The Creative Space: Ariane Steinbeck, MD at RPW Design
Inspiration can hit you anywhere at anytime. We found out from some of the top designers what International spaces boosted their creativity recently.
Ariane Steinbeck, is the MD for RPW Design and is a great influence upon the design world and contributes serving as a speaker, judge and commentator on trends regularly. Ariane tells us about her recent inspiration that spring from her travels in Georgia…
So Ariane, What is your ‘Creative Space’?
I’m going with plural here…spaces, cityscape!
While working on our most recent project, The Marriott Hotel Tbilisi, in The Republic of Georgia, I was fortunate to spend a day roaming around the city with a guide, soaking up the culture and vibe of this ancient city. The Georgian hospitality is legendary and you will know it as soon as you step off the plane: Tbilisi, The City That Loves You, is the greeting you will find embedded in the airport terrazzo.The heady mix of 2000 years of history and intermingling of cultures for me is personified in the exuberance of the colours, culture and hospitality of the Georgian people. Incredibly proud of their culture, traditions, wine and food, Tbilisi is a superb destination for those who crave authentic hospitality, visual stimulation and plain good fun. The vibe is somewhat European, but still feels foreign enough to know that you will learn something!
Tbilisi is home to more than a hundred ethnic groups, although close to 90% are ethnic Georgians. One way to soak up the culture is visiting the Holy Trinity Cathedral, which I had the great fortune to be able to visit on a local holiday-the polyphonic choir voices within the cavernous space are mesmerizing.Wine references are everywhere…you can find wine leaves in churches, ironwork, and of course there’s always plenty of actual wine at the table, the Georgians have the oldest continuous viticulture in the world…8000 continual years and the ancient winemaking method in clay amphora, called Kvevri, is on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Thankfully, one of my clients also owns a vineyard…If you are invited to go to a supra, meaning a feast-that can last for twelve hours and includes plenty of the aforementioned wine, to be celebrated by toasts to important subjects, friendships etc and then a seemingly never-ending procession of delicious food! Lots of cheeses, cheeses rolled in nuts, cheese wrapped in cheese, amazing veg and the most delicious meat dumplings, Khinkhali, which actually come to the table in two iterations: steamed and after they are not at their most delicious hotness, later fried-in butter. This dish is worth a trip in itself-and plainly shows how the trading culture appropriated the Mongol influence and made it their own…these delicious clouds remind me of Shanghainese Xiao Long Bao.Bread is a revered and most delicious part of the meal and is still prepared in traditional ways…I had the great pleasure to visit one of the ancient bakeries and now I know why everyone worships the delicious miracles that flour, yeast and water can produce.
This trip has started a wonderful relationship with the client and inspired the work we are doing on the property at the moment…I also can’t stop gushing to everyone what a great experience Tbilisi is—and I haven’t even tried the famous sulphur baths yet.