Acclaimed Spanish Artist Transforms The Little Nell’s Lobby and Living Room


Renovation by Luis Bustamante Interiors of Spain Completed for Ski Season 2020/2021

Symmetry, light and harmonic proportions all play a part in The Little Nell’s new lobby and living room, renovated by the acclaimed firm, Luis Bustamante Interior Design of Spain. Completed in time for the 2020/2021 Ski Season at Aspen Snowmass, the central gathering space of the hotel was designed in an artful manner by Señor Bustamante who was a professional sculptor and painter prior to embarking on a career in interior design.

“When I first met Luis Bustamante and saw his work, I knew he was the right interior designer for Aspen,” said Paula Crown, of the Crown family who owns Aspen Skiing Company and The Little Nell and whose artwork graces its walls. “Luis brings his formidable talents as an artist in understanding nuances of scale and flow.

Upon entering the hotel lobby, an emphasis on geometric design comes into immediate focus. A round brass table is set in the center of the vestibule on a square-shaped, geometric-patterned rug, which rests beneath. A screen wall made of oak separates the lobby and double-sided fireplace. Displayed on either side of the fireplace are bright, bold examples of Bustamante’s work in the form of diamond shaped paintings – one gold, the other blue. These are accented by framed black and white photos from Aspen’s original ski days, which are set in vertical niches on the wood-burning fireplace.

The open floor plan of the split-level space allows for vignettes of various seating arrangements. New chairs, ottomans and tables are placed around the room. Guests are welcome to unwind and enjoy wine, ordering from the hotel’s award-winning cellar. Colorful coffee table books about art, design, skiing and sustainability are housed in a wood- paneled bookcase in the living room. In the living room, a black and white carpet made of European wool provides an abstract design element.

In describing the renovation, Julian Castillo with Luis Bustamante Interior Design, noted, “In all of our work, our goal is to match the aspirations of the client with two basic principles: classical order – involving symmetry, rhythm and definition of regular spaces – and the close relationship between space and art.

“Because Luis Bustamante’s background is in sculpture,” he continued, “he conceives space as a whole piece of art, where there is a strong interplay and balance between the materials, lighting, furniture and artwork. That balance is reflected in spaces between Classicism and Modernity, seeking lightness and a nod to something fun. Then there’s the place – in this case, Aspen and its surroundings – as the other source of inspiration. We understand that our work has to be rooted with a sense of place, thus we try to achieve the feeling of that specific place. In response to nature and the climate in Aspen, especially in winter, the first thing to look for here is coziness. The feeling of being embraced, warm and protected.

“The other main point to address at The Little Nell is light in a broad sense,” he added. “We changed the previous finishes from dark to light. Wood paneling on the fireplace, the vestibule screen and the concierge and reception desks all provide a sense of warmth. The extension of wood also relates to the natural environment and Aspen’s mining past where tunnels were built and covered with wood. Some of the other wall coverings around the room are meant to feel as ‘natural’ as possible, with a strong tactile quality as well as a certain level of coziness.”

Additional modifications to the ground level of the hotel include a mirrored ceiling in the elevator corridor, as well as textured wallpaper through the lobby and the stairwell leading to the lower level of the hotel.

“At The Little Nell, we create experiences that heighten our senses and are transformative in a moment,” added Mrs. Crown. “Suddenly, while standing in exactly the same place, everything is different. We feel a sense of place, possibility, and connection to ourselves and each other. The Little Nell lobby is just the first of a series of spaces that Luis will be transforming this year, culminating with a new Aspen Mountain Club in 2021. Stay tuned.”

Aspen Skiing Company’s Senior Director of Design and Construction, Gert Van Moorsel, AIA, had high praise for the project team, “From the on-site supervision, and the coordination and delivery of the FF&E and artwork, to the efforts and talents of our key millwork subcontractor, every aspect of the work came together in a seamless manner, in order to deliver the project on time and within budget.”

About Luis Bustamante – The Madrid-based architect and interior designer obtained a bachelor’s degree in fine arts at University Complutense of Madrid. In the eighties, Señor Bustamante devoted himself to sculpture and painting, exhibiting several times in Madrid and Barcelona. In 1991, he began a career in interior design in Barcelona, which led him to Mexico to continue his work. In the year 2000, Señor Bustamante returned to Madrid where he established his current interior design studio, Luis Bustamante Interiors, which has carried out residential and commercial projects around the world. His vocation early on as an artist has informed his interior design career from an “aesthetic balance” point of view of spaces, volumes and colors. His projects transmit his artistic passion between contemporary and classical arts.

About The Little Nell – Aspen’s only Five-Star, Five-Diamond, ski-in/ski-out hotel, offers luxury services and unparalleled access to America’s most famous mountain town. Guests of The Little Nell – a Relais & Châteaux resort – enjoy a cosmopolitan yet intimate ambience, haute cuisine, and exclusive adventures and amenities designed to rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit. 675 East Durante Avenue, Aspen, 970.920.4600.

Photo Credits: The Little Nell, Aspen, CO




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