After a four-year-long intervention on the part of Jean-Michel Wilmotte and Lema, a charismatic location in Paris reopens to the public: entering this place is a little like wearing a favourite garment.
In their unfolding project, InterClone Hotel, Diller&Scofidio defines a conceptual model for hotel furniture and finishings that can interpret the paradoxical tension between the widespread standardising of today’s hospitality and the demand for a specific cultural identity of locations requested by global tourism. A key designer on the French scene, Jean-Michel Wilmotte has intervened in Paris so as to give operative form to the experimental visions of Diller&Scofidio thanks to a sophisticated process of tailor-made supply management, developed in collaboration with the Contract Division of the Italian brand, Lema. The total refurbishment of the charismatic Hotel Lutetia is the outcome of a four-year-long challenge, which has allowed Lema to pair designers and clients at every stage: from the concept to feasibility analysis, establishing procedures, deadlines and costs. This intervention concerned not only the supply of furniture and complements, but also direct interaction in the architecture design itself.
Opened in 1910 by Margherite Boucicaut to host wealthy suburbanites who visited the Saint-Germain quarter to go shopping at the nearby Bon Marchè, the Lutetia immediately became a famous hangout for writers and artists: from Joyce to Beckett, Hemingway to Picasso. In the year of its centenary, it was acquired by the Israeli group Alrov. Today, after a renovation project costing over 200 million euro, it is the only 5+ star hotel on the Rive Gauche. The sophisticated turnkey supply process by Lema Contract included the furniture for the 175 rooms and the Josephine Baker suite. One of the prime goals: to decrease the number of rooms and increase their size, while preserving at the same time their original, historic charm. Thus each space has its own customised solutions that can join the design’s stylistic needs with the technical aspects of renovating a landmark building and integrating technical, security, temperature and domotic systems.
Lema Contract designed all the furniture in the rooms, providing complements, accessories, special products for unique and one-off spaces. After taking shape on paper, the idea developed and became flooring, ceilings, cladding in wood for walls and bow windows; doors in wood with glass and gold decorations; boiserie and headboards; bars. Thanks to the in-depth craft culture that has always distinguished the company, Lema also elaborated customised solutions in collaboration with the Wilmotte studio, like the refined blue and grey durmast boiserie with its delicate three-dimensional textile effect thanks to the artisanry of master cabinetmakers. This approach marks the difference between the simple and the special contract market: in the latter, the interaction between specific technologies and a highly qualified operations network allows companies to achieve large-scale industrial production with elevated complexity thereby achieving excellent cost-quality goals with respect to common standards.