DECORATOR INDEX: TARA BERNERD

The British interior designer has made her mark around the world creating hotel-style luxe with handsome appeal

Black and white portrait of Tara Bernerd
Graciela Cattarossi

Who is she? Bernerd’s first passion was films and she studied at film school before working as a trader in commercial property and then moving into interior design. She joined Philippe Starck’s YOO studio in the 1990s and became a partner before leaving in order to set up her own practice, Tara Bernerd & Partners, in 2002, for which her first project was a loft in London’s Battersea. The interior designer has since gone on to forge a global reputation for her high-end commercial and residential work.

What’s her style? Bernerd describes it as ‘handsome elegance with a warm but industrial edge’. Her designs feature walnut, marble and burnished brass combined with a comforting palette. She credits architecture, in particular Pierre Chareau’s Maison de Verre in Paris and the work of American architect Frank LloydWright, as her main source of inspiration.

Ornate hotel lobby with pillars, tiled floor and giant chandelier
The Kimpton Fitzroy lobby
Tara Bernerd

Tell us about her recent projects... They include a major refit of the Kimpton Fitzroy, formerly The Principal London, where her intention was to merge its traditional19th-century English aesthetic with something more contemporary. Its Palm Court looks suitably refreshed. There is also a private chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland and a penthouse at the Highcliff building in Hong Kong.

Penthouse bedroom at The Highcliff building in Hong Kong
Penthouse bedroom at The Highcliff building in Hong Kong
Tara Bernerd

What is she currently working on? Bernerd has a number of international hotel projects on the go, including the Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane and Four Seasons Hotel at FortLauderdale in Miami, The Hari hotel in HongKong and Thompson in Hollywood. Residential work includes a luxury villa in Ibiza and several apartments located in Hong Kong ’s prestigious Jardine’s Lookout neighbourhood, including the breathtaking penthouse flat in Highcliff, with a rooftop pool and deck.

The Palm Court at the Kimpton Fitzroy
The Palm Court at the Kimpton Fitzroy
Tara Bernerd

She says: ‘I’ve always been drawn to the visuals of films and, for me, the role of an interior designer is much like that of a film director – you work to pull together many creative talents and inspirations, creating a cohesive and exciting whole. I’m currently working on the EquinoxHotel in LA. It’s a dream project, working with legendary architect Frank Gehry. I can’t wait until it opens and I can see the vision come to life. It’s a fantastic life at the moment, travelling all around the world, designing hotels.’

This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration March 2019

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