Design Secrets from the World’s Interior Design Visionary
A humble visionary, Alessandro Munge breathes life into a multitude of projects with the fresh enthusiasm of a child in a sandbox. Led by unbridled inspiration and a team of 50 carefully-selected talents, the studio's signature ability lies in transforming unexplored ideas into reality, with a dedication to creating emotion.
By Alexandra Moulin
Alessandro Munge is a master of empathy: he’s capable of blending his design aesthetic with his clients’ identity and culture to create the unexpected interior design they’ve been looking for. Awarded “Best Designer of the Year” in January 2018, Munge brings spaces to life and adds soul to each of his projects as a perfect finishing touch.
It’s difficult to capture the essence of the soul in a photograph, no matter how talented the photographer. The soul speaks to the emotions of the viewer, whether in a private home or in public spaces like restaurants, hotels, or spas. As Munge notes, “Emotions are not a skill one can learn.” His mission (and passion) is to generate emotion through his works. And what a variety of works there are: reinvented spaces, stylish restaurants, clubs, hotels, and lounges. Here’s an exclusive journey into the world of Studio Munge through the eyes of the designer himself.
Design Beyond Trends
Uniqueness and timelessness – these two words will resonate within whoever visits the Studio’s creations, from Las Vegas to Miami and Toronto to Hong Kong. Ideas are never duplicated from one project to the next, and the studio stays away from hot, short-lived trends. Alessandro acknowledges that it’s a question of respect – respect for the client investing his energy, hopes, and money into the project, and respect for the city and its cultural heritage. On a project like the Rosewood Hotel Georgia in Vancouver, a major rework that took five years of creative thinking before construction began, the idea was to pay tribute to the city and the hotel’s history. “We unearthed archives of the building and came up with creative ideas. For instance, we rejuvenated the lobby’s woodwork, yet remained faithful to the edifice’s identity.”
Uniqueness is always the goal in such projects, but also within each space in a single project. When walking through the William Vale, Brooklyn’s latest luxurious boutique hotel designed by Studio Munge, the distinct décors and atmospheres make it feel like you’re journeying into different territories. Authentic materials such as stone and wood are creatively worked into its structure. The use of height and lights, the inclusion of massive coloured art pieces in public spaces, and the contrast against the peaceful guest rooms invite guests to enjoy a relaxing stay. First consulted for only a portion of the William Vale, the Toronto-based studio was soon entrusted with the entire project; their creative, detail-oriented, and careful approach was successful in creating something truly beautiful and unique. Studio Munge was awarded the most honourable design prizes and press acknowledgements for the William Vale.
In Toronto, Studio Munge has delivered an impressive collection of differentiated works, from the festive and delightful daytime Cabana Pool Bar, the intriguing Bisha Hotel, the effortless French-style Chic Cluny Bistro in the Distillery District, the enchanting Artists’ Alley Gallery, and the luxurious Japanese Nobu.
The secret behind their success? Immense care and passion. As an haute-couture fashion designer, Alessandro lays his formidable and somewhat intimidating look on the details of his creation. He takes pride in getting inspiration from his extensive travels. Munge also likes to stay tuned into famous artists’ works and actively listens to his talented team’s ideas. Alessandro cares about the feedback of his clients, whether private – “A client texted me as he was enjoying this perfect moment in the living room we had designed together, feet on the coffee table and a cigar. That turns me on.” – or from public places, where he likes to spend time studying the interactions between his creation and its users – “Watching them and how they feel in my space is my permanent learning curve.”
Design Beyond Boundaries
Alessandro livens as he mentions the latest projects he’s been studying, amazed by the amount of trust his studio has gained from the public. “Some people meet with us to vet their choice of location,” while others “break the mold and come to us with questions that clearly pass our regular business scope; I even questioned a prospective client who had asked to meet with us if he knew where he was, feeling all at once blessed, ecstatic, and yet shy and curious to be consulted on such a new kind of project!” Studio Munge will continue to manufacture furniture with the help of luxurious partners and co-brand projects with famous brands. In 2018, you can expect to see Studio Munge rise in new fields, as the sky is the limit for the warm, friendly, and passionate designer. Utterly Italian, proudly Canadian, and unfailingly happy.