Now we can’t make use of our living rooms with their eclectic art, inspiring books and odd-ball items, we admire them even more. Since the beginning, we’ve strived to inspire a new generation of modern travellers. How? By curating living spaces that promote curiosity and intrigue. Behind every one of our living rooms is the fantastic interior stylist, Florence van Lent. Together with citizenM, Florence from Bricks Studio decorates each hotel to a custom theme which fits the city and location. For instance, our Tower Hill hotel was styled with ‘English Heritage’ at its core, harking back to the location's significance as one of London’s oldest and most historical parts. How better to tribute the area than with contemporary artworks of Queen Elizabeth, traditional English sports like cricket and badminton racquets, as well quintessentially British symbols like red telephone boxes?
With the majority of us cooped up at home these days, the surge in home improvement is understandable. You're more aware of your surrounding and this sparks ideas. To fuel that creativity, we opened the floor via Instagram where you asked all your burning interior design and style-related questions to our expert Florence. Below are some of her best tips:
@fcelise2020: Hi Florence! Must be difficult to give a commercial place like a hotel a warm and welcoming feeling. How on earth do you do that?
Florence: to create a welcoming feeling in the hotels, our architect Concrete creates Living Rooms instead of lobbies. We add styling items that you're most likely to find in your own home, like art, books, collectables, vases and so on. This is how we create a home away from home feel.
@pao_worldwide: What are the key secrets for successfully styling small spaces?
Florence: I would really recommend to only use a few key pieces and use the height of your space. Don’t use too many small items, don’t clutter. Use furniture that gives a spacious feel, like a sofa on legs so it’s open underneath. Hang your TV on your wall instead of placing it on a cabinet. Use wall and ceiling lamps instead of floor lamps. Also, a large mirror can optically enlarge a space.
@bearnestly: How do you decide which elements are consistent with every hotel and which are inspired and sourced from the local community?
Florence: there are quite a few items that are consistent with every hotel, for example the coffee table books, of which I am an avid collector myself. Next to that, we always use pocket books, colourful vases, pop art cushions and of course the red bottles above the bar. Otherwise, products are sourced based on the narratives that are created for every hotel. If a city has something it’s famous for, we try to look for a product that fits as a styling item. For instance, the huge lobster we have in the Boston hotel.
@paulpod: Can you tell us something about the cool staircase at Bankside?
Florence: absolutely! The cool staircase is also known as our iconic staircase, which is designed by our architects Concrete. Whenever our hotel is spread over multiple levels, they try to create a physical connection, to make it easy for guests to enjoy all of the space available. You should definitely visit our new hotel in Washington when it is open as there will be a red iconic staircase which literally goes right through the bookcase.
@charlie_bowden: If you had to pick one piece, what would it be? Can we see a photo?
Florence - it would be the ‘Quelle Fete’ disco ball in the cloudM bar at Bowery. It’s by Dutch design studio Rotganzen. The disco ball is an object that everyone knows, but when I saw their interpretation it became such a cool and fun object that totally matched the DNA of citizenM.
@kat_panayo: What are your thoughts on colour-blocking your books... cool or overdone?
Florence: definitely COOL! The more colour the better! We already stack the pocket books by colour - but can definitely combine them as well.
@andrewslela: Every citizenM hotel has a wonderful aroma as you walk through the door. It always makes me feel so welcome. What is the smell and can I buy it? (Keep doing what you do as I always feel at home no matter which citizenM I'm in)
Florence: thank you for your kind comment!! The citizenM scent was developed by fragrance designers 12.29 from NYC. Unfortunately, it is not (yet) for sale. However, we have a great alternative which is our delicious smelling AM/PM shower gel and hand soap. They're especially designed fragrances by Alessandro Gualtieri (aka The Nose) from Nassomato. Available at collectionM at most of our hotels.
@sannevanettinger: What colour can’t you live without?
Florence: Wow, good question. Green and red, in all their different shades, from really dark red to light grayish-green.
@noreenchadha: Do you recommend any particular websites/shops to find more affordable styling pieces?
Florence: I recommend looking at (online) museum shops like Tate Modern, Boutiques de Musees, or MoMA. They often have really nice, unexpected and unique items, like cool prints and fun decorative objects. Also, 10 corso como is a fantastic and inspirational store. They sell expensive brands but you'll also find cool more affordable decorative items by brands like Seletti.
@edwordwoodword: I have a tiny apartment. How do I make it look as cool as your rooms despite my limited space?
Florence: to give you some tips on how to create a citizenM atmosphere in your own apartment, use colour and fun items, art and prints. To add colour, incorporate pop art cushions, a nice rug under your sofa, or a small side table or bright stool. Even a colourful vase would work. Next, I recommend combining art and prints together with styling items on your walls. If you have a fun item such as a skateboard or a plate, or even your favourite collectable or toy, place it in an acrylic box and hang it with other styling items. This creates a unique display of your own!
So from our living rooms to yours, we hope Florence’s interior insights will be useful to you. If you find yourself doing any citizenM inspired home deco please share a photo with us - we’d love to see all your curated collections. Over the coming weeks we’ll be posting more tips and tricks from our team so keep an eye on our Instagram!