Talent You Can Bank On
An Edward Tuttle project, the Park Hyatt Milan brings serious luxury to the city's financial quarter
Edie Cohen -- Interior Design, 10/1/2004 12:00:00 AM
At the Park Hyatt Milan, architect Edward Tuttle clad a suite in travertine. The leather-covered custom ottoman is surrounded by custom seating upholstered in canvas chenille; painted silk-velour pillows accent the sofa.
In the presidential suite's salon, Tuttle's walnut chairs cluster near his lacquered desk with gunmetal-finished steel details.
Walnut banquettes, tables, and chairs appoint the lobby, where an alcove frames a 6-foot-high granite urn.
A glazed cupola 30 feet in diameter caps the 1870's building's courtyard, which now houses the lobby.
Beneath the dome, new granite columns flank a trio of Etruscan urns.
The renovation included redesigning the ground-floor fenestration.
In the mezzanine library, walnut cabinetry displays Chinese porcelain.
A suite's wall-mounted minibar combines a Venetian stucco finish with a lacquered ledge.
Most often associated with the ultra-sybaritic Amanresorts, architect Edward Tuttle has left an unmistakable imprint on luxury hospitality. (At Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand, he built 18th-century-style pavilions and villas amid a coconut plantation. His bell-shape roofs at Amanjiwo in Java, Indonesia, draw their inspiration from the nearby Buddhist sanctuary of Borobudur.) More recently, Tuttle joined forces with a client of similar stature—but a much more urban outlook: His firm, Designrealization, first completed the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, then moved on to the Park Hyatt Milan. In both, five-star design starts with location.
Steps from the Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele, the Milan property's six-story granite building has come full circle since the 1870's. Originally a hotel, then a department store, it subsequently became a bank. When Tuttle stepped in, it had been vacant for five years.
His plans for the massive interior and exterior renovation were governed, he says, by the "architectural strictness of the Milanese mentality." That, plus cues from consecutive periods of the city's history: "fastidious facades" from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, "high-tech steel and glass" from after the Second World War, and the "minimalist shop interiors" of today.
Tuttle's most dramatic move was to demolish the flat roof that had covered the building's courtyard during the bank era, replacing it with a steel-framed glass cupola 30 feet in diameter. The new dome crowns a 3,000-square-foot cruciform-plan lobby punctuated by granite columns and architraves. The walls and floor are clad in cream-colored travertine—and Tuttle filled the holes in the floor with black epoxy to resemble flooring at the Vatican.
For all the cool stone and hard surfaces, the public space is surprisingly warm. Credit the aubergine, royal purple, and imperial yellow fabrics that upholster banquettes and chairs custom-made in Italy. "For 35 years, in most hotels I've done, I designed all the furniture," he says. "It has to do with starting in Asia."
In Milan, the architect took just a few materials—walnut, black glass, gunmetal-finished steel, canvas chenille—and crafted them into clean shapes that defy categorization. Furniture in the lobby is echoed by that on upper floors. Each room features seating covered in canvas chenille; black glass tops consoles with gunmetal-finished steel details; Klismos-like chairs are walnut. "Furnishings are consistent among the room types," Tuttle says.
The 91 rooms and 26 suites occupy floors two through six. Standard rooms measure approximately 390 square feet, suites 590 square feet. Diplomatic and presidential suites range from 1,240 to 2,900 square feet. Bathrooms, nearly as large as sleeping quarters, are expanses of travertine, mirror, and glass.
Despite the ample wall space in private and public sectors, fine art—often part of Tuttle's program—is all but absent here. "We went for architecture and simplicity," he says. For the lobby, he designed a quartet of 6-foot-high granite urns, which he paired with a collection of Etruscan vessels. Black-glazed Chinese porcelain stands out against the soothing terra-cotta color of the walls in the mezzanine library.
If a guest perceives the overall result as contemporary, fine. Ditto neoclassical. No question that it's easy and elegant.