Though fans of Netflix’s Queer Eye may imagine that fashion designer Tan France spends much of his time lounging with costars in a chic Fab Five loft, he actually spends most of his life in hotels. “I travel all the time,” he says. “I’m usually in a hotel room more than I am my actual home.” France is from England but now lives in Salt Lake City—that is, when he’s lucky enough to be there. “I spend about five days a week in hotels.”
After a hectic day on the road, France favors a hotel that feels calming, with soft tones and natural materials rather than neon and fussy prints. At AC Hotels, he says, “everything seems purposefully done. I like that the rooms feel muted and nothing’s overbearing, just comfortable and chic, refined without being over the top. And the most important thing is comfort.”
France’s always-on-the-go reality has influenced his design sensibility. Though his own fashion choices and the clothes he helps select for makeovers on Queer Eye show plenty of flair—everyone knows how much he loves a fashion-forward belt—when it comes to interiors, he values understated functionality.
His intimate familiarity with hotels—and what the best ones get right—informed France’s recent collaboration with interior designer Jonathan Adler and AC Hotels. The parties collectively designed two custom products for AC Hotels: a wireless phone charger and set of cocktail coasters.
The muted palette of the objects reflects France’s preference for rooms that allow space for creativity, reflection, and work. As he puts it, too many hotels have chosen a noisy “color story” that feels jarring and doesn’t put travelers at ease. “I like the decor to be curated,” France says. “I don’t like a lot of chintz or frills. I want it to feel as distraction-free as possible.” It’s a quality that AC Hotels delivers on.
CALM AND CONNECTION
Both France and Adler rely heavily on their mobile devices when they’re on the road. Thus, it’s mandatory that they be fully charged. “When we check into a hotel, the first thing we need to be able to do is use our phones; that’s how we conduct most of our business,” France says. “If the battery is almost dead, we need a quick solution, so it makes sense we’re creating a charger that is both functional and beautiful.”
The charger they created is unlike any you’ve ever seen. The pebble-like object is sleek and sophisticated—a stark improvement over the typical jumble of charging cables. “We wanted it to look like an artwork—something that you could use while you’re at the hotel, or take on your travels with you,” France says. “It’s absolutely necessary.”
The same spirit of function meets beauty led the designers to create a set of custom coasters to complement the barware in the AC Lounge. AC Hotels were founded in Madrid in 1998 and feature the gin and tonic in its lounges as a nod to a favorite cocktail in its country of origin. The glassware’s shape is designed specifically for the drink, with horizontal lines etched on its side to indicate the exact amounts of ice, gin, and tonic for a perfect pour.
France and Adler’s primary objective was that the coasters be heavy enough to remain on the bar when a guest picks up their drink. Each of the coasters has a marbled effect with just a kiss of color inspired by the different cities where AC Hotels are located. It’s a quiet object that invites a closer look—a reflection of the brand’s overall approach to design—and each set of four will be available as a memento of one’s trip.
France’s thinking about interior design has evolved in part because of a life lived in hotels. His focus now is on paring down, not dolling up. “I’m known for wanting things to be pretty,” he says. “But I only add beauty to something if I know it’s going to serve a purpose. That’s what is important about AC Hotels. Everything that’s added to a space is done for a reason—it isn’t just aesthetically pleasing. It serves a purpose.”
Created for and commissioned by AC Hotels by Marriott.