A feeling for beauty
Marina Nickels has a feeling for beauty and elegant materials with generous textures. While her interior design studio is installed on of the shores of Lake Geneva, it could just as well be in the mountains, in this wonderful valley that is Gstaad and where she is to be found several times a year.
A studio that she has voluntarily chosen to maintain at a reasonable, ‘human-sized’ scale in order to cultivate close ties with her loyal clients. The Gstaad Palace holds a particularly special place in her heart. Marina started working here at the same time as Andrea Scherz, more than 20 years ago. Andrea Scherz willingly admits that if he hadn’t been a hotelier, he would have liked to be an interior designer. So every renovation that is undertaken at the hotel is an opportunity to immerse himself in this world that he finds so fascinating. For Marina, it is a valuable advantage to be able to work with someone who not only understands but shares the same passion.
Despite requests from other establishments, the Gstaad Palace remains the only hotel in her portfolio. She completed the renovation of the Penthouse Suite (which she already designed in 2000) in 2014. She has worked on many private chalets and residences both in Switzerland and abroad for the past 15 years.
Her unmistakable style that stands out from the crowd is strongly infused with her English influences and with delightful old-time colours. She especially loves fabrics by Colefax & Fowler, Brunschwig and Mulberry, which quite naturally find their place in her projects. For the Palace, she designed an elegant, cosy environment, a place that is as reassuring as a cocoon, a space in which clients would feel at home, or even better.
The timeframe was a key element in this project. The project had to be completed from start to finish in just 12 weeks, namely the number of weeks for which the Palace closes its doors between seasons. A stimulating challenge that was successfully achieved.
Here, every accessory, every object appears to be predestined for the place, such as the magnificent lamps from the Aqua collection made of Porta Romana glass which adorn the entrance to the suite, along with a typically Swiss painting depicting a magnificent Poya (festival celebrating cows’ ascent to mountain pastures) in the region, both real finds discovered at Moinat in Rolle. Marina likes to set signature touches to her decors with the presence of objects filled with history and creating a connection with the owners. So it was entirely natural that a desk and Louis XV chair that belonged to Andrea Scherz’ grandmother have also been used here.
Marina turns to the expertise of craftsmen from the region for every project she undertakes, as in the case of the inlaid wooden flooring made by Mueller & Hirschi in Zweisimmen.
Her projects lead her to fascinating encounters with traditions and history, each representing a journey through time. Her references have remained consistent ever since her years of studying architecture in London. Amongst those for which she has a particular fondness are the work of Anouska Hemple, Scott Sanders and Bunny Williams.
Interior designs tell stories
Marina’s travels have enabled her to discover particular locations whose interior designs tell stories that are especially meaningful to her. In this respect, she feels natural affinities with the history of the Maison de GRISOGONO and its founder Fawaz Gruosi, whose creations are a collection of stories surrounding gems brought back from different travels. Special finds giving rise to unique compositions. With her experienced eye accustomed to refined details, she loves the discreetly openwork swirls whose play on light give such an amazing sparkle to the gems adorning de GRISOGONO jewellery. This approach based on highlighting and enhancing spaces and materials also lies at the very heart of her work, since she shapes interiors in such a way as to reveal their full beauty.
Whereas the new “Pantone Color of the Year 2016” has just been announced, a blending of the two Serenity and Rose Quartz shades, Marina admits to never following trends. At the centre of her own colour chart, her personal hallmarks meet and merge with the world of her clients as she transforms their words into a colour palette that resembles them. In order to feel like a home from home, a place needs to reflect one’s inner self.