Hospitality design guru Alexandra Champalimaud talks about adding authentic localised details to hotel interiors, while imparting timeless style to these elegant spaces.
She's the brains behind some of the world’s most elegant hotels, including The Dorchester London and Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta. She will also oversee the interior design for Raffles Hotel in Singapore, as part of its ongoing restoration work. Here, Alexandra Champalimaud shares her formula for creating chic, timeless spaces.
What is your signature style?
Alexandra Champalimaud I don’t believe Champalimaud has a signature look, per se. We take a highly individualised approach to every project and attempt to bring a sense of uniqueness based on the people and the environment. To be successful, our designs need to be creative, never trendy, and timeless.
How is the design of the Jakarta property different from the other Four Seasons Hotels?
AC Our goal was to incorporate the sophistication of the Four Seasons brand while being very mindful of local Indonesian culture and history so that both tourists and residents could enjoy the space. The idea was to tell the story of Jakarta’s past, present and future through design. One example is the gilded, hand-carved tiles affixed to the ceiling of The Library, which is a private space with handsome seating and jewel-toned walls. Indonesians love their chocolate but adore jewellery even more, so we designed a patisserie to house an array of sweets in the fashion of a jewel box with gilded geometric trim.
The lobby usually sets the tone for a hotel. How did you make this space extra special?
AC When they walk in, guests are greeted by a gilded 8.5m high open space with gorgeous ornamental metal work at the entry and divider screens. There’s a crystal chandelier from Lasvit, a marble staircase as well as an almost 5m tall water feature.
Which part of the hotel speaks to you the most?
AC My favourite space is the Palm Court, a signature public space within the hotel. Between the height of the ceilings, the finned columns that are illuminated at night and the beautiful chandeliers, we were able to create a space that completely transports hotel guests.
How do you think hospitality design will evolve in the future?
AC The guest experience will become more intuitive, especially with greater collaboration between technology and design. Properties will continue to draw upon local flavour as travellers seek a truly authentic and seamless experience. All of this will be reflected in the design of hospitality spaces.