, and as its centrepiece the hotel is unashamedly eccentric in its opulence. All 286 rooms are individually furnished by some of Italy’s finest design houses.

It has the city’s longest bar, an 1895 Bechstein piano, a custom-made, 3m-tall Baldi clock and a fleet of vehicles that includes a limited-edition Rolls-Royce Phantom Dragon.

A stay in the most expensive suite will be close to £10,000 a night — but the use of the 1,200 sq m spa is included. What were they thinking? Chief architect Kent Lui of Hong Kong-based Kent Lui Tactics, says: ‘In French, the verb rêver means to dream. The inspiration behind this project was to present travellers with an experience that they would have thought they could only dream of, by designing a sky-high palatial retreat in the increasingly vertical city that is ever-evolving Saigon, and have it rise far above everything else — in both height and quality.’

Inside a grand Deluxe room at the Reverie Saigon
Inside a grand Deluxe room at the Reverie Saigon

The dream took time to realise. ‘The Times Square building was always intended to be a mixed-use development where premium office spaces, high-end retail, luxury apartments and the most extravagant hospitality experience in Vietnam would come together as a new landmark for the city — with The Reverie Saigon as the crowning achievement of a project which took nearly seven years to bring to life. The basement and superstructure alone took approximately three years to put in place, and then work on the interiors began in 2011, starting with a worldwide search for the best in furniture design and craftsmanship,’ Lui explains.

He says the overarching design approach was to create spaces ‘that would exude a contemporary luxury defined by unreserved grandeur — generous in splendour. The hotel really does present a design experience like no other. This was very deliberate on our part, as from the very beginning we set out to be a trendsetter rather than a trend follower. Unlike conventional hotel blueprints, ours was never limited by preconceived designs and concepts. The idea was to deliver a delightfully outside-of-the-box experience. It’s meant to be opulent and extravagant — and unapologetically so.’

Lui set out ‘to give guests the opportunity to experience and enjoy some of the most interesting, most unique interior decor that they’ve ever come across’.

He cites the grandiose sofa in the seventh-floor lobby, from Colombostile’s Esmeralda line of masterpiece works. ‘Ours is being outfitted in a regal purple ostrich leather with striking gold leaf trim. It’s the only one of its kind in the world,’ he says.

‘There’s also the one-of-a-kind Bechstein grand piano from 1895 that has been re-imagined and transformed by Baldi into an opulent piece of art, with a veneer of a mosaic of precious malachite stone and accented with gilded bronze. And then there’s the backlit golden agate fossil stone that lines the guest elevators, flanked by sleek, stencilled steel. Nothing is ordinary here, and that was the idea.’

Lui has mainly turned to Italian design, and although a predominantly florid and extravagant strain permeates the decor, cleaner contemporary pieces are also to be found among the fixtures and furnishings and on sale. Tactics Kent Lui appointed a full-time representative based in Milan to handle the procurement. The hotel’s seventh-floor retail spaces have their own lobby and include showrooms housing products from the likes of Cassina, Colombostile, Visionnaire, B&B Italia and Georgetti; items from many also being in the rooms and public spaces. ‘Guests desiring to have some of the same pieces they come across in their guest rooms can very easily choose their favourites without having to painstakingly source them like we did,’ states Lui.

The bathroom of one of the hotel’s Junior Suites
The bathroom of one of the hotel’s Junior Suites

But Italian? ‘It’s true that the physical setting, at first glance, may not be apparently Vietnamese,’ declares Lui. But ‘those familiar with the local culture will be quick to realise that the Vietnamese people’s fondness for all things colourful, vibrant and lively, is very well represented throughout the hotel. From the colourful installation of individual pieces of Murano glass on the ceiling of the ground-floor lobby (which collectively form the geographic silhouette of Vietnam), to the equally exquisite chandeliers and vases by Venini in richly coloured, hand-blown glass; from the vibrant, hand-laid mosaic art by Sicis to the hand-woven silks by Rubelli (one of the oldest fabric manufacturers in Italy), the Vietnamese people’s naturally joyful character and their enthusiasm for colours are actually apparent throughout.’

