Can a sexagenarian still be an enfant terrible? French designer Philippe Starck may be 61, but, as his latest hotel project attests, he is still deserving of his pet moniker. Known for his brash, outsize interiors at such hotels as the Mondrian in Los Angeles and the Delano in Miami, Starck is now making waves in Venice, where he has transformed a historic aristocratic home into the new Palazzina Grassi hotel.
Opened last November, Palazzina Grassi, a member of Design Hotels, is owned by former racecar driver Emanuele Garosci, who commissioned Starck to work his modern magic on the 500-year-old structure. The designer’s heavy hand is apparent throughout the hotel’s ornately colonnaded public areas, which offer an alluring mix of plush furnishings and dripping chandeliers. Even more dazzling are the 22 guest rooms and suites, with their shimmering Venetian mirrors and table lamps decorated with Piero Fornasetti–like faces and Venetian masks.