Art and champagne. Two of A-Gent of Style‘s favourite things merging together. Heaven.

Contemporary American artist Jeff Koons has teamed up with legendary French luxury champagne maker Dom Pérignon to produce a scaled-down version of his stupendous Balloon Venus sculpture.

Balloon Venus

Balloon Venus


In tainted high chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating dress, the special edition sculpture  – only 650 hundreds specimens were created – of this collaborative project houses a bottle of the Rosé Vintage 2003 preciously cradled and guarded by its 2 ft. tall, voluptuous encasement, a modern-day,
goddess-of-wine Venus.

“The gift box was designed by Jeff Koons himself, for both Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004 and Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2003”, explains Dom Pérignon, “with a careful all-embracing conception of the outside and the inside facets. The outside reproduces on a dark background the Balloon Venus for Dom Pérignon matching their colour with the cuvée: pink for the Rosé and yellow for the Blanc. A view of the artist’s studio is visible on the reflective surface of the Balloon Venus and refers to the creative energy of the artist. The image is underlined by Jeff Koons’ signature. From the outside, the gift box extends the feeling of being in the presence of Balloon Venus, as the reproduction sets à 360° view of the object.
The gift box opens to expose the bottle, unveiling first an elaborate design that simulates the iridescent interior of the original sculpture made of high chromium stainless steel with transparent colour coating dress. The iconic Dom Pérignon bottle erupts, exactly as it does from the body of the Balloon Venus
for Dom Pérignon, magnifying the revelation.”

“The bottle foils give a pop-twist to the colour of its cuvée, Dom Pérignon Blanc or Rosé, interpreting the tension between the colours and the dark bottle” adds Koons. “It bears a metallic shield with the same colour layout as the foil and the box. The label plays with coloured surface on the depth of shield, emphasizing its allure, playful and still mysterious.”


“‘Dom Pérignon by Jeff Koons’ prolongs the encounter between Dom Pérignon and Jeff Koons”, explains the prestige house’s chef de cave, Richard Geoffroy. “After creating the Balloon Venus for Dom Pérignon Rosé, Jeff Koons transposed its creation and re-designed the iconic codes of Dom Pérignon’s bottle and gift box, by taking inspiration from the shapes and colours of Balloon Venus. This Limited Edition is the ultimate expression of the fruitful collaboration based on absolute shared vision of the power of creation and of collaboration.” 

For the collaborative project, the sculpture with a bottle of champagne will set you back $20,000 USD, ahem, a pop – a bargain considering Koons’s twelve-foot stainless steel sculpture “Balloon Dog” sold for $58.4 million (£36.8m) at an auction at Christie’s in New York two weeks ago, making it the most expensive piece of art by a living artist sold at auction.

 “Venus of Willendorf”, a, 11cm high palaeolithic figurine found in Austria in 1908, dating back to around 23, 000 years BC considered to be one of the earliest known depictions of the human form “proposes a new kind of idol, a modern-day goddess of love who embraces her beholder in reflective curves and suggests fecundity and creation”,  Koons explains. “It’s both masculine and feminine. Well, if you look at the inside – it’s like a Rorschach, but you can pick up on some of the masculine elements, even the shape of the bottle there, and if you look at the Balloon Venus from the front, it’s so fertile.”


A pop-up shop was specially created in the Assouline bookshop in Claridge’s where the highly collectable took centre stage. A-Gent of Style was dazzled by this explosion of neon pop shocking pink, a true feast for the eyes, heightening the artist’s trademark creative verve and the creative collision.


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For the ‘sweetie dahlings’ amongst us, two less lavish and more accessible limited-edition gift boxes were also created with the Rosé Vintage 2003 and
the Blanc Vintage 2004 going for £330 and £155, respectively,
available at Harvey Nichs.

“Being creative is trying to expand what the possibilities are”,
says Jeff Koons. “Within the gift boxes, we discover, with an exceptional playfulness and intensity, two Vintages of the year: Dom Pérignon 2004—intense, elegant and radiant—and Dom Pérignon Rosé 2003—vibrant, seductive and infringing.
A promise of a both divine and profane experience.”

Cheers! and happy Friday!


One of A-Gent of Style‘s highlights at the Sleep event last week was the Sleep Hotel.

Sleep Hotel, dubbed “the catwalk of hotel design”, brought together some of the hotel industry’s best-known designers with several newer names that are making their mark on the sector. The event this year challenged five design companies to create a concept for an imaginary hotel working to a particularly demanding brief. These design teams collaborated with fit-out specialists and product suppliers of their choice to build their concept for Sleep Hotel, which was staged in a designated area in the Business Design Centre.


