The public areas of two Marriott hotels on the French Riviera have been modernised by JOI-Design, further emphasising the JW Marriott Cannes as the place to be seen in this most glamorous of destinations and the AC Hotel Ambassadeur as a chic coastal retreat in the exclusive Antibes enclave, Juan-les-Pins.

Located on the former site of the Palais des Festivals, the JW Marriott Cannes is situated on the famed Boulevard de la Croisette, a palm tree-lined promenade of luxury boutiques, restaurants and cafes overlooking golden beaches. As a reference to the site’s former occupant, the JOI-Design’s concept for the JW Marriott Cannes recalls a sophisticated era of film star glamour, one that imbued the spirit of luxury without being excessive.

The relative simplicity of the 1980s architecture provided a suitably neutral background, and the building’s clean lines have been carried through into the interior design concept. The designer deliberately kept to a subdued colour palette of greys, mahogany, black and ivory accented with warm gold and champagne tones. Material finishes are pure and luxurious – carrara marble, macassar ebony timber, leather, velvet and silk.

The lobby opens into an impressive five storeys in height, with dramatic vertical features that compel visitors to lift their gaze upwards. A spectacular light sculpture of delicate golden leaves cascades 20m down into the centre of the space, while striking vertical columns encased in creamy marble are bathed in filtered sunlight from above. Horizontal rows of balconies, also marble-clad, are accentuated and reflected in the mirrored ceiling.

As a counterpoint to the imposing horizontal and vertical lines above, the design at ground level takes on a more organic feel. The expansive polished marble floor is interspersed with seating areas defined by inlaid carpets with subtle, golden-toned palm frond patterns on a dark chocolate background. Fine bronze meridian lines running through the marble and carpet flooring connect the separate materials.

JOI-Design has also redesigned the public spaces of the nearby AC Ambassadeur Hotel in Juan les Pins, a picturesque historical town on the renowned Côte d’Azur. The aim here was to create a relaxing coastal holiday destination that is a harmonious balance between the city and the countryside. Inspiration was taken from the locality – the seascape and associated maritime culture, regional architecture, and the town’s proximity to the Gould Pine Grove with its celebrated jazz concerts.

The combination of warm sandy hues, azure blue, teak wood, leather and polished stone is a response to the hotel’s environment, and offers cool, calm respite from the sundrenched Mediterranean climate. Artistic subtleties, such as the reception desk’s glass lamps – loosely modelled after the rope buoys found in marinas – form understated allusions to the nautical concept, and in the lobby, the staccato movement of the abstract black and white paintings convey the jazzy esprit of Antibes.

A bright, airy reception area invites guests to kick back and unwind. Clean lines and simple forms come together in a modern chic interior that has an almost residential feel. Patterns are applied with a light touch throughout, allowing materials and textures to express the ambiance. JOI-Design’s selective use of accessories, such as elegant mirrors and decorative glass lighting, adds a delicate finesse. Large windows maximise garden views while the addition of shutters and voiles softens and filters the strong midday sun.

“Designing the JW Marriott Cannes and the AC Ambassadeur Juan-les-Pins was such a joy,” explains Corinna Kretschmar-Joehnk, co-managing director at JOI-Design. “It felt a bit like composing our own jazz melodies for the most urbane of audiences – a cultivated melange of glamour and comfort, formality and relaxation, and buzz balanced by intimacy. In a locale where seeing and being seen is an activity in itself, we have shaped each space’s atmosphere so that both the glitterati and the star-gazers will feel cared for and immersed in luxury.”