It’s Sir Paul Smith’s world, and we just live in it – or sleep in it. A new suite at Brown’s hotel in London, the first ever hotel room created by the fashion and product designer, is a microcosm of his style and taste
The gold banana door handle and instantly recognisable signature on the door lets you know that not just any old suite awaits you at Brown’s hotel in London. This is the only hotel room in the world that has been designed by Sir Paul Smith, and the storied fashion designer has brought all of his signature chutzpah to bear on this personal space.
Like many fashion brands, Smith already had a strong interiors crossover, from his collaborations with The Rug Company, Gufram and de Padova, to the championing of independent makers and small design businesses via temporary exhibitions in his showrooms. This collaboration with Rocco Forte Hotels and its director of design Olga Polizzi takes it to the next level, though, and the partnership is a good fit, not least because Smith’s Albermarle Street shop is a stone’s throw away. “Just like Browns does with its rooms, we design every Paul Smith shop differently to celebrate the area’s individuality, which is just one of the reasons the project appealed to me,” he says.
The suite is a personal reflection of the designer’s tastes, and contains several objects cribbed from his own office, including his 1970s leather desk chair by Mario Bellini and a Christopher Simon Sykes photograph of Chatsworth House’s library. Just how much Smith has moved into product design is obvious from the roster of objects that feature in the suite. These include an Anglepoise lamp; a custom made headboard upholstered in fabric by Maharam; and The Rug Company rugs – the latter two of which feature a pattern inspired by the delicate cast-iron lattice that overlays the Albermarle Street shop front, the result of architect 6a’s work on the facade a decade ago.
A gallery wall crammed with artwork also reflects the designer’s own tastes as well as giving a nod to the art that is a recurring feature of the shops; and guests can also browse a library of hand-picked art and design books. The living area of the suite is busy and alive with objects, but the sleeping area switches it up with a calmer palette of grey and sherbet-yellow.
The fun and humour that Smith is known for comes through not just in the artwork, but in those banana door handles, and the fire grate, which puns on the concept of a fire dog by employing two cast-iron dogs to hold it up – modelled on Homer, Smith’s afghan hound that he owned in the 1970s and the ‘manager’ of his first Nottingham shop.
Smith launched a furniture collection called Everyday Life with Italian brand de Padova in 2022, and those pieces also feature in the suite. They rein in the designer’s natural exuberance with the seriousness of Italian craftsmanship; the dark ash Everyday Life sofa and armchair feature contrast stitching that echoes techniques taken from tailoring, while the coffee table features a limestone top, scored with a horizontal band at one end. Brightly coloured cushions from the Paul Smith Home Collection bring the designer’s signature stripes to the fore. Unsurprisingly, guests can ‘shop the suite’, with a catalogue provided in case they want to take home the featured products and artwork.
“Being asked to design a space for such an iconic Mayfair institution is a great privilege – and I’ve had a great deal of fun in the process,” says Smith. “I’m so pleased we’ve been able to include objects that inspire me personally and I hope, in turn, they’ll inspire the suite’s guests.”