Category Archives: HOTELS

Glenn Gissler Design: The 25th Anniversary, Part I


It’s hard to believe, but 25 years ago to the day–October 17, 1987–I founded my own firm, Glenn Gissler Design. Of course, publicity is important to a young designer, and my first significant break came about 16 months later when Suzanne Slesin, then a reporter at the New York Times,  did a big feature on me for the paper’s Home Section. (Suzy now runs her own terrific publishing company, Pointed Leaf Press.) I knew Michael Steinberg, Suzy’s husband and owner of Furniture of the Twentieth Century, a marvelous and much-lamented Manhattan showroom that was pivotal in popularizing modern design in the 1980s. Michael introduced me to Suzy at one of his openings; she gave me her card and said, “Let me know if you have any projects.” I followed up with her and two weeks later a 1,200-word feature, A Designer Tests His Wings: Maximal Style for Minimalist Tastes, appeared like magic on February 23, 1989.

I only received one new-business call from the story. “I’m calling for Mr. Ian Schrager,” said the person on the phone. “He’s in the hotel business.” Ian had recently completed the Royalton and was working on the Paramount. I met him at the latter property where he showed me the small rooms and asked me what I would do with them. In the event, Ian had me do his beach house on Dune Road in Southampton. He had originally owned the place, which was stucco-and-slate and had 14 bedrooms, with Steve Rubell. After it was done, Ian said, “Kelly Klein is going to call you.” Which she did. I’ll tell you about designing for Calvin and Kelly Klein in my next post.

A Designer Tests His Wings: Maximal Style For Minimalist Tastes, an article from the New York Times by Suzanne Slesin on Glenn GisslerA Designer Tests His Wings: Maximal Style For Minimalist Tastes, an article from the New York Times by Suzanne Slesin on Glenn Gissler


Bruce Bierman’s Summer

Travel:  I’ll be going to Nantucket, Miami, and Palm Beach, all for work. The latter is one of summer’s best kept secrets—it’s cooler than New York, not at all crowded, and there’s no problem getting a table at any restaurant.  Later, we are going to England, principally to tour some of the great country houses and estates. And in September, it’s off to Paris for the 26th Biennale des Antiquares at the Grand Palais. This year designer Karl Lagerfeld has been invited to stage, decorate, and create the visuals for the Biennale. He will design a temporary world within the Grand Palais to serve as a backdrop for the thousands of objets d’art that will be presented at the show.

Pistache, West Palm Beach, Florida
The popular French bistro Pistache in West Palm Beach is a Bruce Bierman favorite where it’s easy to get reservations in summer. 

Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire, England

Bruce plans to tour some of the great English country houses later this summer. This is Dyrham Park, a grand late-17th-century Baroque house set in a beautiful Gloucestershire valley and surrounded by 272 acres of garden and rolling parkland with sweeping views of the countryside.

Karl Lagerfeld's poster for the Paris Biennale des Antiquares at the Grand Palais, September 14 to 23, 2012

Karl Lagerfeld’s poster for the 26th Biennale des Antiquares, which runs from September 14 through 23 in Paris.

Le Grand Palais, Paris

The Biennale takes place in the Grand Palais, where Karl Lagerfeld will design a temporary world as a backdrop for the thousands of objets d’art on display. 

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Morocco Bound: Glenn Gissler at the Design Leadership Summit in Marrakech

In April I attended the seventh Design Leadership Summit—an annual conference of architects, interior designers, and  landscape architects from across the United States and around the world—which this year was held in Marrakech. There were 150 American attendees, including Joan and Jayne Michaels, Brad Ford, Holly Hunt, John Danzer, David Scott, Richard Mishaan, Jeffrey Alan Marks, Shawn Henderson, Susan Ferrier, and Bobby Dekeyser.  It was a lively and interesting crew. The theme for this year’s conference was “Defining and Discovering Value,” and speakers included  WSJ. magazine editor-in-chief Deborah Needleman; fashion designer Ralph Rucci; and Frederick Vreeland, the former American ambassador to Morocco, and son of Diana you-know-who.  We toured the Majorelle Garden,  designed by the expatriate French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 1930s, bought by Pierre Bergé  and Yves Saint Laurent in 1980, and now a memorial to the great French couturier. Other activities included shopping in the Medina; dinner at a fabulous riad, an old courtyard style house that’s now a bed and breakfast; a trip to the Berber region (awesome!); and another dinner in the desert—imagine a caravan of 50 four-wheel-drive vehicles heading out for a dinner under the stars in a setting like Malcolm Forbes famous 70th birthday party in Tangier. Here are some photographs I took during the trip.

Glenn Gissler, La Mamounia, Marrakech, Morocco

There is no grander or more legendary hotel in Marrakech than La Mamounia, which opened in 1923 and has played host to Winston Churchill, Catherine Deneuve, Hillary Clinton, Gwyneth Paltrow, and other luminaries. It recently underwent a complete makeover by French designer Jacques Garcia.

Glenn Gissler, La Mamounia, Marrakech, Morocco

The front steps of La Mamoulia are a wonderful expanse of mosaic tile.

Glenn Gissler, La Mamounia, Marrakech, Morocco

The hotel is like a palace out of the Arabian Nights. As Garcia himself said, “La Mamounia is to Marrakech what the Louvre is to Paris: everybody comes to see it. Only here, some can stay. It’s like spending a night at the museum.” 

Glenn Gissler, Meryanne Loum-Martin, Morocco, April 2012

Former Parisian lawyer Meryanne Loum-Martin, who first visited Morocco in 1985, is one of Marrakech’s leading style gurus. A self taught interior designer, she’s the creator of the secluded Jnane Tamsna—a fabulous  hotel comprising several houses set in lush Moorish gardens planted by her ethno-botanist husband Gary—which has featured in Architectural DigestThe New York TimesTown & Country, and Vogue.

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