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     The legendary decorator and set               An
     designer Renzo Mongiardino was
     famous for creating elegant, opulent
     and theatrical spaces. A favourite
     of the Milanese bourgeoisie, the
                                               unforgettable                                                                                                  act should be truly unforgettable. A
                                                                                                                                                              sophisticated mix of antiques and art
                                                                                                                                                              plus a flair for the dramatic will height-
                                                                                                                                                                                                           piece de resistance may be the grand
                                                                                                                                                                                                           piano, the 16-light crystal chandelier
                                                                                                                                                                                                           or the classic pine and gesso mantel
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     placed great importance on the design
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     of their lobbies, which speaks to the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     power of this space to create a positive

     Italian designer harmonized style                                                                                                                        en the anticipation of what is to follow.    for the fireplace.                        first impression. In fact, the lobbies
     with intelligence. From his work                                                                                                                         Like a great play, plans for a well-                                                   of many hotels, such as the Hotel
                                                                                                                                                              designed foyer should be based on a                                                    Concorde Saint-Lazare in Paris, have
     on such films as The Taming of
                                                                                                                                                              dramatic theme that reveals some-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   It is often said                  become worthy sites to be seen.
     the Shrew to his stage design for
     many of Franco Zeffirell’s operas,
     he intimately understood how a
     spectacular setting could height-
     en any experience. He brought
     that same remarkable sensibility
     to his private work in the homes
     of style mavens such as Jacqueline
                                               impression                                  By Wallace Shaw and Nick Pezzo
                                                                                                                                                              thing about the characters and creates
                                                                                                                                                              an environment for rising action, a
                                                                                                                                                              climax and a final denouement.
                                                                                                                                                                 So what does a foyer reveal about
                                                                                                                                                              someone’s character or design sensi-
                                                                                                                                                              bility? Plenty—and it happens within
                                                                                                                                                                                                           that a home is like
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 an autobiography
                                                                                                                                                                                                           and that each room
                                                                                                                                                                                                               reveals a chapter in
                                                                                                                                                                                                             its owners’ lives.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Designed by Gustave Eiffel, this
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     cathedral-like setting with its gold-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     leaf-trimmed columns is considered
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     a masterpiece of the 19th century. A
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     more recent nod to the importance
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     and attention given to lobby design is
                                                                                                                                                              seconds. Your guests will notice the                                                   Philippe Starck’s work at The Delano
     Kennedy, Marie-Helene de Rothschild,                                                                                                                     colours, materials, furniture and                                                      in Miami. Using 40-foot sheer white
     and Donatella Versace.                                                                                                                                   decorative flourishes. They will also           Now step back. Glance around the       billowing curtains, highly-stylized
          In our own work with clients,                                                                                                                       respond emotionally to the setting. Is       room. By using layered opulence—          chairs and faux-fur covered beds, this
     we follow a similar philosophy:                                                                                                                          it welcoming? Awe-inspiring? They            sumptuous materials, luxurious pat-       Paris-based designer launched a dis-
     a belief that great design elevates                                                                                                                      may start by noticing the colours in         terning and eclectic furnishings—you      tinct South Beach minimalist aesthetic.
     and enriches the interior landscapes                                                                                                                     the room. Subtle cream hues will             will have created a stunning three-          But whether it is a famous hotel or
     that shape our lives. That enrich-
                                                                                                                                                              create entirely different assumptions        dimensional painting or visual fantasy.   your own foyer, if you strive to capture
     ment begins the moment we
                                                                                                                                                              than scarlet reds.                                                                                 the architectural and aes-
     walk into any space, whether
                                                                                                                                                                 Next, your guests may                                                                           thetic spirit of your home,
     it is a palatial lobby in a grand
                                                                                                                                                              glance down to the floor-                                                                          your guests will feel like
     hotel or the foyer of a home.
                                                                                                                                                              ing. Marble, granite or                                                                            they have entered an
     In both settings, the colours,
                                                                                                                                                              exotic woods such as wal-                                                                          exclusive setting: a place
     textures, mood and style of the
     room should seduce our senses.                                                                                                                           nut, mahogany, or ebony                                                                            where life is to be
          The Hotel Gritti Palace in Venice,                                                                                                                  speak to an owner’s élan.                                                                          savoured and stylishly
     once the private palazzo of a noble                                                                                                                      Patterns in traditional                                                                            celebrated. As designer
     Venetian family and later the offi-                                                                                                                      Versailles, herringbone or                                                                         Dorothy Draper, herself
     cial residence of the Vatican’s ambas-                                                                                                                   guilloche styles reveal a                                                                          an icon of stylish living,
     sadors to Venice, is now frequented                                                                                                                      love of classical grandeur.                                                                        said, “There’s nothing so
     by royals, celebrities and well-                                                                                                                         Limestone, travertine or                                                                           important as first impres-
     heeled clientele. From the moment                                                                                                                        basalt in brushed, honed                                                                           sions. They leave an
     you walk through their elegant                                                                                                                           or matte finishes lend a                                                                           indelible mark, which
     doors, you are immersed in an                                                                                                                            more contemporary flair.                                                                           nothing that happens
     aristocratic setting. Bathed in rich                                                                                                                        While they may not                                                                              later ever quite wipes out.
     golden and walnut hues, the room                                                                                                                         have immediately noticed                                                                           The stage director knows
     is warm and welcoming. If you settle                                                                                                                     your furnishings, after                                                                            this and tries to arrange
                                                                                                                                    Photo: Philip Castleton

