For Italian architect and interior designer Michele Bönan, designing a hotel, a restaurant or a house is more than this. Bönan explains – “I am the director of a movie”. “The property, the location, the client: they all become parts of a film—all equally important”, whether it is at the new Hotel Marquis, in Paris, or the Cipriani restaurant in Miami. A lifelong Florentine who designs everything from yachts to furniture to residences for fashionable clients, Bönan says “I knew all along that I wanted to be a designer and architect, I never had any doubt.”
Bönan’s career in hospitality architecture began in 1995, when he created Florence’s Hotel Lungarno, the first of 10 Italian projects that he has done for the Ferragamo family’s Lungarno Collection of hotels, suites and yachts.
To date, Bönan has designed more than a dozen hotels throughout Europe and the U.S., every one of them is unique. Often the standard lobby presents intimate communal spaces that feel like living rooms, complete with impressing fireplaces, interesting books and sofas with pillows. “I like to say that everyone should live at home like they’re in a hotel, and in a hotel like they’re at home,” Bönan explains.
See also FINCHATTON INTERIOR DESIGN
Michele Bönan is rightly revered for the residential touches he has given to such top hotels as J.K. Place Capri and Florence’s Hotel Lungarno, yet his best work might be the private residences that he discreetly designs for his list of high-profile clients.
Classic-contemporary interior at Florence’s Palazzo Tornabuoni, a member’s only residence club.
Asking Michele Bönan about his favorite restaurant, his answer is quick like a shot and deadly as a bullet “Cipriani, of course! I’m designing all of them“.
The restaurant Cipriani Monte Carlo.
That may have been a lucky break, but years of study and hard work rather than simple good fortune have been the drivers of Bönan’s success. The accomplished Florentine architect, whose goal from the age of 5 was to hold that vocation, has spent most of his professional life refining his distinctive style and building his knowledge of historical architecture, which he says always informs his choice of decor—even when the aesthetic incorporates contemporary elements and modern luxuries.