PARIS – Walking into the Deux Gares lobby in Paris is a bit like walking around the set of a Wes Anderson movie – especially at a time when routine hotel stays have become the stuff of dreams of many anchored travelers.
Those lucky enough to be in Paris can at least momentarily escape the grim reality of the coronavirus pandemic in this unusual boutique imagined by British artist and designer Luke Edward Hall, which brings the hotel’s dusty concept to life. railway with its signature tart colors and mid-century flowers.
“It was a good idea to think that it was almost the home of a very bohemian Parisian collector who decided to open his house to guests,” Hall said in a telephone interview from London.
“I wanted the hotel to be a bit of a fantasy, or just a very different place. You come out of these gray streets, and I wanted it to provoke an emotional reaction, and for it to be happy and playful, ”he added.
Located between Gare de l’Est and Gare du Nord in an elevated street overlooking the railway line, the 40-room hotel is the latest addition to the Touriste hotel group’s portfolio, which includes Panache, Bienvenue and Beaurepaire, with a fifth en route to London in the spring.
Antoine Raccat, the owner of Les Deux Gares, came to Hall via the Desselle Partners agency and decided to bet on the designer, whose aesthetic stands out in an ocean of bland minimalism.
“We wanted something completely different from other hotels in Paris or elsewhere,” he explains. “It was a risk because it was his first hotel project, and also because his style is very particular.
Think mustard, olive green, and pink painted bedrooms; candy-colored bathrooms with Art Deco-style sinks; a basement gym covered in floral wallpaper from Swedish interior design company Svenkst Tenn, and vintage posters throughout.
Hall picked up the old travel and exhibition posters from flea markets and eBay. He researched antiques from familiar merchants and called on The Bold Bathroom Company in the UK for the colorful sinks and toilets.
Her personal touch is felt everywhere, from the hand-painted design lampshades to the mirror and bespoke paint in the lobby, where mismatched furniture – including a leopard-print sofa, nodding to the French interior designer Madeleine Castaing – creates an eccentric but warm atmosphere.
“I was doing the art direction, so I was helping come up with a name, and then I worked with a designer in New York to do the branding. We make matchboxes and stationery. We made the exterior light panels and canopies, ”Hall said.
“If you walk into a good hotel, you will feel like everything has been taken care of. I love these hotels that you walk into, and everything has been done the right way, from the interiors, but also the music and the uniforms and the stationery, ”he added.
Hall also designed the restaurant across the street, Le Café Les Deux Gares, where traditional touches like geometric floor tiles and Thonet chairs meet unusual features like a painted tortoiseshell-patterned ceiling. by artist Pauline Leravaud.
The restaurant, formerly a railroad-themed restaurant outfitted with vintage train seats, has been praised for its bistro classics revisited by chefs Jonathan Schweizer and Federico Suárez, formerly of Sauvage and Loca, respectively.
Raccat, a lawyer making his first foray into the hotel business, has faced more than his fair share of adversity, with hotel opening delayed from early April to late September due to the lockdown, and tourism down sharply due to ongoing travel restrictions designed to limit the spread of COVID-19.
However, with the street on the verge of being transformed into a pedestrian zone, he is confident about the prospects for the hotel, where rooms are rented for an average of 120 euros a night. “We hope it becomes some kind of destination,” he said. Judging from the early reactions on Instagram, he’s on to something.
Hall, meanwhile, has a full roster of projects, including a menswear and womenswear collaboration with an undisclosed brand later this year; his weekly column for the Financial Times and an exhibition of drawings and paintings in Athens next year.
He hopes that his first experience in the hotel industry, although fraught with logistical problems, will not be the last. “I love hotels and restaurants, and that would be something I would love to do more of,” Hall said.