Contract Magazine - January/February 2018 - 50
DESIGNER OF THE YEAR
"For me, the moment right now is like a blank canvas.
My business is evolving. I'm evolving. I feel like I'm
growing and bursting out and finding myself, which
is the most beautiful time I've ever, ever experienced
in my career." -Alessandro Munge
The Studio Munge team
(top, left) has grown from
30 to 60 professionals
in just three years. Munge
and his wife Grace Zeppilli
have two daughters
(top, right). Recent Studio
Munge projects include the
restaurant Lago by Julian
Serrano, completed in 2015 in
Las Vegas (opposite, top two);
and Figo (opposite, bottom),
which opened in Toronto
named the Mister C Bar Room, and the restaurant Kost on the 44th
floor. The seduction begins in the lobby. Custom-cut black-and-whitepatterned marble floors, crushed black velvet wall panels, a reception
desk cut like a diamond in etched gold-colored metal: Together, they
suggest an opulent temple of desire. Guestrooms are luxurious and
contemporary, featuring custom furnishings by Munge in such tactile
materials as velvet and leather, abundant mirrors, and fabulous modern
art and photography. To stay at Bisha Hotel is to feel younger, richer,
and sexier-or that is the promise.
The guest experience is thoroughly considered in the Mister C
Bar Room, where one can be seated in plush velvet chairs or sofas near
an ornate fireplace, or at an onyx bar at one end of the expansive room.
Lighting is alluringly low. Art lovers will appreciate six oversized framed
scarves, creations by Damien Hirst for Alexander McQueen, with their
silken fabrics festooned with imagery of skulls and ethereal butterflies.
Mister C Bar Room is as dark and mysterious as the restaurant,
Kost, is light and effervescent. Here, woven rattan chairs and ivory
banquettes with orange detailing suggest a sensuous coastal resort.
A folding glass wall extends the dining space onto a generous terrace,
complete with a glistening rooftop pool. Munge emphasizes that this
dining experience-44 floors up with views of the entire city-is unlike
any other in Toronto.
in Los Angeles, across from Staples Center, opening in fall 2018,
and the renovation of Park Hyatt Toronto will be complete in 2019.
In China, Munge is designing interiors for two Shangri-La Hotel
and Resort locations, in Nanning and Shanghai, to open by 2021.
Perhaps the most heady current endeavor for Munge
is Nobu Toronto (see page 136), for celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa
and actor Robert De Niro, set to debut in 2020. Munge is planning
sumptuous interiors-hotel rooms, private residences, and a Nobu
restaurant-within the 49-story twin towers by Teeple Architects.
Just a block from Bisha Hotel, Nobu Toronto promises to rocket Studio
Munge to a dizzying level of design fame.
Gratified to be named Designer of the Year, Munge admits
to being a bit flummoxed to be recognized for "things that I'm truly
passionate about every day-things that come naturally to me.
It's fun! I get to create beautiful spaces." c
Nobu Toronto and a bright future
Today, Studio Munge is brimming with activity, with key projects
in multiple locales. Lago, a restaurant by Julian Serrano, is due to open
this year on the top floor of the Bellagio Shanghai after a successful
Lago by Munge opened in Las Vegas in 2015. Design development
is underway for the new Park Hyatt Hotel and Residences
JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2018