Sleep Hotel 2012

Sleep Hotel

This year, the brief was inspired by the widespread interest in, and nostalgia for, the 1960s, and was asking designers to ‘redesign’ each one life-sized hotel junior suite in a fictitious hotel originally built during the heyday of ‘Pop Art’, translating the radical spirit of this cultural movement into a contemporary experience that is relevant today, and ultimately transforming Sleep’s catwalk of hotel design into a radical contemporary Pop Art experience.


An exciting added dimension to Sleep Hotel 2013 was that the Barbican, London’s leading multi-arts venue currently running a major exhibition Pop Art Design until 9th February 2014, joined forces with Sleep. As a result, the Barbican exhibition curator, Catherine Ince, was invited to join the judging panel including Andrew Baker of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Conrad Smith, Managing Director of ReardonSmith Architects. A-Gent of Style had the privilege to meet Ince that day and will publish the fascinating interview next Monday.

At 16.45, a seminar entitled ‘The Sleep Hotel – Designers Present’ invited the leader of each design team to pitch their project to the three judges who then made their comments as the competition reached a climax.

The place to be and be seen was the Sleep Hotel Bar, part of Sleep Hotel, which was exclusively designed by NOUS DESIGN. The bar was open throughout the event but  it was also the meeting point for a late networking night on Wednesday and where the results of the Sleep Hotel competition were announced.

This year’s concept was a serene oasis. The eye-catching bar itself suggested a peaceful, sun-dappled lake in its organic form, with a rippled surface gleaming under illumination. The source of this lake sprang not from the mountains but from an oversized tap that flowed with champagne! A-Gent of Style tested the functionality of the bar and tasted the goods, all for professional purposes, of course, and can report the design was a complete tour de force.

NOUS DESIGN is an interior design practise based in London, specialising in high end hospitality and residential design services. With a highly creative and dynamic team, they aim to deliver tailor-made bespoke designs for each project whilst exploring unique and innovative concepts adding value to each project. And they certainly came up trumps with this incredible bar.

Prior to the unveiling, NOUS DESIGN said: “We are developing a flowing structure in a continuous form which expresses the confluence of new hotel design ideas, products and services that is synonymous with Sleep. The structure will identify the bar as a place to gather and draw people in. On one side, it will jet towards the conference theatre and on the other it will act as the portal to Sleep Hotel, achieving a strong connection between the two spaces while creating a pavilion and a social platform for the entire event.”

The imposing structural and architectural metal sculptures on the wall that coiled and curled, with lasered flower cut-out designs, were rather striking and elegant.

At 7pm, visitors and participants were then invited to join Barbican exhibition curator Catherine Ince and the two other judges in announcing the winning room set.

And the winner was (drum roll):

The winning design by Cullinan Interior & Infinite Architects, whose room featured inspiration from Ken Adams’ set design for Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove, and included elements of surprise such as interstellar fractal-inspired artwork.

“We never thought we would win this – but of course we hoped!”, confessed the team. ” We had two weeks to design and two weeks to produce it – finishing was for us the prize. But when we saw the finished product we really thought, this is a strong commercial project we have. We tried to create a new, unexpected guest experience. We divided the room asymmetrically to clearly define the different areas – sleep, dress, informal dining, chill out, bathe.”

“To capture the spirit of the 1960s Swinging London”, the winners explained,
“the challenge for Cullinan interior and Infinite Architects was re-thinking the typical guest room configuration to deliver a revolutionary guest experience through a contemporary interpretation of the Sixties counterculture that questioned the political, social and moral values of the time.”

So huge congratulations to Cullinan interior and Infinite Architects for designing this pop-static room.

And here are the other four participants’ room sets:

The Hickson Design Partnership is a London & Turin Architecture
and Interior Design practice specialising in Hospitality and High End Residential Projects.

Purpose Design creates memorable and dynamic interiors for the hospitality and leisure sector, based in the UK and the Middle East their understanding of the sector spans many cultures.

Kelly Hoppen Interiors is a multi-award winning design studio founded by
British designer Kelly Hoppen MBE.

Squared Interiors is a joint venture between Angelo and Andrea. Between them they bring over 20 years of design industry experience into play, applying a genuine flair for interior design with considerable passion and attention to detail.

Complimentary drinks were also served throughout the venue and too-cool-for-school Michaelango L’Acqua, CEO and Chief Creative Officer, Soniq – was on the decks playing a live DJ set on the fabulous, slickly designed Evoni DJ table, ‘Apollo’, on the main show floor.

