Susan Kime from JustLuxe.com writes:
Warren Sheets is an awards-winning architectural and interior designer whose creative processes move in multiple areas. One of his most significant projects to date combines many of the exterior architectural features and all of the interior designs of The Grand Del Mar Resortin Del Mar, California. As a corollary to this project, he also designed its award-winning restaurant, Addison, and the Villas — wholly owned and fractional residences — at The Grand Del Mar.
His company, Warren Sheets Design is well known both nationally and internationally, as he has designed many other hotels, private estates, country clubs, an antique car salon and museum in Florida, urban townhomes, and recently a 57-million-dollar mansion on 13 acres above The Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach, California.
With a luxury pedigree like this, one would assume his design vision and identity might be of extreme over-the-top conspicuous opulence and largesse. But rather, his vision combines threads of authenticity and legacy, creating a tapestry of deeply considered ideas that have translated well into the overall life design goals of his clients.
I recently spoke with Mr. Sheets about his very different vision and mission in the world of contemporary design.
JustLuxe: What are the components of your design vision, especially your feeling about permanence?
Warren Sheets:Well, I think we live in a culture of consumption, of instant gratification, eating, living and doing in the fast lane, of quantity over quality, of multi-tasking, doing many things all quickly, doing few things well. We don’t take time anymore, and usually, time takes us. So, there are many who believe that slowness in this peculiar cultural moment is revolutionary.
The slow food movement is one of its dimensions, defining a revolutionary culinary stance. But it can also be said that the idea of design permanence, of heirloom, and of authenticity, may also be the result of slowness. Taking time, and caring to find the right design element, the perfect fit, color, that will enhance permanence and legacy while diminishing the transitory.
JL: How did these ideas coalesce when you were asked to do the design work for The Grand Del Mar?
WS: I was given a magnificent blank slate to work from. When I came onto the project, I was allowed an amazing amount of design freedom, and I knew from the outset, a resort of this magnitude is singular, unusual, and a visionary project that had the ability to create a profound experience of elegant European authenticity for the guest, through the permanence of its design components.
JL: Let me know which design components at The Grand Del Mar you see defining your design vision, and are most compelling and complex, authentic, permanent and beautiful!
WS: Well, there are three details I love most, and all of them have stories.
First are our Interior Doors.
It was important to me and my partner, Sharon Regan, as both designers and artists, to be able to give back much of what we absorbed through our nearly 30-year education in European Art history. So, inasmuch as The Grand Del Mar is open to the public, I wanted to make certain that the guest experience — whomever walked through the Entry, Galleries and Public Spaces of The Grand Del Mar, would receive a sensory feel of being in a fine European hotel, and a fine European design gallery, also. With both these ideas, I wanted to carry out my commitment to both authenticity and permanence, by showcasing the decorative arts of Europe. This became one of my most important objectives I gave to this project.
To that end, I purposefully instilled many distinct decorative elements throughout the project, that are genuine reflections of Western cultural history. Two of these elements are seen in the design of the interior doors I designed that are specific to this project, the first being three different wood finishes: Aged Walnut, Antique Rosewood and Butternut.
The second interior door element was to use the Rosette in each of the ten antique rosewood door panels — the Rosette is a historic European motif borne out of French architecture. Spending a great deal of time in Italy and France, I have been intrigued by the Rosette and its integration into classical architecture. I remember seeing the Rosette design used in the magnificent domed ceilings of the Pazzi Chapel inside the monastery courtyard of Santa Croce, in Florence, Italy.
Because of its recurrence in and around European gardens, architectural structures, interior detailing, furniture, fabrics, clothing, emblems, graphics, food decoration, and so much more, it was unquestionably important that that the Rosette form, be firmly entrenched into the design of this resort. And, 5,648 rosettes, 1,230 gallons of painting materials later and more than 8,300 man hours later, we had our doors.
Continued – Part II Next Week….