Good things come to those who wait. For interior designer Andre Avedian, co-founder and co-director of London-based Ara Design, along with developer and hotelier Henry Taic, founder of the Nahal Group, Tel Aviv-based Feigin Architects and Kempinski Hotels, it’s been a lengthy journey bringing to life The David Kempinski Tel Aviv, the brand’s first Israeli property and its 80th worldwide.
Contributed by Alicia Sheber
Located in one of two Feigin-designed skyscrapers (the other houses the David Promenade Residences, also developed by Nahal), the 34-floor, 250-room Mediterranean Sea-facing destination includes 56 suites plus the three-story, 4,000-square-foot David Penthouse with a 1,200-square-foot rooftop terrace and a private infinity pool. A dramatic, three-story staircase was designed especially for brides to make theatrical entrances.
Avedian worked on the design for more than a decade, while some project participants started 10 to 15 years before he did. “Everything is a big process in this part of the world,” he said, “and getting projects with that level of investment off the ground can be a challenge.”
Taic, whose Tel Aviv portfolio includes the InterContinental David and the Hilton, briefed Avedian to create a level of luxury that would stand out in the affluent market. An operator hadn’t been appointed when Avedian began his creative process, so there were no brand standards to follow. “We went through five or six mock-up rooms in different settings, fine-tuning the products as we went along, and then filtered our design into the rest of the building, including original art in the suites and public areas,” he said.
Technology evolved throughout the decade, too, so the design was adapted for improved infrastructure and connectivity with features such as the meeting room projectors replaced by large-scale tech walls. “We were fortunate that the degree of luxury grew over time and our client was excited by the whole process of trying to create something unique,” Avedian said.
The clean, white structure and oversized glazing of the Kempinski’s architecture help blur the lines between the beachfront panorama and the public spaces, including Sereia Restaurant and Lounge; the Common Bar with a Cohiba-branded cigar zone and Israel’s first Macallan whisky bar; the 22nd floor Horizon Lounge; and Cloud 51 rooftop bar with 360-degree views.
Given that Economist Intelligence Unit recently named Tel Aviv as the world’s most expensive city, the team’s earlier drive for perfection helps the hotel convey the quality demanded by today’s higher price tags while living up to the expectations of a sophisticated, well-travelled Israeli diaspora.
Ara’s design concept originated in the well-preserved Bauhaus and International Style buildings constructed during the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s in Tel Aviv’s White City.
This inspiration was then blended with what Avedian calls “Tel Aviv design,” a style that feels natural yet eclectic, alongside geometry and patterns that subtly allude to Israeli heritage. “Our narrative is not typical of Kempinski,” he said. “It’s a bit more luxurious and contemporary in a stylish sort of way.”
Either way, Israel’s long-awaited debut Kempinski is something to celebrate.