A Tour Of The Paul Smith Suite At Brown’s Hotel

Designed by Paul with Olga Polizzi, this new suite at one of London’s oldest and most renowned hotels celebrates the designer’s trademark use of colour and stripes as well as his unique sense of wit.

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It’s hard to imagine a hotel as storied as Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair. Founded in 1837 – at the very dawn of the Victorian age – back then, it was situated on a sleepy street in a relatively quiet part of London. Nowadays it’s a haven from the bustle of the city, and surrounded by some of Mayfair’s most luxurious shops, restaurants and cafes.

Over the years it’s played temporary host to a string of Britain’s most famous talents, notably its literary giants. Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, JM Barrie, Bram Stoker and Agatha Christie are just a few of history’s incredible names who walked its halls and stayed under its roof. In fact, Rudyard Kipling – who has his own suite named after him – spent his final days at Brown’s.

A Tour Of The Paul Smith Suite At Brown’s Hotel


Good company, then, for Paul, who was honoured to be asked by Rocco Forte Hotels – the group that now owns the hotel – to design a special Sir Paul Smith suite. “Brown’s hotel is truly unique, not least because every room is completely different,” Paul says. “It’s a British institution and it’s one of those places that’s very modern, while still respecting tradition – that’s very similar to how I like to approach my own designs.”

The relationship between the hotel and Paul Smith also goes back years. It’s mere metres away from our Albemarle Street shop, for starters. And Olga Polizzi, who is responsible for the design of every Rocco Forte hotel and its rooms, would regularly pop in to take a look at the latest vintage furniture or art finds on display. 

Working closely with Olga, Paul curated and designed everything in the suite himself, incorporating his tried-and-true design hallmarks – such as his timeless Signature Stripe and expressive, considered use of colour – along the way. Paul’s longstanding passion for art is also reflected in the gallery wall – a feature of all Paul Smith shops – which displays hand-picked works, including prints by his friend the photographer Julian Broad (who also happened to take the snaps of Paul you see here) alongside an eclectic mix of pieces.

“It was also very important to me to incorporate items that are personal to me,” Paul explains. That includes a hand-picked selection of art and design books as well as an impressively large print by Christopher Simon Sykes of the library at Chatsworth House that also hangs in his office. Ditto, the Mario Bellini leather desk chair, which is the exact same one he uses at Paul Smith’s Covent Garden HQ.

Nods to the Albemarle Street shop and its impressive iron façade are on rugs and the bedroom’s headboard, meanwhile sofas from our recent collaboration with luxury Italian furniture firm DePadova sit in the living room, as do the Type 75 lamps from Paul’s partnership with British company Anglepoise. Those with a keen eye will also spot pieces – including blankets, cushions and towels – from the debut Paul Smith homeware collection are peppered throughout the space.

Even the smallest of details have been injected with Paul’s trademark wit and sense of humour. Take the fire “dogs” in the fireplace, which have been custom made to resemble Homer, Paul’s first canine shopkeeper, for example. Or the banana shaped bronze front door handles. “I’ve always thought of doors and door handles as a little like a handshake,” Paul explains. “They give you the first impression of the space you’re about to walk into. And I want people to immediately feel a sense of fun and freedom when they enter the suite.”

I’ve always thought of doors and door handles as a little like a handshake.

Paul Smith

The suite, ultimately, is one of a kind and Paul’s aim has been to create a space that sparks creativity as much as it does relaxation. “I’ve long been of the belief that you can find inspiration everywhere,” he adds. “But I think it tends to come a bit easier when you’re in a creative space and surrounded by imaginative objects and artworks.”

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Published: 02.23

Words: Molly Isabella Smith
Photography: Julian Broad & Perry Graham