The Italian architect Michele Bönan is rightly revered for the residential touches he has given to such upscale hotels as J.K. Place Capri and Florence’s Hotel Lungarno, yet his best work might be the private residences that he discreetly designs for his list of high-profile clients. “My first project was in the early 1980s, for a famous tennis player who happened to be a friend,” recalls Bönan. “I was only 20, but the project ran in a magazine and I was instantly getting calls from potential clients.”
That may have been a lucky break, but years of study and hard work rather than simple good fortune have been the drivers of Bönan’s success. The accomplished Florentine architect, whose goal from the age of 5 was to hold that vocation, has spent most of his professional life refining his distinctive style and building his knowledge of historical architecture, which he says always informs his choice of decor—even when the aesthetic incorporates contemporary elements and modern luxuries.
Recently, with his latest hotel projects J.K. Place Roma and Portrait Firenze behind him (the properties opened in the fall and earlier this year, respectively), Bönan shared with Robb Report Home & Style his thoughts on three decades of design.