He says that Asian symbolism can be found throughout the property, interpreted by European artistry and craftsmanship. In The Royal Pavilion restaurant, for example, the rich golden and vermillion colour palette speaks to many Asian cultures, particularly those who have been greatly influenced by China. ‘The bringing together of seemingly contrasting yet complementary elements — and taking inspiration from the world outside Vietnam — is, in many ways, illustrative of the country’s storied past. That’s why throughout the hotel you’ll often come across an eclectic arrangement of furnishings, textiles and decorative pieces,’ says Lui. ‘Anywhere else, a hotel as eccentric as this would likely have a different effect, but its placement here is perfect. It is in so many ways quintessentially Vietnam.’

If Only there were moving meetings to promote good health

Sitting down for long periods of time, in front of a computer, is slowly killing us, even if we take regular exercise. That's the conclusion of a major scientific study…

Sitting down for long periods of time, in front of a computer, is slowly killing us, even if we take regular exercise. That’s the conclusion of a major scientific study published this year. It reveals that compared to people who sit the least,…

One to Watch: The Vawdrey House

Words by Emily MartinWhoInterior architect Jennifer Hamilton worked at MoreySmith for '10 happy years' before moving from London to the South Coast and establishing The Vawdrey House in 2012.Two years…

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Words by Emily Martin

Who

Interior architect Jennifer Hamilton worked at MoreySmith for ’10 happy years’ before moving from London to the South Coast and establishing The Vawdrey House in 2012.

Two years later, former MoreySmith colleagues Graeme Montague and Ian Chapman joined Hamilton as directors, together managing a range of design projects. ‘We see The Vawdrey House as a design collective, producing good design in whatever field is called for,’ says Hamilton, completing projects including bespoke joinery, wallpaper design, signage and graphics.

MSL Group office, London
MSL Group office, London.
Photo: Siobhan Doran. Completed February 2014. A 1,672 sq m creative agency workspace spread over three floors. Its features include a ‘hub’ with large tables on wheels that can be pushed together for a pitch or presentation. Hamilton says: ‘We approached the building as an exhibition space, dropping in meeting and team-working areas, and using galvanised Kee Klamp frames to form rooms within the vast spaces.’

‘We would love to get involved with furniture, products and lighting design if the opportunity arose. We are also considering curating our own in-house vintage design collection.’

Why
‘Having started a family and moved from London, I knew my previous working schedule would be hard to maintain,’ says Hamilton, who sought work to suit her family schedule.

Cullenders, Reigate, Surrey
Felicity J Lord, London. Photo: Felicity J Lord. Completed July 2013. Tasked with the master design scheme of new interiors for the estate agent for rolling out around its branches, The Vawdrey House fitted out two flagship offices in Chiswick and Islington. Instead of a traditional office feel, the design features a relaxed, café-style environment with interiors reflecting their location.

While working on the refurbishment of a house in west London, private work started to come in, revealing her ‘path’ in the process. Fellow director Montague left MoreySmith in 2014 and joined forces with Hamilton while working on projects in his hometown of Tunbridge Wells.

Chapman, who had been working with Hamilton on an ‘ad-hoc basis’ for several years, joined as the third partner after relocating to West Sussex in 2014. ‘We will be a RIBA Chartered Practice by the end of this year, so our work is going from strength to strength,’ says Hamilton.

The trio are currently embarking on their first new-build project in Kent.

Cullenders, Reigate, Surrey
Cullenders, Reigate, Surrey. Photo: Siobhan Doran. Completed September 2014. This delicatessen and kitchen, featuring a wine bar, deli counter and shop, was designed with a ‘homely feel’ but with a ‘contemporary edge’.

Where
thevawdreyhouse.com