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Marcel does Miami

Fairy-tale meets design in the new Mondrian hotel/apartment complex in Miami designed by the joker himself, Marcel Wanders.

By Katie Dominy / 02-12-2008

Design hotel or Marcel Wanders Museum

‘Sleeping Beauty’s castle’ is the theme of the whimsical interiors of the new Mondrian hotel and apartment complex in Miami. Coinciding with Design Miami, the Marcel Wanders-designed hotel opened its doors (or beds) this week, guaranteeing a host of designer types checking out the interiors, highly anticipated since the project was unveiled at the event in December 2006. However, the hottest invitation - to the launch reception on Wednesday 3rd December featuring the designer himself - is strictly limited to 150 lucky guests.

Magical and theatrical themes appear throughout the overall design. The complex is built around a semi-circle inset with tropical gardens. Wanders has adapted the curved shape so that the rooms overlooking the gardens resemble theatre boxes, ‘so that everyone has the best seat in the house’ he says. Even the gardens are full of whimsy with beach cabanas given curtains of living foliage, plus an adult sandbox and ‘kissing corners’.

The complex comprises 335 studios, apartments and suites, as either hotel rooms or private residences, giving people the opportunity to enjoy a Wanders-designed room complete with original pieces from his design studio – for a night – or every night if they own it. Wanders-designed pieces can be seen everywhere throughout the hotel and in the rooms including his signature Jester couch, white ceramic fruit bowl and his black and white wallpaper, as well as a crystal chandelier showerhead in the baths.

The fairytale world starts at the entrance hung with giant golden bells inset with crystal chandeliers interspersed with the designer’s signature curvaceous columns in white; a theme reprised in the Asia de Cuba dining room. The gold continues in the Sunset Lounge bar with golden candelabras and gold leaf wallpaper. The Agua spa is dazzlingly white except for a huge curved reception desk covered in mirrored Bisazza mosaic tiles that sparkle over the overscale trelliswork and curvy glossy column and vases.

Wanders says, ‘unlike product design, interiors are about theatre, leading you from one idea to the next and the next. You need to breathe life into a space, which is a fascinating process for me.’ The rooms have dark wood flooring and follow a sophisticated colour palette of white, gold, browns, greys, blues and black. Outside the rooms, dramatic features abound, including the black spiral staircase in the lobby cut with delicate filigree work.

Our favourites are the subtle touches. The black and white wallpaper replicates traditional Dutch geometric tile patterns, as do the borders of the coordinating floor rugs. The classic Delft blue and white tiles used in the kitchens are given classic Miami Beach scenes, such as sharks and lifeguard huts.

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