When Bottega Veneta first collaborated with the St. Regis Hotel, New York, it was to create a handbag commemorating the Manhattan establishment’s 100th anniversary, in 2004. At the time, the Italian manufacturer, which had originated in Venice as a producer of fine leather goods nearly four decades earlier, happened to be working on its first furniture collection, and the St. Regis was being renovated by the New York interior design firm Sills Huniford Associates. So when the hotel asked Bottega Veneta to design one of its suites, according to Tomas Maier, the company’s creative director since 2001, the timing was right for a deeper partnership.
The end result is a 1,700-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bath suite that opened last fall on the seventh floor of the hotel’s Beaux Arts building—built in the early 20th century by John Jacob Astor—on East 55th Street at Fifth Avenue. The now-49-year-old Maier, who was born in Germany and lives in Miami, spent six months fashioning the neutral-colored space, combining the hotel’s Louis XVI–style furniture with Bottega Veneta’s new furnishings (which first appeared last April in Milan at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile). They include a pair of gunmetal bedside tables with luggage-style drawer pulls, a low-slung coffee table with an inset of limestone, a leather-covered dining table that seats as many as four people, and a gunmetal bench outfitted with mohair velvet cushions.
All of the line’s approximately two dozen pieces, most of which are represented in the suite, can be customized in crocodile, ostrich, python, stingray, and other materials. Much of the collection is the work of the Italian craftsmen who also make the company’s hard-case luggage frames, which might explain why the pulls and other hardware on the desks and console tables, among other pieces, resemble the handles on the company’s leather trunks. These details blend with the inventive spirit that characterizes Bottega Veneta’s men’s and women’s fashion collections, as evidenced in the metal, leather, and smoked-mirror screen, and in a floor lamp featuring a lampshade wrapped by more than 1,400 feet of linen cord. Prices range from $3,500 for a gunmetal magazine rack to $24,400 for a leather and bronze mesh screen.
Maier says that he stays in the St. Regis suite when it is available and he is in town, but neither he nor any one of his devotees need do so to be close to his work. The new furniture collection is on display in Bottega Veneta boutiques worldwide, including the one adjacent to the hotel lobby.