Graven Images, Hotel Missoni Kuwait, Kuwait

Hotel Missoni Kuwait, part of The Rezidor Hotel Group, is awash with brilliant golds, turquoises and golden sand colours, taking inspiration from the land and Arabian Gulf.

Its opening coincides with the 50th anniversary of Kuwait, the 20th anniversary of its liberation, and the fifth anniversary of the Emir, Sheikh Sabah.

It also marks a significant time for the design team behind the hotel’s interiors – international design studio Graven Images, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Graven Images has worked directly with Missoni, The Rezidor Hotel Group and CRC (Commercial Real Estate Company Al-Tijaria), during the last four years on the development and delivery of the interiors after outline concepts were developed by architect/designer Matteo Thun with Rosita Missoni.

It also delivered the interiors of the first Hotel Missoni in Edinburgh, which opened in 2009, and is working with Michael Graves Architects on Hotel Missoni in Oman.

The 18-floor hotel, which has over-sized mosaic vases at its entrance, features the Cucina and Luna restaurant, the Choco Café with outdoor terrace, a large outdoor swimming pool, conference facilities and ballroom.

It is located in the city’s fashionable Symphony Complex, known for its offices and exclusive designer boutiques, and has 169 rooms, with 63 suites, and a Six Senses Spa on the second floor with 13 treatment rooms.

The design of the spa is true to Six Senses’ signature style of natural fabrics and materials. Contemporary but with a nod to Arabic art it blends in with the hotel’s public spaces where mosaics and subtle textures are punctuated with unmistakable Missoni stripes, zig-zags and bold colours.

“The Symphony Complex, including the hotel site, is owned by CRC, while Rezidor is the operator for the hotel element, developed as the Missoni brand within their managed properties portfolio,” said William Nolan, design director, Graven Images.

“In a design sense, we were facilitating the Missoni vision of lifestyle values within Rezidor’s technical standards and design framework, but in addition and in contractual terms, Graven Images’ client was actually CRC.

Between these three parties, our brief was to deliver this environment to the existing structural shell.

“As the superstructure of the Symphony Complex had already been built on site, the public areas and guest rooms for the hotel had to plug into the established footprint.”

The basic concept for the standard room types and initial colours and fabrics had already been established by Missoni; the public areas were at a similar stage, but the majority were subsequently re-developed by Graven Images, as the dialogue on aesthetics and operational considerations with Missoni and The Rezidor Hotel Group evolved.

The hotel’s interior design was overseen by Rosita Missoni, creative director, who chose everything from the wall colours and fabrics to the furniture, tiles, textures and artwork.

“In Edinburgh we decided on black and white patterns and little by little we introduced colour on the walls in the bedroom-corridors, on the bedroom furniture, on the restaurant tables. In Kuwait we immediately chose to work on floral patterns, stripes, zig-zags in colourful hues mixing orange, purple, turquoise and greens,” said Missoni.

Nolan credits his client in allowing Graven Images to develop design ideas and specifications with Missoni which might ordinarily have been rejected.

“They showed trust in our collective judgement when some of these ideas were pursued. Much of the design approach, the specific treatment of colours and juxta-positioning of fabrics and materials was unfamiliar to many of the client group, and is certainly radical in Kuwait,” he said.

“What was essential for us, both in Edinburgh and Kuwait, was to take the glamour and richness of the Missoni fashion world and make it tangible within the hotel context.

“It was important for the hotel brand to be a reflection of the Missoni personality – bold, confident and international. Referencing the group’s fashion background throughout, we created spaces that are as atmospheric and exotic as fashion shoots or film sets.

The Missoni brand is iconic and instantly recognisable – we stayed true to the company’s ethos by marrying the vivid colours and textures with a series of strong geometric architectural interiors. Hotel Missoni Kuwait, just like Missoni the fashion brand, is playful and memorable, embracing environments but without the precious attitude of being over-designed.”

Architecturally, elements such as the double-height lobby space and the more complex geometric footprint give the hotel a great deal of scope for manipulation of spatial hierarchy and playing with perspectives.

“There are a lot of curved lines, views around corners, views across different spaces; more visual connections, which create dynamics and the opportunity to really animate the public environments,” said Nolan.

Bespoke features include; the main entrance three-metre high mosaic vases, which have 24carat gold tiles; mosaic floor inlays in some of the lobby spaces, designed to Missoni fabric patterns and Missoni artwork, specially designed and manufactured for Kuwait, positioned throughout the hotel.

The standard guest rooms have one of two colour palettes, arranged on alternate floor levels: a blue scheme, with features highlights in subdued hues of pink, mid-blue and honey-yellow and the violet scheme, with highlights in bolder tones of purple and turquoise.

