“Nature is the architecture we all share,” according to Gulla Jonsdottir the Iceland born, environment inspired designer of The Roosevelt Hotel Macau. While the Los Angeles based glamazon says we’ll have to wait for images to ogle of the 373-room boutique hotel, she promises, “You won’t hear the sound of slot machines anywhere” inside this highly anticipated opening in China’s sin (and spin) city. A separate casino will sit discreetly, and quietly, to the side.
“The Roosevelt Macau will be completely different from Macau as you know it,” reveals Jonsdottir in her industrial chic West Hollywood studio. “There will be a cool art space, hanging gardens, and we’re painting original artwork into the bottom of the pool.” Her rationale behind reimagining the classic resort swim spot, which will be visible from the air, is simple: “Why should art only be something which hangs on the wall?”
Though this is her first commission in Asia outside of Japan, Jonsdottir was the natural choice for Hotels G’s overturn of the Macau sleep scene. Her alluring redesign to the original 90 year-old Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood ten years ago upgraded this favourite of Marilyn Monroe and host to the inaugural Academy Awards in 1929 to one of Tinseltown’s most star-studded musts.
“I want you to feel relaxed like you are on vacation, but with a touch of glamour,” continues the Richard Meier trained architect about her nature-led design for The Roosevelt Macau, which incorporates black burnt wood, bronze and carved Italian marble in all the living lairs, because “organic materials just feel more healing.” Jonsdottir’s concepts around the world always start from the site, though she admits this was more challenging in the heavily developed city-state. She was drawn to the Chinese lotus flower, but don’t expect soft, meditative petals: “Think lotus abstracted, and sprinkled into the metalwork.” Calling it “sensual and feminine,” nature informs all of Jonsdottir’s designs, including the recently opened Le Grand Restaurant from renowned Paris chef Jean-François Piège and LA hot spot Red O on Melrose Avenue.
Before climbing into her shiny new black Porsche, we ask this Nordic goddess to share any more impressions of the still-under-wraps hotel. Keeping her secrets, she says with a knowing smile, “I promise, this hotel is going to be unlike anywhere else in Macau or Hong Kong.”