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.


Second day of this action-packed week and A-Gent of Style is prepping this morning for two important events that he will be covering and reporting from in the next three days. Excited doesn’t even start to cover it.

By Kelly Hoppen

By Kelly Hoppen

The first one is the Sleep event, Europe’s annual leading trade event for hotel design, development and architecture, returning once again to London this year. Doors will open tomorrow morning at 10am until Thursday 6pm for two days crammed with exciting and inspiring features comprising the Exhib with suppliers of the hotel design sector showcasing their latest products and innovations, the Sleep Conference with seminars and talks involving influential industry professionals, the Sleep Hotel competition where five designers have created hotel rooms on a theme, the Tech Hub showcasing the latest technology inventions, and finally, an awards ceremony.

This cultural hotspot taking place at the Business Design Centre Islington, London N1 will provide a platform to keep abreast of new innovations and trends and a fantastic opportunity to network amongst industry experts, exchange ideas, and gather inspiration.

The Sleep Conference will be the educational programme of the event and boasts leading international figures taking part in keynote presentations, panel debates and round tables discussions. You can see the full programme and how to register here.

A-Gent of Style is delighted to announce that Sleep have asked him to interview two key speakers amongst the programme:

Catherine Ince, Curator of the Pop Art exhibition at the Barbican and one of the three judges on the panel of the Sleep Hotel

And Inge Moore, Principal & Creative Director at Hirsch Bedner Associates and winner of the 2013 Gold Key Designer of the Year at the The International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS)

Both interviews will appear next week on A-Gent of Style in a special feature.

Having reviewed and ‘dissected’ the new London EDITION hotel last month, A-Gent of Style is particularly thrilled to attend a conversation with hotel design guru and this year’s Conference headliner, Ian Schrager.

A-Gent of Style, like many in the industry, was saddened to hear the passing last week of Alex Calderwood, co-founder and owner of the ACE Hotels, and was looking forward to attending his talk. Another design luminary sadly lost this year.

Ace Hotel, Shoreditch, London

Ace Hotel, Shoreditch, London

As in previous years, a dreamt-up Sleep Hotel will be returning and the brief this time is inspired by the widespread interest in, and nostalgia for, the 1960s.

In association with the Barbican’s Pop Art Design exhibition, five designers have been tasked to invoke the spirit of the era within their life-size hotel junior suites rooms and bathrooms in a fictitious hotel originally built during the heyday of Pop Art whilst incorporating products from the 150 hotel industry’s finest product suppliers. The winning room, judged by three key figures including Catherine Ince, will be announced at 7pm tomorrow night from the Sleep Hotel Bar, designed by Nous Design, during the late night networking drinks event (6pm – 8pm), providing a perfect opportunity to engage with industry peers alongside a live DJ set by Michaelango L’Acqua, CEO and Chief Creative Officer, Soniq and complimentary refreshments.

Sleep 2013 is also the official partner of the The European Hotel Design Awards. The EHDA celebrate exceptional hotel design and architecture, honouring the work of industry leading architects and designers, and the projects they create with hotel developers, owners and operators.


A-Gent of Style is thrilled to be invited to the glittering awards ceremony this evening at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel. An expert panel of judges will be choosing the winners from shortlisted entries (the Wellesley hotel designed by Fox Linton Associates, and ‘dissected’ by A-Gent of Style in part 1 & part 2, is nominated in an impressive three categories and Hirsch Bedner Associates, whose European Principal Inge Moore will be interviewing, is up for four awards) and the results will be announced this evening.

As luck would have it, the theme and dress code this year for the gala are the 1920s, the perfect excuse for Art Deco-fanatic A-Gent of Style to Chanel his inner Great Gatsby and don his burgundy velvet smoking jacket.

Stay tuned tomorrow morning as A-Gent of Style will be revealing the winners for each category. If you follow A-Gent on Twitter tonight, you will be able to find out the outcomes live.

And in each category (drum roll)…

Architecture of the Year

Conversion and/or Extension of an Existing Hotel Building

 Conversion of an Existing Non-Hotel Building to Hotel Use

 Newbuild Hotel

Interior Design of the Year

Lobby, Lounge & Public Areas

 Cafe or All Day Dining



 Bedrooms & Bathrooms


 Spa, Health & Leisure Facilities



“They are not furniture, they are not sculpture – call them ‘Lalannes.”

– Claude Lalanne –

“The supreme art is the art of living.”

– François-Xavier Lalanne –

Rhinos, hippos, alligators, apes, monkeys, bulls, bears, hares, chickens, sheep…

 Fret not. A-Gent of Style doesn’t house a ménagerie at home.

A collection of wild and domestic animals is currently on show at Sotheby’s
in New York but instead of being alive, running free or even stuffed, they are in fact part of Les Lalanne: The Poetry of Sculpture, a selling exhibition organised by the auction house featuring whimsical works by Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, hosted in the New York S|2 private sales gallery from 31 October
through 22 November 2013.

The French artist couple’s most iconic and sought-after works chosen and curated by Paul Kasmin, a long-time gallerist of the duo, and Michael Shvo, an avid collector of the works, are exhibited in a space transformed into a “midnight garden and thereby evoke the surrealist sculptors’ magical world in which their life and art were intertwined since the 1960’s.”

If you believe in François-Xavier’s credo “The supreme art is the art of living”, then the pieces below currently up for grab at Sotheby’s might be for you; some of them, including their signature curly sheep, date back to the 1990s whilst others were created in the last decade and a few were made by Claude Lalanne in the last few years. You can view the full listing here. Desperate to be in New York now doesn’t even start to describe how A-Gent of Style feels at the moment.

