Noelle Bonnemaison Tournier
Courchevel 1850, the St. Tropez of the snows, is one of France’s most prestigious Alpine resorts. The high-end tourists that come here seek accommodation that offers ever higher levels of luxury and charm, together with a modern interpretation of local architectural traditions. The classic hotel-chalet is no longer sufficient, so the values of the rural past must be revamped according to today’s lifestyles.
These socio-aesthetic considerations led the hoteliers of Courchevel 1850 (or at least the more farsighted ones) to remodel some of the town’s most popular hotels and offer a higher standard of luxury. Such was the case of Hotel St. Roch. In charge of the project to convert it into the smallest and most charming of Courchevel’s luxury hotels was Noelle Bonnemaison Tournier, designer, interior decorator and wife of Eric Tournier, one of the area’s hotel industry tycoons. «The renovation work was extensive and involved all the interiors and outdoor areas,» she explained. The building’s shell underwent a major facelift that involved restoring the natural stone masonry to view and reordering the colours and sequences of the façades and using highlighted profiles to enhance the long balconies and the large panoramic windows in the communal areas.
The transformation inside was even more dramatic. «Let me begin by saying that it was not my intention to indulge in an exercise in style — it’s not in my nature,» the designer commented. «I simply used new materials and ideas with a view to creating something that looked like it had been there forever, a synthesis of the modern and the traditional, in keeping, of course, with the Alpine surroundings.» This kind of approach that embraces controlled experimentation was reflected in the aesthetic treatment of the suites and rooms, each one interpreted differently in accordance with a vision of the hotel as the ideal extension of domestic intimacy. «Each has its own volumes, lights and decor, and yet all are based on two main themes: silver and bronze,» Noelle Tournier explains. Opulent colour themes grace this exuberant interior that is both neo-baroque and sophisticated in its orchestration of shapes, its choice and arrangement of furnishings and its combination of shades and textures.
The same was done for the bathrooms, where the ceramic wall and floor tiles, all of them strictly Italian made, play a major role. «I opted for Crocotiles’ from Settecento Mosaici e Ceramiche d’Arte primarily for the crocodile skin effect texture, which happens to be one of my favourite decorative motifs and which I have often used here,» Noelle Tournier explains. «I was also struck by the rectangular format and found its 3:1 ratio between the longer and shorter sides highly unusual and original, as well as very similar to the ashlar stone of the outer shell. And, last but not least, the colours and patinas: black and grey to enhance the silver theme and brown the bronze theme. The contrast between the glossy crocodile tiles and the matt of the plain tiles are an added bonus.»
Italian ceramic products also took pride of place in the spa’s hammam. «I had no hesitation whatsoever with regard to this area. I immediately fell in love with the Musiva’ mosaic for its slate effect, its original colours and textures and range of different sizes. Now that the work is complete, I see that my instincts weren’t wrong: the hammam is an absolute gem, a black diamond that shines with the myriad reflections of water and optical fibres.»
Settecento Mosaici e Ceramiche d'Arte, Crocotiles
Moka and Tortora
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): A
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): PEI V
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ca. 37 N/mm2