Salvo honrosas excepções, os hotéis no centro de Paris ou são de cinco estrelas, hotéis de luxo e caríssimos, ou são acanhados, sem história e sem grande graça.
Talvez por isso, quando abre um hotel diferente, o acontecimento não passa despercebido. Os sites onde se anunciam as grandes novidades do género, como a Vogue ou a Harper's Bazaar, dão conta que André Saraiva, meio português e conhecido como Mr. A na sua vertente de autor de graffiti, abriu um novo hotel (já tinha outro) no centro de Paris. E, justamente porque não é um hotel qualquer, está a dar que falar: Hotel Grand Amour.
Transcrevo um excerto da Harper's Bazaar:
A great hotel isn't just a place to rest your head at the end of a long trip - it's an experience that adds flavor to your travels, which can certainly be said of graffiti artist and club mogul André Saraiva's Grand Amour. Centrally located in Paris' 10th Arrondissement, the hotel is an immersive celebration of Parisian art and culture. Behind the historic pre-Haussmannian façade are 42 totally unique rooms inspired by the artist's extensive travels and his favorite places in the world. If the Hotel Chelsea were to meet a Viennese café in modern-day Paris, it might look something like this.
Saraiva has also been busy conquering New York. His new bistro, Café Henrie, opened in September of 2015 just down the block from his apartment and studio on Forsyth Street, and next, he his sights on another property nearby, which he hopes to turn into a deli. Is he planning to take over the neighborhood? In an exclusive interview, Saraiva told BAZAAR about the suite life, how to throw a party, and his latest ventures in art and hospitality.
Harper's BAZAAR: Who would be your ideal guest to host at the hotel?
André Saraiva: I would have loved to have Man Ray, if he was around. Of course Picasso would be welcome too. Andy Warhol, Marcel Duchamp. I have a chess game so he could come and play chess. Of course there are some iconic actresses. Everyone would be welcome!
HB: What are your favorite pieces of furniture in the Grand Amour?
AS: We've been collecting for 10 years. There's a lot of furniture from the early Viennese designers. We have some chairs by Josef Hoffman, and a few things from the French architect Pierre Chareau. He is the one that did Glass House. It's really rare to have originals and not reproductions. We also have stuff that's not signed and just things that I like. It's not about putting out a showroom of names.
HB: What kind of knick-knacks might a guest find in his or her hotel room?
AS: Glen O'Brian did a room where he made me buy two Hermès typewriters—one with a French keyboard and one with an American keyboard with a little desk. So it's a writers' room. I put some of my easels in the rooms so painters can come and paint their little view of Paris.
HB: Maybe they'll leave their painting there.
AS: Yes, I hope so.
HB: And the art on the walls?
AS: Some of it is my art because I didn't know where to put it. We have a lot of photography, and there is a lot of painting and artwork from some of my friends.
HB: Tell me about your upcoming projects. I hear you're working on a mural near the Botto Machado garden in Lisbon.
AS: That's my Sistine Chapel. I am originally Portuguese, even if I never lived there. I wanted to give to the city a mural, and I thought about the Portuguese tile tradition called Azulejo. I combined the ephemera of graffiti art with this technique, which stays for hundreds of years. It's more than 400,000 tiles, so I am working on the biggest puzzle you can imagine. But it's going well! We are almost finished.