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Friday, 18 March 2016

Luxe the Kasbah


Morrocco has long been a 'go to' destination for the well informed, the glamorous, the mysterious and those seeking exotic and luxurious design inspiration. Yves Saint Laurent famously owned the Majorelle Gadrens, and British department store Liberty of London has always been renowned for it's selection of fine [if you have to ask the price you can't afford it] Oriental and Berber rugs.

Inevitable therefore is Design Trawler's first trip to Morocco - to capture the richness that this unique culture presents. With its North African tradition and French influences, craft and effortless style is to be expected. Of particular interest is how these traditional aesthetics remain relevant in today's top-tier Moroccan environments... and how exporting this back to London might be appropriate. The first challenge therefore is finding a top tier Moroccan environment.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Grand Hotel Barcelona


There is no getting away from the fact that AirBNB is hammering a nail in the hotel industry's coffin. For far too long, hotels have had it easy; and especially so when it comes to design. Identikit decor, standardised room layouts, and soulless artwork have had Design Trawler often wondering if he's waking up in Beijing or Bermuda. With an almost Darwinian poetry, those hotels that fail to up their design game will die; to be outlived by only the strongest of species. 

Nowhere is this more true than Barcelona. Design Trawler is a big fan of the sail-shaped W Hotel perched at the top of the harbour, and the equally eponymous Hotel Arts situated next to Frank Gehry's 1992 Peix sculpture. But it's the volume and quality of the listings on AirBNB in the city that these two iconic hotels have to compete with. From modern penthouses, to luxury yachts, beaux arts apartments and classical townhouses; all display a design dexterity that's quite remarkable. 

Design Trawler chose to check in to an architect renovated, 1888 apartment in the heart of the city's Raval district to find out why the Barcelonés are on top of their design game, and what hotels could learn...

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