Launched in May 2013, the british designed and built Apollo is a custom made music workstation that brings functionality and style together in a clean, cable-free environment. The Apollo uses an arrangement of coloured, stacked blocks to provide a dramatic sculptural effect. The equipment frame is customised to fit the latest technology perfectly flush in the design. Design Director Rob Hodge said, “Our aim was to excite and inspire the interiors world with the Apollo and in doing so, raise the design profile of high end DJ furniture”.

Ettore Sottsass would have probably approved of this groovy design.


Last week in his post about the Sleep event and the European Hotel Design Awards ceremony, A-Gent of Style revealed he had been invited to interview two eminent guest speakers at Europe’s leading hotel design and development fair. Both interviewees turned out to be equally fascinating and charming, and so today, as promised, A-Gent would like to share with you one of these interviews and hopes you find it as inspirational as he did.

Founded in Los Angeles in 1964, Hirsch Bedner Associates has been leading the hotel design industry as an interior design firm with an international presence, depth of experience and detailed industry knowledge. With over 1,200 designers around the globe in 16 offices and a recent expansion in several locations in Asia, HBA has been creating the signature looks of todays luxury brands, independent contemporary boutiques, urban resort spas, world-class residences, restaurants, casinos, and cruise ships from one continent to another.

Top Ban, Israel

The Sea Hotel, Bay Yam, Israel

“The Gallery” is HBA’s London satellite office based in Notting Hill which was established in 2011 under the umbrella of HBA’s London studios and geared toward projects with a high degree of individualization and conceptual, bespoke interiors.

Inge Moore came to the UK in 2001 from her native South Africa
(she designed the country’s first post-apartheid museum in a collaboration with Museum Africa, as well as numerous, innovative hotel and casino projects for South African hotel group Sun International) to join the London team.

After becoming in 2008 the head and creative director of The Gallery, Mrs Moore was appointed early this year as President, Europe of HBA International.
Two weeks ago, she was awarded at a ceremony in New York the famed accolade Gold Key Designer of the Year, the premier award for hotel designers around the world judged by key people in hotel development, celebrating success across the range of hospitality, from luxury guest rooms, to eco and socially conscious hotels and budget focused services.

The_St_Regis_Rome_Ambassador_Couture_Suite_Living_Room (1)

One of the reasons for this success is her being at the helm of some of the most luxurious hotels in the world as some of her latest projects can attest: the Royal Suite in the InterContinental Park Lane, Mena House and the Fairmont Nile City in Cairo, Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville, the Hotel Maria Cristina in San Sebastian, the St. Regis in Rome and the Ritz Carlton in Mauritius.

Alfonso XIII, Seville, Spain

Alfonso XIII, Seville, Spain

As you may remember, A-Gent of Style attended
the glitzy European Hotel Design Awards ceremony last Tuesday evening
(you can see all the results here) where, amongst other competing design companies, The Gallery was nominated for three awards (the most nominations any firm received this year).

That night, The Gallery HBA won each of the three gongs for the same project,
The Alpina Gstaad in Gstaad, Switzerland: the best Lobby, Lounge & Public Areas award, the best Bedrooms & Bathrooms award and the acclaimed
European Hotel Design of the Year award. To say that The Gallery and Inge Moore have been riding a wave lately and that 2013 was a glorious year for them would be an understatement. Rather impressive.

The Alpina Gstaad, Gstaad, Switzerland

The Alpina Gstaad, Gstaad, Switzerland


The Alpina Gstaad, Gstaad, Switzerland

The Alpina Gstaad, Gstaad, Switzerland


The Alpina Gstaad, Gstaad, Switzerland

The Alpina Gstaad, Gstaad, Switzerland


The Alpina Gstaad, Gstaad, Switzerland

The Alpina Gstaad, Gstaad, Switzerland


The following day, A-Gent of Style was covering parts of the Sleep event and managed to catch up briefly with Inge Moore between a seminar,
Destination Luxury, where she was a guest speaker and an interview she was giving with none other than Ian Schrager, Sleep 2013’s headline speaker (The Gallery HBA designed the ESPA spa at the Istanbul EDITION hotel, an Ian Schrager and Marriott Hotels partnership).

You won the Gold Key Designer of the Year award in New York and your project The Alpina Gstaad in Gstaad, Switzerland took away the best Lobby, Lounge & Public Areas award, the best Bedrooms & Bathrooms award and the acclaimed European Hotel Design of the Year award. Congratulations are in order. What are your feelings or impressions?