There are a further three suite types, each with their own palette: The Missoni Suite in pastel blues and honey, The Grandiosa Suite in greens and violets and The Maggore Suite in pale green, turquoise and lilac. All rooms have white oak floorboards, with upholstery in gold leather, and other fabric cushions and rugs in co-ordinated Missoni patterns.

The bathrooms are clad in mosaic on walls and floors, in shades of greens, blues or yellows, to respond to the respective room scheme.

The Presidential Suite has its own distinctive palette in greens and turquoise. There are cactus pattern motifs, and an encaustic tiled floor throughout. It also features a private external terrace with teak decking, green purple and blue mosaics, and a feature water basin.

“The climate and environment of Kuwait, and the Gulf region, were key in Missoni’s choices of colour palette and motif,” said Nolan.

“Bold, bright colours, organic and floral patterns, and the desert garden environment were all factors. Edinburgh was seen as being a darker, Northern European city, with blacks and whites and more geometric lines; Kuwait colours are bolder and brighter, the patterns generally more organic.”

The Hotel Lobby features neutral stone wall and floor claddings as a base, overlaid with highlight features in colour and material; purple fringe chandeliers with eight metre drops; purple and orange walls; a golden entrance drum; gold metalwork; a mosaic-clad water feature in purples and blues and upholstery fabrics and rugs in shades of reds, purples, gold and orange.

Choco Café both overlooks and is linked physically to the external terrace – landscaped spaces and the predominant colours to walls and floor in hues of matt green finishes reflects this. Highlights are picked out in burgundy and black Corian.

These are offset in multicoloured upholstery fabrics.

The Cucina Restaurant is a mix between blue encaustic floor tile and white oak boards, with graded shades of blues to walls and upholstery, with some black and white, gold pendant lighting, gold textured wallpapers and gold mosaic clad counters while Lune Restaurant has an encaustic floor in pale greens and yellow ochre, with wall surfaces in pale shades of purple, blue and gold.

Counter-tops and fronts are in ivory-coloured Corian. Upholstery is a mix of purples, gold, cream and pale blues.

“We have solved the challenges of the existing geometries within the building footprint in an intelligent and visually stimulating way,” added Nolan.

“There is good interaction between the unique public spaces in terms of layouts and volumes, bringing energy and vitality to the surroundings.

Together with Rosita Missoni’s eye for developing how colour and pattern combinations can work together, the result is genuinely stylish and convincing.

“The hotel reflects Missoni’s lifestyle ideals; there is a good sense of visual drama and personality, of warmth and fun too. It feels really welcoming, which is essential, and both visitors and staff clearly enjoy being there. Missoni Kuwait is like a big jewellery box – understated on the outside, but as soon as you set foot inside there is sparkle and glamour.”

Nolan said Missoni Kuwait is completely different to Missoni Edinburgh, which is a pre-requisite for the on-going development of the brand.

“The design approach is not formulaic, and the Missoni brand will thrive on diversity and continuously challenge expectations,” he added.

“There is a shared DNA in their design ethos, but they definitely both have their own personalities, with style and conviction.”

The next Hotel Missoni is scheduled to open in Jebel Sifah in Oman in 2013, Hotel Missoni IIha de Cajiba in Brazil is currently under development, and it recently signed Hotel Missoni, Antalya in Turkey.

Rosita missoni
Creative director, Hotel Missoni, has held the reins of Missoni S.P.A. with her husband Ottavio for 50 years.

In 1997, she passed the torch to her children; Vittorio, Luca and Angela and now runs the Missoni Home Collections.

The history to the brand originates with Ottavio Dalmatian, a track and field champion with experience in creating sportswear and Rosita Jelmini, in womens’ wear, manufacturing clothes for the family’s company (founded by her grandparents in the 20th century).

Their combined experiences have taken Missoni around the world, making it synonymous with Italian design, defining the meaning ‘Made in Italy.’

Six senses spa
The 1,500m2 spa has a fitness centre, two Hammams, separate areas for men and women, yoga studio, sauna, steam room and relaxation areas.

It was created by the interior design division of Six Senses Resorts & Spas, headed up by Deepakshi Mathur, development director.

She said the concept was carried out by her team to ensure an in-house interpretation of interior design and one that follows its set standards.
“The brief was not to compete with the design of the Missoni Hotel at all, but to complement it, in a modern contemporary approach, with smooth, curvy and organic touches of a usual Six Senses Spa,” said Mathur.

“As Missoni stands out with its colour coordination, Six Senses Spas uses its corporate greens, which one can identify as Six Senses.”

The inspiration for the design came from the shape of the building and uses organic and rustic finishes.

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