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The 89-year-old Claude Lalanne, whose age hasn’t slowed (she goes to her Ury studio every day starting at 8 a.m), attended last month the opening reception at Sotheby’s with Michael Shvo (François-Xavier Lalanne died in 2008).

Michael Shvo and Claude Lalanne

Michael Shvo and Claude Lalanne

Throughout the decades, Lalanne’s surrealist and mischievous objets have always been prized and appreciated by collectors but in recent years, they have been appearing in many gallery and museum shows and major design auctions.
The latest and largest gathering of Lalannes was the retrospective
at Le Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 2010 in Paris.

A Rhino screen designed by Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne made an appearance at PAD a few weeks ago at the Galerie Jean-David Botella.

This sale will be no exception and prices are most likely to go through the roof.
The estimates ranging from $20,000 to $1.5 million will probably top the sky-high prices Lalannes generally command. In 2008, the year of François-Xavier’s death, one of his sheep stools sold for more than double the estimate, at $158,50.
On December 2012 in New York, a pair of Lalanne sheep stool sculptures sell for $542,500. And in December 2011, a group of ten sheep, “Mouton de Pierre” designed circa 1979, sold for $7.5 million at Christie’s New York.

Crocodile Banquette, a gilt-bronze and copper crocodile bench designed
by Claude Lalanne in 2008, was sold by Christie’s for $482,500 in December 2009.

Kasmin-Shvo also curated another show in New York featuring Lalanne works called ‘The Sheep Station’ on display at a former Getty station turned grass station in Chelsea, Manhattan, where twenty-five life -size sculptures of the iconic epoxy stone and bronze “Moutons” of Francois-Xavier Lalanne grazed.
Claude Lalanne also attended the opening party which took place on the grass. The show, which ended last week, is the first of a series of installations on the site that has been dubbed Getty Station. It must have been quite a scene to turn the corner of a block and suddenly see this faux pastoral landscape.

Claude and François-Xavier met in 1952 and started their working collaboration in 1956. They both shared a passion for animals and nature; their first exhibition in 1964 was called “Zoophites”. Until François-Xavier’s death, the inseparable couple always worked and exhibited together. They have often been regarded as a single entity hence their moniker ‘Les Lalanne’ (family names don’t take the plural form in French) but seldom collaborated on a piece of work.

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Generally speaking, Claude’s works tend to be inspired by botanicals and are therefore delicate and intricate sometimes baroque; they are on the cusp of fine art and decorative art and can be used as jewellery, furniture and silverware. She uses traditional casting techniques with contemporary electroplating methods.

Her equally inventive late husband François-Xavier, on the other hand, was inspired by wild, hefty animals like the hippopotamus or the rhinoceros and was influenced by ancient Egyptian sculptures. He crafted more weighty, stylized forms using big metal sheets to emphasize his animals’ scale.

The duo always remained true and faithful to their aesthetic tenets and never embraced the various popular movements du moment such as Pop Art and abstraction. Les Lalanne’s world is a realm where Surrealism, Nouveau Réalisme and anthropomorphism merge, where each and every living organism and creation is playful, whimsical and unique and combines the decorative and fine arts. Functionality is also key: their objects can be touched, used, sat or eaten on or even sometimes slept in.

From the 1960s onwards, Les Lalanne captivated a whole generation and soon had a cult following among notable private collectors around the world who either bought their works or even commissioned them bespoke projects. Fashion luminaries such as Coco Chanel, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé,
Karl Lagerfeld, Valentino and more recently Marc Jacobs, John Galliano, Tom Ford and François Pinault are some of the Lalanne’s biggest collecting fans.

Coco Chanel in her Paris apartment, rue Cambon

Coco Chanel in her Paris apartment, rue Cambon


    Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge

Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge


Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge

Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge





Marc Jabos Paris apartment

Marc Jabobs Paris apartment


Tom Ford Madison Avenue flagship lalanne

Tom Ford Madison Avenue flagship, New York


By Peter Marino

By Peter Marino

In 1969, the Lalannes collaborated with Yves Saint Laurent for one of his collections: they designed moulded bronze breastplates and bustiers that served as the bodice of a gown for the model Veruschka, three decades before Jean-Paul Gaultier’s conical bras for HR Madgeness.

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In 1976, Serge Gainsbourg notoriously named one of his most successful albums  L’Homme à Tête de Chou (literally The Man with the Cabbage Head) after acquiring a sculpture by Claude Lalanne which Gainsbourg featured on the album cover.

Today, it is not uncommon to come across in design publications
Lalanne flora-and-fauna pieces of art in the elegant and eclectic homes of serious collectors. A-Gent of Style always finds it entertaining to be able to spot a Lalanne – or a Polar Bear as a matter of fact.

Reed-Krakoff apartment, New York, designed by Pamplemousse Design

Reed-Krakoff’s apartment, New York, designed by Delphine Krakoff of Pamplemousse Design. Spot the Lalanne, spot the Polar Bear


By Jean-Louis Deniot

By Jean-Louis Deniot


By Peter Marino, FAIA

By Peter Marino


By Brian McCarthy

By Brian McCarthy


Carla Fendi’s Roman apartment


The latest monograph on Les Lalanne was published in 2007 and authored by two long-standing Lalanne devotees, the architect Peter Marino and Reed Krakoff, President and Executive Creative Director of Coach and husband of the talented Delphine Krakoff of Pamplemousse Design.

By Rose Anne de Pampelonne

By Rose Anne de Pampelonne


Claude Lalanne, Peter Marino and Michael Shvo

Claude Lalanne, Peter Marino and Michael Shvo

Chic sheep are not cheap!

Some of the Lalanne sheep were also featured last month in A-Gent of Style‘s retrospective for The Campaign for Wool.

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