The Style Muse

Fast Lane

Taking design inspiration from some unlikely locations

Does your home have a certain style? Do you find yourself drawn to primary colors; sparse furnishings, or perhaps some shabby chic? Whether your personal hero is Martha Stewart or you just want something to sit on; everyone appreciates an inviting space to come home to at the end of the day. Could your home use some freshening up? While a personal interior designer may not be what you’re looking for; you can still take a page from their design book. We take a sneak peak at two high-end hotels that recently opened in Prague: Buddha-Bar Hotel and The Augustine. Both are maximum luxurious, but in completely different ways. Take a look and see what decorating tips you can borrow for your place.

Serenity

If you are looking for classic elegance in your bedroom, bathroom or living room; The Augustine has some suggestions for you.

“The designer created history and a sense of place into the hotel,” says Tanja Pijfers, sales and marketing director for The Augustine. The hotel is a Rocco Forte property, known worldwide for their sense of style and design. All their hotels, including Prague’s, are decorated by Olga Polizzi.

“We wanted the hotel bedrooms to reflect The Augustine’s rich monastic history and the strong cultural heritage of Prague by using a simple design with a distinctly ecclesiastical feel,” explains Polizzi.

The Augustine is a massive complex of seven buildings; including the 13th century Augustinian St Thomas’s Monastery, after which the hotel is named. While taking inspiration from a monk’s living quarters isn’t common in design circles; what Polizzi and her team have done is create restful, graceful spaces full of natural light, color and materials.

“Like monks, it is designed around tranquility and peace,” says Pijfers.

The guest rooms, for instance, are all individually appointed due to the historic nature of the buildings. Materials include strong sturdy cloths like velvet, linen and a natural burlap-like weave. Colors are elegant greens and purples or grays and oranges. The bathrooms are done in marble, while the furnishings are basic wood. Everything is simple and straightforward; leading to a quiet sophistication. The chosen artwork quietly draws your eyes.

“We have used Czech artwork on the bedroom walls including furniture sketches by Pavel Janak and Czech posters from the 1930’s” says Polizzi. “The corridors display a range of black and white photography by Czech avant-garde artists from the 1920’s and 1930’s including Frantisek Drtikol, Jaromir Funke and Josef Sudek.”

As Pijfers explains, it’s important to the Rocco Forte team that their hotels blend into the cities in which they are located. Designers here used Czech Functionalism and Cubism as inspiration in many of the furnishings; including chairs in both the guest rooms and The Brewery bar.

Stimulation

Maybe you need to take a walk on the wild side and feel a room in your home is the right recipient for your inspirational buzz. The Buddha-Bar Hotel is senses overload – from its mesmerizing color scheme to the intense decorating and technological features. Those familiar with the Buddha-Bar Restaurant concept will recognize the theme replicated in the hotel; the first in the world.

Michaela Winklerová, PR manager at Czech Property Investments, manager of the hotel, says the idea to have the first hotel here came about because of the building. It’s an early 20th century structure with a basement that was perfect for housing the Buddha-Bar restaurant. But what to do with the rest of it? Create the brand’s first hotel, and introduce another new concept; the Siddharta Café. It’s the blend of colors and styles that engulf the visitor.

“It’s a combination of Oriental and Art Nouveau styles,” explains Winklerová.

Again, that’s not something taught at design school. However, stylists wanted to stay true to the Asian feel of the Buddha-Bar restaurant concept while paying homage to the local design scene and keeping some of the building’s history.

“There are copies of stucco and ceiling moldings throughout the hotel,” says Winklerová. “The originals were destroyed, but we made replicas.”

That means in the Siddharta Café you have two walls of lit multi-hued crystal Buddha’s and an Art Nouveau gold labyrinth painted on the ceiling above the main bar area. This was an original piece that was restored and updated.

Winklerová says Raymond Visan did the original interior design; which was realized by DWA Architects.

“Visan loves color, materials,” she explains. “The guests like the fantasy design, super materials and atmosphere.”

The guest rooms are total boudoir in a fun and funky way. Tunes are playing when you enter thanks to the Bang & Olufsen TV sets transmitting music mixed by DJs in the bar. That’s not the only high-tech toy in here; make sure you are tech savvy if you need to use the toilet: The Balnea 8000 is a combo bidet and toilet, with a remote control. It has a self-closing lid; and don’t forget to input if you are female or male.

Grey-green walls and worn wooden floors are quiet backdrops for the real design stars here: Red Chinese wood lacquered wardrobes and cabinets; a massive red dragon headboard; bedside lamps hanging from the ceiling with fringed shades; the list goes on. Red and gold colors dominate, with black and brown furnishings; materials include crocodile patterns and bamboo.

So what revelations can you take for your own home? Anything goes! Whether you use monks or Buddha’s; intense coloring or relaxing hues, nowadays there seems to be no restrictions on decorating styles. Let your creative spirit run free!