Project Of The Week – Hôtel Royal Savoy
This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire series features MKV Design’s glorious renovation and extension of Hôtel Royal Savoy, Lausanne, Switzerland. Drawing on the Art Nouveau heritage of the original property while redesigning the spaces in the old building, aiming to delight today’s international travellers and local guests. By contrast, the new wing is resolutely modern in style with smart, streamlined interiors. Throughout, luxury has been taken to a new level with elegant new guest rooms, magnificent suites and captivating public areas while connection to the hotel gardens as well as the city has been restated with ingeniously created views at both ground level and from the rooftops.
SBID had the opportunity to speak with Maria Vafiadis, Founder and Managing Director of MKV Design.
Company: MKV Design
Project: Hôtel Royal Savoy
Project Location: Lausanne, Switzerland
What was the client’s brief?
Hotel Royal Savoy was once one of Lausanne’s Grandes Dames but was closed and in disrepair when the project began. The vision was to reinvent the legend, taking design cues from the old building but essentially creating a new hotel. In the process, the footprint of the hotel was virtually doubled with the addition of a new wing.
What inspired the design of the project?
The concept of the classic grand hotel is particularly Swiss and design inspiration was found in the hotel’s beautiful gardens, its quintessentially Swiss views of Lake Geneva, the Art Nouveau heritage, whispers of history and the owner’s private art collection.
The new plan takes guests on a journey through distinctive spaces, each one heralded by a custom-designed decorative screen. From the classical arrival hall onto the lounge where a grand double-height space is revived as a glamorous showpiece with dramatic lighting and new furniture that hints at Art Nouveau. There are new plaster mouldings, in a style similar to the original, while elegant hand stencilling replicates earlier decoration to the walls. The bar is the next stage, looking towards a new glazed extension and the sudden vista of the gardens. To one side, the walkway, which may be fully opened-up to the sunshine, flows through the garden to the new building.
What was the toughest hurdle your team overcame during the project?
In reality, there weren’t any great hurdles in this project. We’re used to reinventing Grand Dames for the next generation and always find them a great joy and privilege to work on as we relish the research and sensitive considerations that this kind of project involves.
What was your team’s highlight of the project?
The spa was a certainly a highlight for us. The boldly contemporary design means that it is completely unlike anything else that Lausanne has to offer and it is thrilling to see how well it is being received by both hotel guests and local people. It was also a real pleasure to be able to work with some of the original elements of the hotel such as a historical wall mural depicting a rural idyll, which was relocated from the entrance lobby to the restaurant, as well as antiques and artwork from the owner’s personal collection.
Further to this, the team relished the opportunity to create guestrooms in both the new and heritage buildings that made the most of the spectacular views over Lake Geneva and the beautiful hotel gardens. The opening up of the rear of the original building with the glazed extension and terraces continues this connection between indoor and out.
Why did you enter the SBID International Design Awards?
SBID is one of the most highly respected awards schemes in the industry. We value the calibre of the projects entered and take pride in having our work judged by such an esteemed panel.
Questions answered by Maria Vafiadis, Founder and Managing Director of MKV Design
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Photography by Robert Miller.