BRING ON THE ‘FUNK’ WITH MELANIE HALL

05.12.18

When it comes to design, there is no substitute for experience. Melanie Hall, who has built and project managed a number of large scale hotels and resorts across the globe, shares her insights. By Stephen Penn

What first drew you to the world of property design?

I always had a shared interest in design with my architect father, Alan Chambers, but my love of cool spaces really became embedded while I was working with Calvin Klein as Head of Creative for South East Asia, back in 1996. This led me to Indonesia, where Stewart now my husband - was working, and where I set up my first Design Company.

Which location has inspired you most?

There’s no ‘one location’. Experiencing life in so many countries - I’ve lived in nine to date - has given me so much inspiration and enabled me to form my own signature style over the years. But I have to say, Bali, being a melting pot for creativity, was the ultimate destination, some years ago, for me to create some of my best work.

Are you influenced by a specific time period?

I respect the works of ‘futuristic’ architects like Oscar Niemeyer and John Lautner, as well as drawing inspiration from the aesthetic of the Jetsons, for example, which reflected the perception of the future during the 1950s and early 1960s. I also have huge respect for the Bauhaus modernist masters. Modernism is inherently timeless and will stand the test of time for many decades to come. Incidentally, I refer to my style as ‘FUNk’d-up modernism’.

Which of your projects are you most proud of?

My ‘Luna2 studiotel’ in Bali. I designed and built this from scratch: with four floors - and an underground floor – loaded with modernist elements and a nod to the future, with a huge dose of playfulness. It was once described by Conde Nast Traveller as, ‘What a ‘hotel of the future’ may have looked like in the 1960s’.

What’s the most challenging part of creating a unique space?

I do like to work with a ‘decent’ budget as I have somewhat expensive tastes for the finer things in life. Each space should have that certain ‘wow factor’, paying particular attention to lighting, as well as a firm point of view with regards to function and form; all are key to creating the right ambiance.

What are your top interior design tips?

Make each space ‘gel’, with furniture pieces, artwork, rugs and accessories that work as one ‘family’. Give each room an isolated colour scheme, and then combine a plethora of different textures to add depth and interest. Take a close look at the detail of any room, and if you can’t fathom why a specific cushion sits on ‘that’ sofa, below ‘that’ piece of artwork, if they don’t bare any relation to each other, then it’s frankly not right.

What does the future hold?

My dream is to design a highly instagrammable, new bar and restaurant, to appeal to an age-agnostic group of individuals who share a passion for modern design and excellence of service. In the meantime, I will continue to work with clients who are keen to ‘buy into’ my signature design ethos of ‘FUNk’d-up modernism’

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