There are celebrated designers, and then there’s Anouska Hempel, also known as Lady Weinberg, the talented designer-hotelier-restaurateur who’s is head of Anouska Hempel Design. Antipodean born and now based in London, her work has a unique reputation for excellence.
After a brief career as an actress, which included a minor role in the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Anouska Hempel, 77, opened the five-star Blakes Hotel in South Kensington, west London, in 1978. Blakes was one of the first luxury boutique hotels in the world and set her to become a pioneer in her field. Its eclectic collection of 45 individually designed rooms is inspired by Provence, gentlemen’s clubs and the opium dens of colonial Asia. Hempel, has worked on projects globally, from a Turkish gulet to a Louis Vuitton store and the new Franklin hotel in Knightsbridge, central London.
Anouska Hempel’s work is all encompassing, she designs the total experience and this sets her above others. When dealing with a house she masters the landscape, the architecture, objects, accessories, even clothes and leaves behind a manual for its proper use. Her command of the living environment creates a theatrical world and sense of harmony over everyday life. Anouska Hempel has no formal training, yet she has explored the world with a phenomenal visual memory and has a mind where anything is possible. Fearlessly designing the ultra-minimalist Hempel in London, a classical Blakes in Amsterdam, and then the Warapuru in a tropical rainforest helped further her position as a luminary of the design world. These paved the way for designing Grosvenor House Apartments in London and the Pera Palace in Istanbul for the Jumeirah Group.
But not only hotels. The landscapes: seamlessly harmonising nature; the restaurants: creating new cuisine; the couture: designing dresses for royalty. Anouska Hempel’s chameleon-like qualities are apparent in the diversity of her designs, ranging from ultra-sleek minimalism to classical theatricality. Such duality might dilute other brands, but not hers. It is the total-experience unified by luxury and romance that sets her apart as a true creative.