Whenever I build a new home, I try to respect the indigenous architecture of the place and its natural surroundings,” says Italian fashion grand master Giorgio Armani, who is taking a similar approach as a hotelier. The designer’s first hotel is expected to open next year inside the tallest building in the world, a structure that promises to fit with its surroundings in the decadent dreamland of Dubai.
Armani is not the first fashion designer with hospitable ambitions. Over the past decade, brands such as Ferragamo and Bulgari have launched product lines for the home and, shortly thereafter, opened hotels that showcase those products. But the debut of the first Armani hotel may overshadow every other fashionable accommodation.
The Dubai hotel and the adjacent Armani Residences will occupy the lower 16 floors of the Burj Dubai, which is scheduled for completion in September 2009. Armani’s space is expected to house 160 guest rooms and suites, at least two restaurants, a spa, a gym, several swimming pools, and a plethora of Armani-designed furnishings.
“The idea was inspired, in part, by my work on Armani Casa, because I wanted to see how the collection would look when applied to real spaces,” says Armani. The residences and the hotel’s suites will feature custom renditions of several of the Armani Casa collection’s minimalist pieces, such as the Danzica coffee table and Essex armchair.
In addition to his Dubai property, Armani plans to open at least seven hotels and three destination resorts over the next decade. His second hotel also is expected to debut in 2009, on Via Manzoni in Milan—where Armani founded his company in 1975. Properties in New York and Marrakech will follow in the years to come.
“Depending on where my hotels will be located, I will seek out materials and inspiration from the traditions of the host country,” says Armani, who, together with Armani Casa designers, will create everything from the rooms’ bed linens to the restaurants’ porcelain. “The results will be perfect expressions of the Armani style: cosmopolitan with the ultimate level of sophistication and exclusivity.”