Saturday, March 31, 2007

earth to andrea

The idea that earth was a difficult element for a hotel room was Completely Bogus. I practically wanted to yell at the television: "Green! Think Green!" And this was what Kelly asked her.

It was such an easy element to be given. Every hotel in the world is doing the California Spa experience with some Japanese touches as well like bamboo, teak and reed. A spa refers to materials like water and marble and sand. It also evokes stone and linen and iris; or jade and silk and orchid.

Frankly, that room Andrea came up with was bizarre.

It was like bad West Elm.

She seemed so stuck on the idea that earth = cruncy granola and folksy plows. To avoid this look she made something very dry and dull. The dimensions were off.

She couldn't break away from her fixed associations and move into ways of imagining that would help her create a room that felt luxurious. There are so many ways to indulge in the idea of sensuality with an element like earth. Rich color is one way.

This is Marimekko (above). Scandinavian designers -- and especially Finnish designers -- have so much life and energy in their nature motifs. Check out Lotta Jansdotter (below) -- she's mainly known for her textiles but her ceramics are also fabulous --

perhaps for a for a breakfast in bed.

There are so many hotels and spas that one could use as examples but one place that came to my mind was Hotel Vitale in San Francisco.

I remembered it as being green but in fact the colors in these pictures are more browns and blues but they couldn't be more different in feel from Andrea's. They are much warmer.

The lobby:

One thing none of the designers provided was a decent workspace:

Here is a great alternative to Andrea's insect-collecting grass tables:

At any rate, everyone today wants the hotel to provide the spa experience and that is very much associated with a kind of natural -- green -- sensibility.

It was driving me nuts to watch Andrea make a room that was so utterly wrong-headed!

Hotel Vitale Press:


Ms. Place said...

I so agree with you. It is spring in Virginia. Our dogwoods and azaleas are blossoming and the birds are all a twitter. Earth is in a glorious renewal phase. In fall, the colors brighten. In winter, the colors are muted but so beautiful they take my breath away. Andrea had so many palettes to choose from; so many themes and varieties of expressions. The humming of bees and their honeyed nectar; hot springs bubbling up to the surface; a clear brook running over stones; the quiet of an ancient forest. I felt myself shaking with frustration and yelling at the tv screen, let me! Let me!

To be fair about the workspace, I don't think the designers were given enough time to shop for furnishings. One hour in a place the size of Pacific Design Center? Towards the end of a competition, Bravo should just allow these designers to shine and show us what stuff they're made of.

And why were they asked to design sets again? The height of a ceiling, the choices in chandeliers or lighting fixtures, the peekaboo quality of doors leading to other rooms, make a dramatic difference in which a space is handled.

Bah. This show isn't worth my energy. Thank gawd there are only two more to slog through.

Great post as usual.

eric3000 said...

I don't know what Andrea's problem was on this challenge. This room was terrible.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else think that Andrea's room looked unbalanced? I didn't like how she treated the the faux windows (is that what they were?), I think they needed better definition.