Reflecting a way of life in humble design

Jean-Philippe Nuel has many interior design projects for corporate buildings of international companies but his main activity is designing luxury hotels. 
Reflecting a way of life in humble design
courtesy of Jean-Philippe Nuel / Ti Gong

Jean-Philippe Nuel

Who is he?

Jean-Philippe Nuel graduated in architecture but mainly works in interior and product design. He has many interior design projects for corporate buildings of international companies but his main activity is designing luxury hotels. The most iconic realizations are the Molitor swimming pool in Paris and the Intercontinental Marseille Hotel Dieu, which is located in the former city general hospital. He also works for Club Med. Nuel completed a ski resort in Tomamu, Japan, at the beginning of this year.

Tell us some of your works, and name the one you are most proud of.

Among the many works, Le Cinq Codet is a very personal project. It is a boutique hotel in Paris for which it was not necessary to integrate the identity of a hotel trademark, and the most important was that the owner trusted me.

Are you currently involved with any project?

We have many projects in our studio. For instance, we recently designed six expedition vessels for Ponant. Those luxury cruise ships with 80 pax are designed with both a French and ethnic touch.

Our other ongoing projects include the Intercontinental Lyon Hotel Dieu, in an 18th century heritage building, a very unique site in France. We also need to renovate the Sofitel in Roma, have two tower projects in Paris, one is a hotel and residence, the other is for offices. We have two Club Med resorts, one in the French Alps and the other is in Portugal and in a few weeks we will open for the Singaporean company Ascott a five-star residence near the Champs Elysées in Paris.

Describe your design style.

Each project is for me a unique realization, which is inspired by the localization of the project itself: the country, the city and even the architecture, particularly if the building is a heritage building.

For me it is the way to give sense to the design, by creating a coherent common thread which is the core of a project. 

I like decor with simplicity and contemporary accents. It must naturally grow its own strength but it should not become too sophisticated. I like to use refined materials that are used in their primary essence.

Where are you most creative?

What I prefer the most is to create projects in which people find an echo of their own lives, of our actual society with its new challenges and queries.

What does your home mean to you?

I consider first my home as a place to recharge, it is also a place centered on family. 

I live close to the River Marne and thanks to the presence of water, my home is a peaceful and quiet place. 

My home is an old mansion but still very luminous. I appreciate places opened to the exterior.

What do you collect?

I don’t have any collection. If I have more time and money, I’d like to collect artworks, paintings, photos. 

I am very lucky to integrate many pieces of art in my project. 

It is a good opportunity to meet young artists that are not yet too expensive.

Where would you like to go most in Shanghai?

I have already been to Shanghai, to visit the Expo.

I really enjoy Asian cultures and I’d like to discover the old Shanghai, especially the hotels.

What will be the next big design trend?

The next big trend will be certainly not only one trend. It is one of the main characteristics of our time. But if I have to describe one trend, I would talk about “humble” luxury which is full of meaning, with strong and deep values such as sustainability. A style that reflects a way of life able to highlight spirituality and emotions to strengthen its users.

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