27 Jul 2018 • Spatial
A reopened grand hotel in Paris has the Belle Époque on tap
With 108 years worth of stories, the elegant Hôtel Lutetia was the lodging of choice of Matisse, Camus and the crème de la crème of the Saint-Germain society – it was, after all, founded by the family that also created the equally admired Le Bon Marché. And now, after a massive four-year renovation, it opens its doors again. Architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte took his time with the details, even commissioning bespoke pieces and finishes. One of those items was the Lutezia tap collection, created by Vicenza-based manufacturer CEA.
In the name of accuracy, the project required merging Art Deco and Art Nouveau elements, to reflect the heritage of more than a century’s worth of style influences. ‘Our project research included great attention for the ergonomics of the handle and the proportion of the water flow,’ stated Roberta Bertacco, co-founder and managing director of CEA. Their main source of inspiration, though, was an unexpected element: the hydraulic valve of the radiators from the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. And now, the bathrooms of the 184 units, the common spaces and the spa feature the delicately curved yet sturdily resistant pieces, in silver and rose shades inspired by the Parisian Belle Époque.
The partnership between the Lutetia, Jean-Michel Wilmotte and CEA was so fruitful that the custom-made pieces will be made available for purchase to the public, starting in late 2018. ‘And this is just the beginning,’ explained Borina Andrieu, manager of the Wilmotte firm, when speaking of the burgeoning manufacturer-architect relationship.
What the world today calls Paris, Julius Caesar called Lutetia. It is almost poetically fitting, then, to have an Italian company providing some of the key throwback items for a veritable hospitality icon, both named after the Roman moniker.