Parisian hotel reflects fashion, luxury of city
Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg is defined by its interior designer Didier Gomez as “a strong identity site, a very precise architectural universe: an 18th century style jostled by more modern decorative elements.”
It was born from the reunion of two typical ancient mansions of the Faubourg Saint-Honore, Paris. The first one, turned into the Hotel Vouillemont and quoted by Marcel Proust in “Un amour de Swann,” was frequented by the Parisian high society and also by the heads of states like Mary of Hungary and Queen of Naples, and the sister of the Empress Sissi.
In the 1930s, Luigi Pirandello, Jean Cocteau, Francis Picabia and many other surreal artists and writers made it a place of intellectual and artistic life in Paris. The second mansion, renowned as the former headquarters of Marie Claire magazine, remains the rendezvous of the world of fashion. “My intention was to create the atmosphere of a Parisian mansion, with its entrance and different rooms, a library …with its foundations on 18th century architecture and pieces of furniture,” he said.
“The idea was to reflect the fashion and luxury of the Parisian Golden Triangle. The location of the hotel reflected the fashion, the feminity. I would even say the history of the representation of the woman, and the great couturiers: YSL, Channel, etc. These memories must be transmitted as a precious heritage.”
Gomez pays utmost attention to the history of space, the decorative materials and objects. It evokes the world of fashion through the decades. “It can be moving. The return to memory is like finding the smell of a woman’s perfume. It is true that there is a feminine touch present in the hotel,” he said.
In the corridors, black and white fashion photos from the 1930s to 1950s and signed by famous names such as Irvin Penn or Horst P. Horst are adorned. The photo that wraps almost the entire wall above the headboard in the bedroom is a beautiful photograph of Cecil Beaton, made for Vogue in 1948. It shows elegant ladies, getting ready for a ball, wearing amazing haute couture dresses.
“I wanted to get into a mansion built over time, that makes you think that an object was added, then another one, depending on the travels, meetings, discoveries, always with the idea of confronting classicism and modernity. I wanted eclecticism,” Gomez said.
The strong influences of design, arts and culture at Sofitel are both seen and unseen. “Couture, a key pillar for the brand and the hotel, is also evoked by the basic black and white colors that are the classic codes of fashion design with a touch of color or gold. Finally, I wanted to celebrate the fabrics. For example, adding custom embroidered cushions on the sofas of the lobby or with the wide range of fabrics in the rooms and suites,” he said.
Gomez considers the mixture of 18th and contemporary style in design as the highlight of this hotel. “I had never done that before. I wanted to place myself in the situation of a foreign customer wondering in which kind of hotel I would like to stay and I imagined this hotel. My design anchors Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg in its close Parisian environment. At the end of his experience in this hotel, the guest should feel a strong DNA, Parisian and chic, having a representation of what France is with the riches of its history not in nostalgia but in its continuity, its modernity.”
The hotel rooms are representative of very chic but true Parisian apartments, which are in line with the brand’s spirit of French Art de Vivre.
“There are many high-capacity hotels in Paris, including palaces, some very gleaming, imposing. For me, the Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg of tomorrow will be the antithesis of this: a hotel on a human scale with men and women who will help write the story,” he said.
“Luxury is not what shines, or imposes. For me, luxury is access to a privileged address. I think that’s what the customers will feel when they walk through the doors of Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg.”