“…our vision was to make this restaurant simple, informal, enjoyable and beautiful - as always translating words into reality is a journey, and this journey has been exciting and fun.”
- David Collins, on the opening of restaurant project Massimo.
It is a well documented headache for the writer - the frequent sense of the insufficiency of words to do justice to sights, sounds, tastes and, even at times, feelings. As a creator at the forefront of luxury interiors, David Collins has no such headaches - words being merely the springboard from which he dives into ever more sumptuous fantasies.
The key to David Collins’ work is the inviolable principle by which he designs. Time and again he has demonstrated his understanding that each creative project is sealed within its own lexicon, the conceptual and practical parameters as dictated by the brief. Time and again he has been sought out as the translator of that unique language, because of the depth and unmistakable vibrancy of the vocabulary with which he works.
Collins has been breaking new ground since the launch of his company in 1985 - seeking as it did to revolutionize the process of design; whereby architecture, interiors (including antique and bespoke furnishings, lighting and audio/visual), Public Relations and even procurement are all fluidly catered for by the same consultancy.
Established and still working extensively in London, David Collins Studio has forged award-winning partnerships with iconic architects such as Norman Foster and Rem Koolhaas, and is responsible for making so desirable some of the most desirable places to be and be seen, eat, rest and live on Earth.
These marquee lifestyle destinations include such world-dominating luxury brands as The London. Both its hotels in New York and West Hollywood are extravagantly styled in the kind of classically opulent materials that summon up that timeless sense of almost unattainable English class, and make innovative use of more exotic materials and daring colors to provide that ever elusive cutting edge.
Thus we see the refined luxury of leather, oak, and porcelain, in signature blues and greens, combined with herringbone wood, marble and sumptuous gold alpaca. One of the myriad highlights is Maze at The London NYC, a stunning outpost of Gordon Ramsay’s culinary empire, which also extends to the Michelin starred showcase dining concept Gordon Ramsay at The London West Hollywood, which features a heady duality of star-dusted Hollywood glamour and Collins’ eponymous phrasing of solid English class. Another stand-out attraction of the unashamedly A-list West Hollywood hotel is The London Pool, which features Collins’ Anglo-Chinese inspired famille-bleu porcelain, and from whose soothing blue white and grey confines guests can survey downtown L.A.
David Collins Studio also lays claim to a string of New York’s most exclusive and coveted residences, a recent addition being The Charles, a thirty five floor complex of forty five show-stopping apartments that boasts amongst other attractions the remarkable Skylight pool sauna and gym. A witty re-imagining of the traditional English sporting club, this white oak-paneled and satin-nickel trimmed luxury exercise and relaxation space is the envy of private residences city-wide.
With Collins, however, the focus always returns to city where he made, and has continued unceasingly to gild, his name. His portfolio of stellar success after stellar success surely comprises great sections of any respectable list of must-go nightspots in contemporary London.
Artesian, a cocktail bar at The Langham Hotel, draws glamorous revelers into a quintessentially English channeling of the mysterious Far East and the classic romance of Victoriana. The Blue Bar at The Berkeley is a Knightsbridge icon, featuring original Lutyens paneling glossed with a positively iconic blue lacquer.
Collins is also the creative force behind The Connaught Bar, which is sublimely inspired by English Cubism and the art of 1920s Ireland and is a pride of Mayfair. It makes its home at The Connaught Hotel - also a soar-away Collins style coup crowned by the splendid Apartment at the Connaught, where Collins artfully reinvented the original sixth-floor eaves of this historic edifice.
Top-tier London dining also bathes in the full glare of Collins’ creative star, with Nobu Berkeley Street and its flowing natural forms nightly playing host to the cream of London and visiting international celebrities.
Located in the heart of the thriving chic of Soho, Bob Bob Ricard can be seen as capturing those crystalline moments that truly encapsulate style. With this incendiary mix of the solemn hedonism of the classic English gentleman’s club, and the irrepressible dash of the globetrotting fin de siècle traveler, Collins’ interiors for this classic postmodern brasserie summon up a sense of timeless glamour whose reverberations are felt across the hospitality industry.
Collins is also responsible for both the high class temple in which chef Giorgio Locatelli serves his Michelin starred Italian soul food, Locanda Locatelli, and the ‘Contemporary Orientalism’ of the gorgeous silk screens preserving diners’ secluded luxury at The Landau - the sumptuous modern European restaurant found at The Langham Hotel.
The extraordinary influence of David Collins Studio can be heard in the decadent echoes of the Old World that he set to the frenetic beat of Piccadilly, the thronging Mecca of Central London, with the celebrity-filled epic reinvention of historic café and restaurant, The Wolseley.
Taking the design vocabularies of England’s bygone pomp as his artist’s palette, David Collins has repainted the capital, creating and recreating its most prestigious bars, restaurants, hotels, and private residences, taking as his canvas not only London and but also the world’s major cityscapes.
- Ben Stewart
David Collins Studio
Address: 74 Farm Lane
London, SW6 1QA
Tel: 0 20 7835 5000