Pump Up the Volume
Everyone can party like a rock star at the Kent Hotel, designed by Barbara Hulanicki
Jen Renzi -- Interior Design, 2/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
Chris Blackwell, the owner of Island Outpost, is now a major, if offbeat, player in the hospitality field, having amassed a diverse group of 12 boutique hotels in Miami, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Utah. First, however, he established a professional reputation in the entertainment industry as the founder of Island Records and Palm Pictures. (Discovering Bob Marley was just the beginning.) So when Blackwell purchases a new property to imprint with his signature sensibility of casual, kooky comfort, he often hires an interior designer with a rock-star pedigree herself: Barbara Hulanicki, whose 1960s clothing line, Biba, was favored by the likes of Sonny, Cher, and the Beatles.
Hulanicki just renovated Blackwell's 54-room Kent Hotel, built by L. Murray Dixon in 1939 on Miami Beach's Collins Avenue. "People come to South Beach to play," says Hulanicki, who created a "playground for grown-ups" with metallic beanbags on landings and fluorescent Lucite accessories in the lobby. She unleashed a high-octane mix of oranges and purples throughout. "Chris just loves color," she confides. "I won't even show him beige!" The juiced-up design comes to a head in the Lucite suite. With everything made in the clear plastic—save for mother-of-pearl accents and vintage metal lamps—the 800-square-foot fun-house is perfectly tailored for a star-studded party.