Boutique Design - January/February 2009 - (Page 38)

Myth Meets Luxury BY KELLY HUSHIN P rose from Homer, drama from Sophocles, poetry from Bacchylides, art from Titian and Botticelli. Studied individually, such works might confuse our pragmatic and modern ways of thinking about design, but together they make up one of the greatest forms of legend we still fantasize about and are inspired by today. Words of ancient Greek mythologists and paintings from Greek and Roman artists bring to life undying stories and iconographic images unparalleled in their right. Through paintings and stories, we can begin to visualize Zeus with his lightning rods, Odysseus and his Trojan horse, and even the Underworld, where lived the Elysian Fields. According to myth, it was in this most fantastical of places that the souls of the heroic and the virtuous were laid to rest. Cue in the Elysian brand — a luxury concept focused on a level of service that can grant its guests every whim, (or so it hopes) akin to a resting place fit for the gods. The first Elysian hotel is in Chicago and is slated for completion in spring 2009. The design themes of the property (which will have 188-suites and 52 private residences) were laid out and executed by Chicago-based Simeone Deary Design Group. Principals Lisa Simeone and Gina Deary of Simeone Deary Design Group came on board the Elysian project in 2002 when it was just developing as an idea. “The Elysian fields from Greek mythology is the resting place where heroes and gods would go,” said Simeone. “We started thinking of the project as a sort of Greco-Roman bones, the architecture is very European. The outside came before the inside. We had this beautiful Parisian exterior and a name with Greco-Roman references. We wanted to make some kind of connection. Also the client kept saying, ‘Glamour, glamour, glamour!’” “Before we even came up with a design concept, we came 38 • boutique DESIGN january/february 2009 up with the concept of the whole hotel, a story of the brand,” said Deary. “We came up with a storyline for them. They’re looking at sites all over the world so we needed to develop the idea of what Elysian was; what would change and what would stay the same. We came up with a five prong idea for them about location, history, service, technology and luxury.” While the mythic name certainly lends a hand to the design’s overall feel, both Simeone and Deary stressed that the interior design of the hotel is mainly focused on bringing guests a sense of modern luxury and elegance that reminisces the grand hotels of the 1920s, while staying true to Chicago. “One of the biggest things for us was to root it in Chicago,” said Deary. “The heyday of Chicago architecture was this modernist, art deco [feel]. This appealed to us and we researched where that would take us. All the artists and architects were looking at Europe after the fire [of Chicago]. When people think of glamour, that’s where it all began.” “We loved the idea of great craftsmanship,” she continued. “How would we bring it into the Elysian? We contemporized the idea of modern. We came to find that a lot of fashion designers — Chanel, Dior — were influenced by this period in Europe. So all of our interior elements are taken from these design motifs. [The] drapery is based on Dior. For the lighting we took the same approach as Chanel did with jewelry. We pulled it all together in a jewelry box of ideas about what glamour really is.” “We took out the color and pattern and focused on the super drama of black mixed to white,” said Simeone. “The entire interior of the lobby is only black and white.” Deary added, “Color sometimes makes you miss out on details.” In the guestrooms, a signature color will shine against a fairly neutral palette of black, white, platinum silver and cream. More so than color and pattern, guests will focus on rich textures and lines in embroidery, silk velvets and moldings. One of the standout features of the hotel is in the spa,

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Boutique Design - January/February 2009

Boutique Design - January/February 2009
Boutique Buzz
Designer’s Eye
Ian Schrager on Edition, His Partnership with Marriott
Business Sense
Niche. Improvement. Escape. The State of the Industry: Now and the Future
Industry Research
Three Firms Fight On
The Do’s and Don’ts of Networking
Simeone Deary Design
Haute Suites
Shopping the Market: Tabletop
Shopping the Market: Seating
Jeffrey S. Degen, AIA On Reasons Why the Time is Right for Hotel Development
Wanda Jankowski Speaks to Karen Daroff about Bathroom Trends
Calendar/ Advertisers Index

Boutique Design - January/February 2009