It is amazing that we won! But we have to carry on and do more, new, fabulous properties. We have to keep it up; the pressure is on. ‘What do we do next’ is the question. But it is a nice tap on the shoulder because there are so few awards. Generally, you get yield at by the operators or the owners, or you’re told you’re spending too much money, that you never get things done fast enough. But it’s also great for the whole team, it’s a great validation for The Gallery.

What does Sleep represent to you?

It’s at the heart of the UK hotel design industry; it all comes together once a year and it’s always exciting to be back. I was delighted to be invited to a seminar.

The Alpiina, Gstaad, Gstaad, Switzerland

What is the position of London on the design scene?

London has really moved forward; in the design world, it’s at the centre. The good agencies are in London and it’s nice to work from London.

Park Lane InterContinental, London

Park Lane InterContinental, London


Park Lane InterContinental, London

Park Lane InterContinental, London

Are you aware of leaving a legacy behind you?

It’s flattering to see our projects being used as inspirational ideas. It’s hard work being a designer. But the great thing is you always have an end result, there’s something you’ve built, something tangible as opposed for example to an accountant and having financial statements.
Ultimately, I want people to enjoy our projects.

ESPA at The Europe, Killarney, Ireland

ESPA at The Europe, Killarney, Ireland

Would you agree that simplicity is key to successful design?

Absolutely. Life is so complicated. Real luxury is real simplicity, having not too much stuff. The art of design is editing, knowing what not to put in.

The EDITION ESPA, Istanbul

The ESPA, Istanbul EDITION, Turkey

What inspires you most? Where do you draw your inspirations?

Everything, a blog late at night, looking at beautiful pictures, a walk in the park, when I see a beautiful colour on an autumn leaf, everything’s that around me.
And the retail world is aspiring: fabulous fashion shoot and shows for instance.
You must get the ethos of the time.

The Avenue, Oman

The Avenue, Oman

Are you conscious of creating a narrative for your projects?

Totally. It’s a strong concept. I believe you need to spend a lot of time upfront and it makes things easier otherwise it becomes a muddle.

Cairo Marriott, Saraya Gallery, Cairo, Egypt

Cairo Marriott, Saraya Gallery, Cairo, Egypt

What length do you go to to achieve perfection?

To all lengths, to the end of the world because it needs to be right.

The EDITION ESPA, Istanbul

The ESPA, Istanbul EDITION

How much do you specify what you do? O
n average, what percentage is bespoke or custom-tailored?

I’d say 70% is custom-made items. I think it’s very boring to re-use pieces that people just recognise everywhere. It’s great for the suppliers and well done to them but when you walk into a hotel, you want to see something unique and special. And that’s what’s great about the hotel industry, we can customise.

The EDITION ESPA, Istanbul

The ESPA, Istanbul EDITION

Who are your design icons?

Ian Schrager! And Coco Chanel.

HBA will be 50 in 2015. Where do you see HBA in 50 years’ time?

I think HBA needs to break up and become more of a conglomerate of independent studios; we are all independent at the moment and we do our own things but we need to be further looked after and developed; it mustn’t be a corporate but rather a collaborative of different, little, interesting, really special things.

Cairo Marriott, Saraya Gallery, Cairo, Egypt

Cairo Marriott, Saraya Gallery, Cairo, Egypt

If there is such a thing, what is a typical day for you?

It’s always manic and there’s always more to do but I wouldn’t change it.

Is there a common denominator to your projects?

I think they are very tactile; they all have beautiful materials, it’s never flat, there’s always something you can touch and feel. A project by The Gallery is always a narrative-based tactile project.

The Alpina Gstaad, Gstaad, Switzerland

The Alpina Gstaad, Gstaad, Switzerland

The Alpina, Gstaad already looks like an iconic, timeless project. What are your thoughts on the time limit of a project?

I think every project should be timeless. Even it is a 1960s project for instance. It mustn’t be finished in two years. People like builders, investors and owners spend a lot of money. It needs to last, to have a patina as it ages rather than become old and be thrown away.

Alfonso XIII, Seville, Spain

Alfonso XIII, Seville, Spain. Art deco and teal!!! Heaven.

When do you know a project is finished?

Only when it’s finished built and I hand over the keys to the owner then it becomes theirs to look after and I can move on to the next project.

Hilton, Heathrow

Hilton, Heathrow

What is your own definition of luxury?

A day I can spend with my family, in the sunshine, and there’s no stress that day, spending the day cooking, pottering around.


Alfonso XIII, Seville, Spain

Alfonso XIII, Seville, Spain


St Regis, Rome

St Regis, Rome


 – All photos of HBA projects, The Gallery studio and Inge Moore
by Hirsch Bedner Associates –


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