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Our new blogger, Allison, is still scouring Buenas Aires for the best designs of the city. Today she is interviewing one of the city's great interior designers! Take it away Allison...
One of the hottest boutique hotels in Buenos Aires, the Miravida Soho, is a beautiful gem of vintage sophistication and elegance. It doubles as a hotel and upscale wine bar. I caught up with the designer, and friend, Paula Lemme Weihl, who now splits her time between Miami and Buenos Aires, designing and managing her new project - Obbolt. We chatted about the process of designing the hotel as well as her designer tips and inspirations.
LAMPS PLUS: Who is your design icon?
PAULA LEMME WEIHL: I greatly admire Zaha Hadid's work, but there are so many great designers that contribute to the way we live, work, and play everyday.
LAMPS PLUS: What is your design style?
PAULA LEMME WEIHL: It's hard to define one's own design style. There are a few aspects that repeat within my work. Contrast and dynamic are usually my two favorite words.
LAMPS PLUS: Whats your favorite accessory?
PAULA LEMME WEIHL: Casters. I like a space that can change depending on the mood or the occasion.
LAMPS PLUS: What inspired you to start your own design business?
PAULA LEMME WEIHL: Opportunity. I was lucky that people found my style interesting and I jumped at the chance to grow my business.
LAMPS PLUS: How important is lighting to your design?
PAULA LEMME WEIHL: I feel that without lighting, all your hard work is inconclusive. Lighting is the heart of the art within interiors. It brings everything to life.
LAMPS PLUS: What design trends do see lighting taking in the coming years?
PAULA LEMME WEIHL: Lighting has advanced a lot these past few years. I think we'll be seeing more objects and finishes with light. Light will become more of a finish or material within itself.
LAMPS PLUS: What is the best design advice you ever received?
PAULA LEMME WEIHL: Scale and Rotate. We are used to seeing things a certain way. By just scaling and rotating you will be amazed of what can come of it.
LAMPS PLUS: Where would you try to be thrifty and where would you splurge?
PAULA LEMME WEIHL: Splurge on function. You never want to compromise comfort or function for your clients. You can have fun and thrift for accessories or accent furniture.
LAMPS PLUS: When you started working on Miravida Soho where did you draw your inspiration from?
PAULA LEMME WEIHL: From what it originally was, an old french home in the bohemian neighborhood of Palermo in Buenos Aires. I love to resurrect the spirit of places.
LAMPS PLUS: Were you consciously thinking about the city and culture of Buenos Aires in your design?
PAULA LEMME WEIHL: Yes, throughout the entire process. It's not the same designing a space in Buenos Aires versus Miami. Nor is it the same to design a space in Puerto Madero than Palermo Soho. Each city, state, country has its own cultural influence that should be infused in the design within the location.
LAMPS PLUS: How did you address the fact that the hotel is also a distinguished wine bar?
PAULA LEMME WEIHL: I used masculine colors and textures while flirting with feminine shapes and details.
LAMPS PLUS: What was the biggest challenge with the project?
PAULA LEMME WEIHL: Space. All the spaces are reduced for the functions they needed to fullfil. This, however, gave me the opportunity to make each space original and unique.
LAMPS PLUS: I notice all the rooms have their own "feel." What would you say is the design decision that makes this most possible?
PAULA LEMME WEIHL: There are only 6 rooms. Miravida Soho needed to feel like you were staying at someone's house. Each room needed its own personality and at the same time I wanted it to all feel like they belonged to the same family.
LAMPS PLUS: What was your approach to lighting the rooms? How did it differ from lighting the rest of the space?
PAULA LEMME WEIHL: Miravida Soho is dim to accommodate a wine cellar feel. The rooms have this same effect, but we've added ceiling lighting to add a bit more light and to bring back this home-like feel as well.
LAMPS PLUS: What advice would you have for designers that are faced with a small, boutique project like Miravida Soho?
PAULA LEMME WEIHL: Don't be afraid of small spaces. Small spaces bring out the creative in you.
Images courtesy of: Paula Lemme Weihl
Allison Rosenberg has had the opportunity to call California, Michigan, Australia, and Argentina home at different periods in her life, with many other stops along her journey. She received degrees from the University of Michigan in film production and theory and from FIDM/LA in interior design. She works freelance in interior design in Los Angeles, and has recently taken to the road with her husband to discover and write about design around the world.
She loves to travel, uncover, and explore and has a soft spot for art deco antiques. While not at work, you will often find her in a movie theater, trying out a new recipe or between the pages of a design magazine.