JWM MAGAZINE 80 JWMARRIOTT.COM
THE DESIGN-MINDED ARE A LITTLE
different from the rest of us. While most people
choose paint colors or a new sofa based on trends
or existing furnishings, designers think in larger
concepts: space, flow, emotion, authenticity.
This way of seeing the world is inherent to
Alessandro Munge, the Toronto-based trailblazer
who has led a slew of high-profile projects at
Studio Munge, his award-winning interior design
firm. Tapped by JW Marriott for a new hotel
at the eagerly anticipated parq Vancouver—a
multipurpose entertainment destination set to
open in fall 2017—Studio Munge is driven by its
founder’s lifelong passion for good design.
“I started my career very early on, helping
my mother with her interior business,” Munge
says. A discerning client spotted one of the
14-year-old Munge’s sketches, and asked to have it
produced—an “aha” moment in which Munge
grasped the powerful relationship between design
and emotions. Today, as Studio Munge expands
its portfolio to hotels, residences and leisure
spaces around the world, its ability to elicit a
strong emotional response is one of its signatures.
“We like to capture people’s expressions as they
move in our spaces. It happens when you create
a really great narrative,” Munge says. “I like to try
to get inside people’s heads. For example, we are
currently working on Toronto’s biggest nightclub,
so I have been trying to get into the mindset of
someone in a club. After a couple of cocktails,
you want to move, touch, feel free. I don’t ever
want someone to just feel one feeling—I’d feel
like I had failed.”
There’s little chance of that. One-note
spaces are not the province of Munge, whose
mold-breaking designs seem to have their own
personalities, from sparklingly modern bistros to
sumptuous residential developments. But the parq
Vancouver project is particularly significant.
“This is a very special piece of real estate in
Vancouver,” he says. The unique urban lifestyle
space—combining a casino, two hotels, shopping
and dining with an exquisite garden oasis, and spa
and wellness adventures—is an innovative con-
cept, and Munge is more than up for the challenge.
“The parq itself is almost like a resort. Guests
move from the casino to the hotel to the incredible
green spaces, and we’re part of that journey.”
And yet for all the drama of the locale, the
vision behind the design is compellingly simple.
Munge was inspired by the city’s lushness, from
its gorgeous scenery to its natural resources.
“There is a sense of honesty to the materials:
Wood is wood, stone is stone—materials that are
key to Vancouver itself. The rooms are tasteful,
luxury, timeless, with a meticulous attention to
detail, but they are all centered on the gorgeous
views.” For all its splendor, Vancouver often has
gloomy weather. “When guests open the door
to the hotel, I want them to feel a rush of beauty
and calm,” Munge says. When it comes to an
emotional response after a long day of travel,
there’s hardly anything more ideal than that. [
“THERE IS A SENSE OF HONESTY TO THE MATERIALS:
WOOD IS WOOD, STONE IS STONE.”
Bringing design concepts to life is more than a job—for Alessandro Munge, it’s great fun.
Inside the upcoming JW MARRIOTT parq VANCOUVER.