I’m speaking at the OFFF Festival this weekend and staying at a hotel in Paris (20th Arr.) near Père-Lachaise called Mama Shelter, designed by Philippe Starck. Writing on the walls is not allowed, because all the ceilings, rugs, mirrors, elevators, and walls are already written on. It’s not exactly graffiti, but it’s close: The rugs in the hallway, the doors outside (above), and the rooms are emblazoned with handwriting and stencil lettering (some with political slogans). The blackboard ceiling in the mondo eclectic hipster restaurant is covered with chalk doodles (bottom). And the bathroom in the same restaurant has a TV on the ceiling, playing Jeanne Moreau films.
Philippe is Starck raving mad. But Mama’s creators, the Trigano family (co-founders of Club Med) and French philosopher, Cyril Aouizerate, have to be just as crazy to make such an “eclectic and electric ambiance,” filled with big screen iMacs in every room, an elevator floor to ceiling with typographic facts and figures, and masks of Batman, Superman, King Kong, Yoda and more, covering the light bulbs.
About this hotel experience the Mama boys say: “A desire. Paris, a place of refuge. Everyone is welcome. Mama Shelter: the key to a city. Mama, your mama, our mama, everyone’s mama. This is your shelter, our shelter. A shelter for everyone.” Just one thing: Bring your own soap (they only provide a small bottle of Kiehl’s bath rinse) and Kleenex (even at Mama Shelter there is no such thing as free Kleenex – or free dejeuner, either).