He launched a music career that earned Grammys and commodified cool. But along the way, Lenny Kravitz has kept one ear cocked to the melody of interior design — the architecture, the palettes and grace of beautiful things set in beautiful places.
The platinum-selling musician started by designing his own spaces in the 1990s. Then he helped friends do theirs. And by the time his guitar grooves were already a radio staple, nearly a decade ago, the rocker was launching Kravitz Design, a New York-based boutique firm whose imprint now extends from Kravitz’s rustic farmhouse in Brazil to a tony chateau in Paris to the soaring landscape of condos and hotels in South Florida.
He calls the Kravitz treatment “soulfully elegant,” the product of a New York upbringing, a global itinerary and a fluency in hotel living.
Most recently, Kravitz delivered his stylized aesthetic to the just-opened SLS Hotel in Miami Beach and Paramount Bay in Miami, a waterside condo tower he now calls home.
“Design is something that burns deep within me,” Kravitz, 48, says in a phone interview from Paris. “I knew when I started, I didn’t want this to be a vanity project but something I was intimately involved in, something that grew slow and organically.”
Last year, his vision was unveiled at the 47-floor Paramount Bay. He was chosen for his design sensibilities and deep Miami roots, and his use of rich hues and finishes blends Miami’s urban energy with his own cosmopolitan style. The translation: sexy public spaces and model units awash in exotic woods, textures and earth tones including a lobby with slabs of sleek marble and indoor gardens.
“It was really about capturing the Miami lifestyle. I have been here off and on for a long time. My mother’s family is from Bahamas, and I have spent a lot of time in the city,” Kravitz says.
“The idea was to create spaces that bring people together, that are open for creativity, conducive to sharing and conversation. I wanted a space that is beautiful but also someplace you can really live in.”
His firm, opened in a SoHo studio in 2003, was also tapped to partner with Philippe Starck to design the tower penthouse and villa penthouse for the SLS Hotel, a luxury property carved from the aging bones of the Ritz Plaza, an Art Deco hotel built in 1939. His vision there was that of a seasoned traveler who has lived large over the decades — much like the Ritz itself.
“I remember seeing this Art Deco building and thinking it would make the most incredible project. The key is to retain the original feel, paying a lot of respect to that era, to the Art Deco-ness of it,” he says.
“I want the rooms to look like a world traveled by plane, car or by boat, like a traveler who has collected things along the way, and I am working with local artisans to make it feel that way.”
As with other projects, Kravitz brings a design sense imbued by a music career that has exposed him to an array of cultures and experiences.
“Lenny is a weapon of massive construction. He is an explosion of all talents, an unlimited boiling bucket of culture, a daily firework, a tireless explorer,” said Starck, who was wowed by Kravitz’s Parisian digs on a visit about three years ago. “Lenny is incredibly alive. Lenny is a friend.”