Kelly Wearstler furnishes San Francisco Proper hotel with vintage European design

American designer Kelly Wearstler has used clashing patterns, colours and textures to decorate a hotel in San Francisco, alongside notable furniture pieces from various European design movements.

San Francisco Proper by Kelly Wearstler

San Francisco Proper is located in a “flatiron”-shaped structure built in 1926. Based in Los Angeles, Wearstler retained the original character of the lobby and lounge spaces.

San Francisco Proper by Kelly Wearstler

Across all of the spaces, she chose an elaborate layering of geometric shapes alongside more organic, floral forms to create a colourful juxtaposition.

The overall design combines several design styles – from modernism to Victorian florals – into a very eclectic blend.

San Francisco Proper by Kelly Wearstler

“The city is our muse in everything, from the palette and materials to local artists and rich European influences,” said Wearstler. “We looked to bring something new to San Francisco by collaging a reimagining of past, present and future.”

The historic building is constructed of brick, stone and terracotta, and spans seven storeys. Its 131 guest rooms are all are uniquely designed.

San Francisco Proper by Kelly Wearstler

Throughout the ground floor are pillars and moulding, along with marble details. Interiors are kept white, allowing colourful artwork and furniture pieces to pop.

In the lounge, or “salon”, intimate sitting areas are formed from pods of sofas, tables, and chairs to create series of living room vignettes.

San Francisco Proper by Kelly Wearstler

Wearstler designed this sitting area as “a classic salon in the European manner: intelligent, sophisticated, and sensual in its mix of materials, design elements and art”.

Hundreds of pieces of artwork and lighting fixtures decorate the space, adding a sense of abundance under the tall ceilings.

“Deep colours, rich textures and natural materials complement the patina of the original building,” said the designer.

San Francisco Proper by Kelly Wearstler

A restaurant in the hotel is designed with reference to French cubist painter Jacques Villon – brother of artist Marcel Duchamp – and is decorated using various European styles. Shades of blue, black and yellow decorate the space, with geometric forms found in triangular chars and gridded floors.

Throughout the hotel, particularly in the Villon restaurant, marble and black wall sconces are evocative of work from French architect and designer Pierre Chareau.

San Francisco Proper by Kelly Wearstler

Other pieces reference projects from the Wiener Werkstätte – a movement in early-1900s Vienna, founded by a community of designers who produced fixtures, ceramics, clothes, furniture and graphics.

These elements are a reference to Wearstler’s interest in the time period. Her studio’s logo is designed in the same way that Werkstätte combined their initials into graphics.

San Francisco Proper by Kelly Wearstler

Another dining area in the hotel is called Gilda’s, and overflows with bold orange, purple and red tones. The intimate room is tucked away near the lobby, and includes a vintage 150-piece table setting.

A rooftop bar with an outdoor area – Charmaine’s – is decorated with prints and art in soft blues, pinks, and greys.

San Francisco Proper by Kelly Wearstler

“Charmaine’s penthouse lounge and garden recall the spirit of the romantics surrounded by magnificent views of the city, spanning the Bay to the Pacific Ocean,” said the designer, who described the overall style of the interior as “opulent but never stuffy”.

San Francisco Prosper’s eclectic design offers a contrast to several more pared-back hotels that have opened or completed renovations recently. They include in the Ace Hotel in Chicago by Commune with mid-century furniture, a Copenhagen hotel by Arne Jacobsen with original features and furniture, and a dining room in a London hotel with black chairs by Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret.

Photography is by Manolo Yllera with Proper Hospitality. Top image is by Noah Webb.

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