     into one of the satin-covered                                                                                                                            the initial look your visi-                                                                        a setting for the first act
     settees, you can appreciate the                                                                                                                          tors may spot your 18th-                                                                           that will bring an exclama-
     period paintings, exquisite wood                                                                                                                         century-style mahogany                                                                             tion of delight from the
     panelling and ornate Venetian                                                                                                                            console, your circular                                                                             audience the minute the
     wall mirrors. The room’s design                                                                                                                          walnut-and-gilt mirror and                                                                         curtain goes up. If he has

     reveals not only its Byzantine,                      e strive for a similar archi-    vision is required, experience has                                 your Rococo-inspired table                                                                         done that, he has captured
     Romanesque and Gothic past

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Photo: Ritz Carlton.
                                                          tectural eloquence when we       taught us that it is the hundreds of                               lamp. Their curiosity                                                                              their attention.”
     but also its present-day narrative.
                                                          are designing foyers—or pri-     intimate details—the things people                                 piqued, they will take a
                                               vate lobbies—in clients’ homes. It is       will see and touch—that give a foyer a                             closer look at the trompe                                                                           Wallace Shaw, ARIDO, IDC,
                                               often said that a home is like an auto-     storied texture and mood.                                          l’oeil painted panel with                                                                           and Nick Pezzo are the
                                                  biography and that each room                                                                                its Tuscan countryside                                                                              principals of Shaw-Pezzo
                                                   reveals a chapter in its owners’        Inviting and captivating                                           tableaux as well as your                                                                            and Associates, an interna-
                                                     lives. As the foyer is the area       Harkening back to its original French                              collection of agate figurines. Other         A worthy masterpiece                      tional resource of exquisitely crafted
                                                      where a homeowner begins to          meaning—that of a hearth—the foyer                                 details, like your Hepplewhite-inspired      While it is easy to become involved in    home furnishings, artwork, lighting,
                                                     tell his or her story, it is impor-   should be inviting and captivating.                                pelmets and mahogany salon chairs,           other design projects in your home, do    and accessories. Shaw and Pezzo also
                                                         tant the aesthetic matches        Remember, you are creating the stage                               all contribute to the room’s elegant         not underestimate the significance of     offer world-class interior design services.
                                                          that history. While a grand      for the rest of your home. The opening                             ambiance. The final denouement or            the foyer. Luxury hotels have always

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