FEDERICO TORESI, Director of Hospitality of 1508 London
1508 London was established in 2010 and has two partners – Hamish Brown and Louise Wicksteed – with over 40 staff specialising in high-end and boutique interior spaces in the residential, hospitality and commercial sector. Can Faik speaks to the Director of Hospitality, Federico Toresi…
Tell me about your role at 1508 London?
As a leading creative agency offering unique levels of service and design, 1508 was always poised to take on the world of luxury hospitality. Using my years of experience in the industry and knowledge of hospitality brands I have been tasked to establish and lead the hospitality department and focus on the expansion of 1508 London’s reach into the sector.
I deal closely with clients from the outset and oversee all hospitality projects to ensure adhesion to brand standards and delivery, as well as providing strategic advice to developers and brands.
On a day-to-day I’m also involved with the management of projects and their teams, which during these initial months has included the cross-training of existing staff members alongside experienced key hires in hospitality design to share my philosophy on the delivery of hotel, wellbeing and food & beverage projects, without ever compromising 1508 London’s core principles of impeccable design.
What projects are you currently working on?
We are working on a couple of cool restaurants and bars in Switzerland and Belgium, where we have helped redefine the brand as well as the menu offering and designed a great space to enjoy it in.
We also have a large, very exclusive and very secret project in the Middle East, which will bring a very European flavour to a unique luxury hospitality offering with many individually positioned F&B outlets, rooftop spas and pool areas as well as incredibly beautiful rooms.
How important is the journey when it comes to designing a new hotel?
The narrative behind our projects always informs the journey. We spend the first part of any project getting that right and anchoring it in with the environment and the history of the place. The narrative and the journey are linked and work in symbiosis, but the journey is the integral part of the experience; it is the perfect blend of service levels, interior design, quality of offering and individuality, which goes to create an environment that is felt and lived by the guest, offering a sense of belonging and welcome.
Get the journey wrong and even the most beautifully designed venue will not resonate with its guests.What has been the highlight of your career so far?
People that know me say I keep going on about it, but my relationship with the town of Montreux in Switzerland and the people behind The Fairmont Le Montreux Palace is one of love, admiration and friendship. Over the past four years my team and I have been blessed with the task of renovating most of the spaces there, from the bars and cafes to the grand hall, with all the lake view suites and most of the rooms, as well as some special signature spaces and a unique restaurant.
We have built a relationship that will outlast the success of these spaces and I love visiting every year for the Montreux Jazz Festival, where I get to hang out with my wife for a few days in the spaces we lovingly crafted and soak up the electric atmosphere of the festival and its collection of international music stars. It’s good fun to see Lady Gaga drinking at the bar we designed and have Herbie Hancock having breakfast next to us. The town is also idyllic, located on the shores of Lake Geneva, a little paradise nestled between mountains, the lake and the vineyards!
Have you noticed any particular trends in hotel design?
The residential influence is visible in most hospitality schemes these days. It’s part of a ‘trend’ of making spaces that relate more to our lives, where we feel more comfortable and belong. Individuality and uniqueness are also prominent, keeping our curiosity satisfied with references to our background or aspirations. The pleasure of discovering something new never dies, so we try and carve more intimate spaces to help with this journey.