November 05, 2009 // Franchising.com // Paris, France – Rockwell Group Europe ("RGe") has teamed up with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide to design the W Paris-Opéra, W Hotels' debut in France. Diego Gronda, Managing and Creative Director of RGe, the Madrid satellite office of New York's Rockwell Group founded by David Rockwell, is leading the design team on this innovative project scheduled to open in 2011. Owned by Barcelona-based Meridia Capital, the hotel occupies an elegant 1870s Haussman-era building located across the street from the famous Opéra Garnier and near Galeries Lafayette and Place Vendome in the 9th Arrondissement. Taking the inspiration from combining New York's energy, where the W brand began in 1998, and Paris, the "City of Light," RGe is flooding the new W Hotel with illumination and color.
"Taking the W brand into Paris, the European capital of fashion, will mark a true milestone in W's global expansion into the world's most exciting and vibrant destinations," said Eva Ziegler, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide and Le Méridien. "Through W Paris-Opéra, we will further demonstrate our passion for fashion as well as our leadership in cutting-edge design, setting the stage for W's unique lifestyle programming, which will make W Paris the coolest place in the city."
The 19th century building with a striking original neo-classical interior will be re-invented by a contemporary cool sparkle of luminosity and brilliant energy in the quintessential Parisian neighborhood, infusing light and mutating color. The ground level and mezzanine floors have spectacular views of the Opéra and provide the perfect setting for a signature W Living Room where guests and locals are invited to mix, mingle and relax in a stylish social atmosphere. Along with a new modern concept restaurant, W Paris-Opéra will feature a destination bar, a state-of-the-art fitness facility and 90 stylish guest rooms.
Elaborating on their design concept, Mr. Gronda adds, "For the first W Hotel in Paris, we wanted to give guests an unforgettable experience of the light and energy emanating from this incredible city. Our design feeds off the elegance, history, richness and radiance of the city, while layering in the contemporary cool and light-hearted approach of the W brand. Our goal was to transform this historic building into a W Hotel that literally shines with innovative and unexpected details, materials and technology."
An oversized undulating wall of light is the central design feature that defines the building from the inside and from the street as it weaves through the public spaces, secret corners of DJ booths and martini bars, through the corridors and finally into each guest room. This programmable wall of light can transform based on season, event or time of day to create a festive and celebratory atmosphere, bringing the historic building to life with sophistication and a glowing vibrancy. This central feature initiates a dynamic dialogue with the street, introducing people to the magic of the W Hotel before they enter and are dazzled by the dramatic vaulted ceiling supported by ornate Corinthian columns. To invite guests and locals to the W brand's world of WOW, RGe will add life to this historic space with an innovative installation of projected images from nature upon arrival that will change throughout the day.
Guest rooms and suites, including W Hotels' renowned WOW suites and Extreme WOW suites (W Hotels' take on the traditional Presidential Suite), feature three-meter ceiling height and breathtaking views of the Opéra. All W suites will boast an existing fireplace, white marble bathrooms and oversized dressing rooms, the perfect place for guests to prepare for a night out in Europe's fashion capital.
According to David Rockwell, Founder and CEO of Rockwell Group, "I am thrilled at this fantastic opportunity for Rockwell Group Europe – their knowledge of and experience in creating transformative and evocative spatial experiences will be a perfect fit for this new W Hotel in Paris."
Unique design narratives shape the look, feel and bold concepts of all Rockwell Group Europe's projects. Led by Diego Gronda, Managing and Creative Director, RGe explores new territories with an extraordinary team of artists, architects, interior, graphic and industrial designers who help create connections between varied disciplines, ideas and cultural landscapes. Building upon the energy and eclecticism of the Rockwell Group's main office in New York, and Diego Gronda's extensive work in all five continents, Rockwell Group Europe focuses on designing hotels, restaurants, retail centers and spas with a unique and refined aesthetic. Their current work includes the Wasabi Restaurant and Harbour Bar in the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower in Mumbai; a W Retreat & Spa in Vieques, Puerto Rico; a restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan, and a Le Méridien hotel in Oran, Algeria.
Rockwell Group is an award winning, cross-disciplinary 140-person architecture and design firm specializing in cultural, hospitality, retail, product, and set design. Based in New York, with satellite offices in Madrid and Dubai, the firm crafts a unique narrative and an immersive environment for each project. Rockwell's interest in theater has informed much of the firm's work, which includes the W Hotel, Union Square, Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis New York, the central Marketplace of the JetBlue terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport, set design for the 2009 Academy Awards ceremony, the Children's Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, Nobu restaurants worldwide, set designs for Broadway's "Hairspray," Canyon Ranch Living in Miami, the Elinor Bunin-Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center, the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, and the Imagination Playground Initiative. Mr. Rockwell received the 2009 Pratt Legends Award and the 2008 National Design Award for Interior Design from the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt.
W Hotels is an innovative contemporary lifestyle brand and the hotel category buster with 35 hotels and retreats in the most vibrant cities and exotic destinations around the world. Inspiring, iconic, innovative and influential, W Hotels provides the ultimate in insider access to a world of "Wow." Each hotel offers a unique mix of innovative design and passions around fashion, music and entertainment. W Hotels offers a holistic lifestyle experience that is integrated into the brand's sensibility through contemporary restaurant concepts, glamorous nightlife experiences, and signature spas. With 10 years of proven success, W Hotels is on track to double its footprint by 2011. W Hotels and W Retreats have been announced for Downtown New York, Hollywood, London, Paris, St. Petersburg, Shanghai, Bali, Vieques Island and Verbier, among other international destinations.