The new life of Villa René Lalique

Villa René Lalique is not simply a charming hotel in the heart of the Northern Vosges Regional Natural Park, France. It is the sophisticated result of a multidisciplinary project that combines new and reconstructed architecture, interior design, art, decoration, design objects, down to the smallest detail. Above all, the hotel is a large-scale tribute to the French company’s century-long history and to the ingenious, innovative creativity of its founder René Lalique, considered the inventor of modern jewellery and master of the art of glass.

The hotel, which consists of just six suites, is housed in the Lalique family’s former villa and retains its atmosphere and authenticity. For the outside of the structure, original features have been faithfully restored, including blue shutters, while the interior has been redesigned for its new function by Lady Tina Green and Pietro Mingarelli, who are also the creators of the ‘Lalique Maison’ collection of furnishings and accessories, inspired by Art Deco style and the brand’s past creations.
Each of its six suites, spread over three floors, has furnishings, décor and fabrics which feature a characteristic theme of Lalique. Hirondelle displays an oriental, shiny red and black colour contrast; the Rose and Dahlia suites are distinguished by floral decorations on an almost monochrome ivory palette with gold or crystal details; Zeila and Dragon present a tribute to the animal world with a number of decorative details with the silhouettes of a panther or dragon, and finally, the apartment  in the top floor, ‘Masque de femme’, evokes the famous decorative panel in which René Lalique illustrated his fascination with the female figure, nature and mythology.

In all the suites, the beige, black, ivory and blue lacquer furnishings refashion typical Art Deco stylistic features and recall the brand’s excellence in crystal workmanship, with small decorative details that are also found in the large, comfortable lounge area on the ground floor. Here the ivory and grey of the fabrics and finishes is contrasted with the black lacquer, the transparency of the crystal and the shine of the metal in a classic and relaxed composition arranged in various adjacent rooms on the ground floor. At the far end, there is an exuberant black, shiny bar, with a counter and showcase for bottles and decanters, some of which are fine examples of Lalique’s elegant, historic creations for brands like Macallan, Hardy, De La Tour and Patron. There is a short passage, protected by glass, from the lounge area to the new space that houses the restaurant. This addition is the work of Swiss architect Mario Botta, who chose to create a building with a decidedly contemporary feel, which, through its transparencies, relates to the natural setting of the large park that surrounds the hotel: a rectangle of glass supported by columns made of red Vosges sandstone and covered by a green roof. The 200sq m dining room, which offers a soothing view of the greenery, is dominated by three chandeliers made by Windfall and the black bar that leads to the kitchen of the starred chef, Jean George Klein. But the real surprise of this architectural extension is the wine cellar located in the basement, where glass returns to the spotlight with the vast and precious heritage of 12,000 bottles collected over the years: the cases are exposed behind the large windows that emphasize the whole circumference of the room lit by warm, amber lights. The wine cellar also ‘conserves’, on the connecting stairs between the two floors, 14 decorative glass panels by Damien Hirst, who chose the butterfly, a decorative motif dear to René Lalique, to create the Eternal series.

Villa Renè Lalique centre is part of the collection Contract&Hospitality – Spring/Sumer Book 2016 by IFDM, also available in digital version.

Ownership: Mr. Silvio Denz, CEO and Chairman of Lalique
Hotel management firm: the hotel does not belong to a hotel chain. It is an independent hotel by Lalique
Main suppliers of decor and lighting fixtures:  furniture, decorative accessories, and fabrics from ‘Lalique Maison’ by Lady Tina Green and Pietro Mingarelli
General contractor: not applicable
Design Team: Lady Tina Green and Pietro Mingarelli
Photo credits: Gilles Pernet, Reto Guntli, Enrico Cano