Celebrating that Champalimaud ‘je ne sais quoi’

Based in New York City, Champalimaud Design is an award winning multi-disciplinary design firm with a commitment to creating unparalleled spaces. The company founder – Alexandra Champalimaud – believes that good design starts with an exceptional story and has spent a quarter of a century creating some visionary design statements…

the cabanas around the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel Cabanas by Champalimaud Design

From the iconic cabanas at the Beverly Hills Hotel through to reimagining spaces at The Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman, the portfolio of Champalimaud Design reads like a who’s who of the hospitality industry. In the spirit of today, International Women’s Day, we thought we would walk through some of the designs that have set this studio apart as its Founder and President, Alexandra Champalimaud, continues to inspire and support the next generation of designers in her company and beyond.

In her capacity as a member of the Network for Executive Women in Hospitality, which empowers women in the industry through opportunities for education, professional development and networking, alongside The International Interior Design Association, Champalimaud has stepped into her role as mentor for women in the design field.

portrait of interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud

Image credit: Champalimaud Design

“I’ve been elected as a mentor for women in my field—perhaps due to the layered and unconventional life I’ve led, the many places I’ve lived and evolutions I’ve experienced, ” discussed Champalimaud. “In the face of monumental upheaval, I’ve been able to exercise an innate strength and that is something that I’d like to impart to all the people who work here. I want people to be successful, to be themselves and to laugh a lot.”

Steeped in Hollywood history, the pool at The Beverly Hills Hotel has always been home to glamorous stars, movie icons and the location for more than one classic film. With a restoration of its private cabanas by Champalimaud Design, the beloved ‘Pink Palace’ was able to step up and provide a new generation of guests with modern day luxuries in a setting reflective of Hollywood’s golden age.

wedgewood blue bedroom with wood panelling in Monkey Island Estate

Image credit: Champalimaud Design

Crossing swiftly to the other side of the Atlantic and the historic village of Bray-on-Thames, Berkshire where Monkey Island Estate opened its doors after undergoing an impressive renovation led by the Champalimaud studio. The renovation is a celebration and tribute to the storied history of the island. The design studio looked to the two original structures on the island, the Temple and Pavilion buildings, which were constructed by Charles Spencer, 3rd Duke of Marlborough in the late 1730s, as inspiration for design vocabulary. In paying close attention to the rich history of the project and its surroundings, the lodging interiors are influenced by the boats making their way along the river. Inspired by the cabins on board, Champalimaud Design developed bespoke amenities and storage cabinets which would feel very much at home on the Thames. The palette is a comforting variety of warm greys, deep blues and caramels which perfectly frame the colours of the gardens.

The Silver Palm Bar at the Ritz Carlton Gran Cayman

Image credit: Champalimaud Design

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman re-opened in December 2021 after an extensive renovation. The studio was responsible for revamping the public spaces, guestrooms and suites of the resort with a vision that reflects the natural beauty of the island. Careful consideration was given to the lobby and reception area to ensure this was achieved as soon as guests entered the resort. Natural materials and colours are used throughout, from lush greens, beach inspired whites and beiges to deep blues evocative of Cayman’s night sky and the turquoise of the Caribbean Sea.

With Champalimaud at the helm, the studio continues to celebrate design excellence and the traditions of craftmanship – a pairing that has allowed it to explore and redefine designing for impact. For more than 25 years the studio has been recognised internationally for its visionary design concepts and keen ability to infuse spaces with modernity while maintaining integrity, character and a sense of place that shows no signs of slowing down.

Main image credit: Champalimaud Design