Five syllables encapsulate the interiors of the newly dressed penthouse at The Fairmont Hotel San Francisco: un-be-liev-able. Apparently it's a popular opinion: just this week, the team at Champalimaud Design learned they won the 2010 Americas Property Awards in the category of "Interior Design, USA" for their revitalization of the 6,000-square-foot suite, which spans the entire eighth floor of the hotel's historic main building.
Designed in the '20s by art historian Arthur Upham Pope, the space still boasts details that point to Pope's fascination with Persian art and architecture: a vaulted billiards room is entirely covered in floor-to-ceiling Persian tiles and a sweeping two-story circular library features a gold-leaf rotunda (plus a secret passageway behind a bookshelf). The three-bedroom suite has only been open for public use since 1981—it was formerly a private residence—so principal Alexandra Champalimaud worked around elements that have, over the years, become property of the hotel, such as David Hockney paintings and a collection of Chinese vases. Not too shabby, indeed: "We have inherited a rich history and the eclectic and sophisticated tastes of the suite’s original owners and those who lived here,” says Champalimaud, describing her approach to putting forth a "luxurious marriage of East meets West." Above: a hand-painted Chinoiserie wallcovering clads the walls of the dining room, which seats 60. The luxurious, layered treatment is certainly regal enough for the suite's roster of powerful past guests; it's just a shame that Prince Charles and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev—not to mention Mick Jagger, Elton John, and Tony Bennett—bunked here before what seems to be its next heyday. Gawk at all the lovely photos here:
And the rest:[Photos by Matthew Millman]
· Champalimaud Design [official site]