Boutique Design - June 2019 - 27

ALL PHOTOS COUR TE S Y OF ROCCO FOR TE HOTEL S

2 Completed in April, the renovated
Glamis Suite at The Balmoral in
Edinburgh, Scotland, features
curiosities sourced by Polizzi
from antique fairs.

3 The palette at the Roma Suite
in the Hotel de la Ville Rome
recalls the russet clay tiles that
comprise the ancient building
blocks of the Eternal City.

With encyclopedic knowledge of hospitality's inner workings
garnered over a lifetime in the industry, and a husband, William
Shawcross, who wrote the official biography of Queen Elizabeth,
mother of Queen Elizabeth II, Polizzi has developed as if by
osmosis an inherent flair for mixing the classical with the
modern, resulting in elegantly designed spaces that have an
effortless flow. The process has become trickier over the years,
she says. "There was a time when you'd be upset if someone said,
'Your house looks like an (anonymous chain) hotel!' Now
everyone is into design, so a hotel really has to work harder to be
that bit better than a person's home."
A case in point: her refurbishment of the Glamis Suite at The
Balmoral, Edinburgh, Scotland, completed in April. To bring new
life to a legend, Polizzi layered fresh colors, botanical patterns
and a carefully curated balance of contemporary and vintage
treasures. She admits to "loving" antique fairs because she can
pick up something slightly different, one-off pieces guests won't
see elsewhere. "I shouldn't be telling everyone, but I especially
like the Decorative Antiques Fair in Battersea (London) because
you can get things for $50 and $50,000," she says.
This isn't just her philosophy of hotel design, it's a direct extension of her own "lifestyle." Polizzi's a confessed "buy-aholic" for her
own home. "My colleagues laugh when I tell them, 'Don't let me
buy anything,' because the moment I walk into a fair, I'll say, 'Oh, I
must have that!' My house has to be even better than a hotel,
because when people see it, they expect something really good."
However, the group's hotels are not just a reflection of Polizzi's
personal tastes. She thrives on synergetic collaborations with
outside designers across a spectrum of disciplines to introduce
fresh energy into projects. Just opened in May, the Hotel de la
Ville, Rome, is her fourth cooperation with multidisciplinary
architect and interior designer Tommaso Ziffer, Rome. For the
newly acquired 19th century Villa Igiea, Palermo, Italy, she'll
partner with fashion design house Moschino, Milan, and the
primarily residential designer Nicky Haslam, London, to create
what she says will be the city's first "decent" 5-star hotel.
Rocco Forte's first property in Asia, the Westbund Hotel
Shanghai, debuts this autumn, and is an important step for the
brand given the surge in Chinese travelers, says Polizzi. With
590-sq.-ft. guestrooms in a dense metropolis, the hotel signifies
what she sees as one of today's signs of true luxury: space. Her
dexterous hand in weaving styles was strengthened through her
third partnership with interior designer Inge Moore, co-founder
of Muza Lab, London.
It's not just Polizzi's project partners who bring inspiration. Past
and present, classic and contemporary, diverse influences range
from the late Mexican architect Luis Barragán to another of
Boutique Design's Queens of London, interior designer Kit Kemp.
Of course, every project is a partnership with her brother, but
that doesn't mean she always has carte blanche to design whatever she wants. "Rocco basically lets me do what I want, but he
might say, 'Oh, not gray again!' I have to coax him, saying, 'Oh,
but it's a very elegant color!'"

2

3

But she's not just the conceptual person. She still must deal
with the real-world problems of every designer. Frustrations such
as trying to squeeze one more guestroom into the layout or
dealing with air vent placements can sometimes make feel
Polizzi feel like giving up. "I keep saying I can't do it anymore, but
I just love the end bits-pulling it all together. Maybe it doesn't
look quite right, but then we find the right pictures and accessories, and suddenly it all comes together."
While the magnetism of design lures her back into the fold, her
hospitable nature can't help but color her personal life, too. She
devotes a good deal of time to philanthropic ventures, a handful of
which include being chairman of The Trusthouse Charitable Foundation, president of the British Italian Society and trustee of the
Lord Forte Foundation which helps young Rocco Forte Hotels
employees, plus she also loves working in her garden at her
country home. "But that's not enough," she says. "I would get so
bored. And at my age, what the hell else would I do?"

OLGA POLIZZI
ROCCO FORTE HOTELS

JUNE 2019 boutiquedesign.com

27


http://www.boutiquedesign.com

Boutique Design - June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Boutique Design - June 2019

Boutique Design - June 2019
Contents
From the Editor
The Buzz
Heroes And Mavericks: Fierce Friends
Fun Pass
Queens Of London
Go Small, Go Home
Products: Flooring
Products: Seating
Exit Interview
Boutique Design - June 2019 - Boutique Design - June 2019
Boutique Design - June 2019 - Cover2
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 1
Boutique Design - June 2019 - Contents
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 3
Boutique Design - June 2019 - From the Editor
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 5
Boutique Design - June 2019 - The Buzz
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 7
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 8
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 9
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 10
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 11
Boutique Design - June 2019 - Heroes And Mavericks: Fierce Friends
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 13
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 14
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 15
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 16
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 17
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 18
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 19
Boutique Design - June 2019 - Fun Pass
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 21
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 22
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 23
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 24
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 25
Boutique Design - June 2019 - Queens Of London
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 27
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 28
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 29
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 30
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 31
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 32
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 33
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 34
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 35
Boutique Design - June 2019 - Go Small, Go Home
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 37
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 38
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 39
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 40
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 41
Boutique Design - June 2019 - Products: Flooring
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 43
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Boutique Design - June 2019 - 45
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 46
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 47
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 48
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 49
Boutique Design - June 2019 - Products: Seating
Boutique Design - June 2019 - 51
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Boutique Design - June 2019 - 63
Boutique Design - June 2019 - Exit Interview
Boutique Design - June 2019 - Cover3
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