ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Global Design -

Who is she? Bradley’s first foray into de­sign be­gan on the sales floor at Amer­i­can fur­ni­ture store Pot­tery Barn, where she worked her way up to be­come a fur­ni­ture buyer. Thanks to two for­mer col­leagues who were cho­sen to lead the W Ho­tels launch in 1998, she was asked to join the newly formed de­sign team. ‘No­body came from a hospi­tal­ity back­ground, and I froze at the im­por­tance of it all. I had to dig deep or re­turn to some­thing com­fort­able – it was a choice that would de­fine me.’ As di­rec­tor of in­te­ri­ors and brand de­vel­op­ment, she worked on the group’s first 24 ho­tels over the course of six years, af­ter which she set up her own hospi­tal­ity de­sign con­sult­ing busi­ness, Fish­net Hold­ings. A project with a client who was plan­ning a Kimp­ton ho­tel led to her join­ing the bou­tique ho­tel brand in 2009 as vice pres­i­dent of de­sign, where she has since spear­headed its projects across the US. What’s her style? ‘Things dif­fer a lot from ho­tel to ho­tel, but ul­ti­mately, it’s all about cre­at­ing a sense of style and fun for the guests,’ says Bradley. ‘It’s im­por­tant to re­search. I like to move through each city, to un­der­stand as much of the cul­ture as pos­si­ble, then el­e­ments can be in­cor­po­rated into the de­sign. Guests are cu­ri­ous to un­der­stand lo­cal en­vi­ron­ments, and I want our ho­tels to be au­then­ti­cally con­nected and em­braced by the com­mu­nity.’ Be­cause of of­ten strict ar­chi­tec­ture and ma­te­rial pal­ettes, Bradley’s aim is to soften each space in or­der to stop it feel­ing like a mu­seum. ‘The key is to avoid hav­ing ev­ery­thing match­ing,’ she says. ‘Per­fec­tion is bor­ing, so I al­ways find ways to add some­thing off­beat or un­ex­pected. That can be a fan­tas­tic state­ment piece – found fur­ni­ture, a cus­tom-de­signed el­e­ment or a sig­nif­i­cant art­work – or, of course, beau­ti­ful styling.’ Which ho­tels has she de­signed? As well as an im­pres­sive port­fo­lio of ho­tels, bars and restau­rants across the US – in­clud­ing 24 for the W Group, five with Fish­net Hold­ings and more than 75 so far for Kimp­ton – Bradley has re­cently over­seen the de­sign of the Kimp­ton De Witt, the brand’s first Euro­pean ho­tel, which opened in Am­s­ter­dam in May 2017. Mar­ry­ing two mod­ern struc­tures and three orig­i­nal build­ings from the Dutch Golden Age, the ho­tel is de­signed to hon­our its her­itage, while adding a sense of joy. A liv­ing wall graces the en­trance, while bed­rooms fea­ture many mem­o­rable touches, such as hu­mor­ous in­ter­pre­ta­tions of clas­sic Dutch art, beau­ti­ful bed­side lamps fea­tur­ing birds by Atelier Areti and porce­lain par­rot stat­ues by Dutch de­signer Pols Pot­ten. Work by lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional artists is dis­played through­out, and the ho­tel even has its own flower shop. What is she work­ing on now? Bradley is cur­rently over­see­ing the de­sign of the forth­com­ing Kimp­ton Paris, due for com­ple­tion in 2020. ‘It’s hard to imag­ine any­thing more in­ter­est­ing, chal­leng­ing and ex­cit­ing than to open a ho­tel in Paris,’ she says. ‘It’s one of the true cap­i­tals of fash­ion and style, so I hope to do it jus­tice.’ Also in the pipe­line is the Saint Ge­orge Ho­tel in Toronto, open­ing this sum­mer, while fur­ther Kimp­ton venues are sched­uled to launch in Taipei, Bali, Hainan Is­land, Shang­hai, Lon­don, Manch­ester and Ed­in­burgh be­fore 2021. kimp­ton­ho­tels.com

‘The key is to avoid hav­ing ev­ery­thing match­ing. Per­fec­tion is bor­ing, so I al­ways find a way to add some­thing off­beat or un­ex­pected’

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