Setting the Stage

Gérard Garouste for the Clift Hotel, San Francisco

In 1999, designer Philippe Starck teamed with hotelier Ian Schrager to re-design the historic Clift hotel in San Francisco. For the interior, Starck commissioned French artist and designer Gérard Garouste to create classically-inspired furnishings, juxtaposed with contemporary forms and surrealists touches. In the lobby, guests could climb on to Starck’s comically oversized armchair, or rest on one of Garouste’s elegant designs, complete with rococo flourishes. The resulting space was high-style, theatrical and a bit tongue-in-cheek. Garouste—who cut his teeth at the Palace theater in Paris as a scenographer and painter—was a perfect fit for the project. With a flair for the dramatic and masterful craftsmanship, he set the stage for many memorable stays at the luxury (and sadly, since redecorated) hotel.

The Clift hotel is a mix of extreme technology, extreme surprise, humor and extreme classicism.

Philippe Starck