The Dream Team
Sam O’Brien, head of design for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, and Theresa Fatino, a top interior designer routinely tapped by The Ritz-Carlton, joined forces to take the Silver Arrows Lounge to the next level. “We wanted to combine the modern luxury of Mercedes-Benz with the elegance of The Ritz-Carlton,” says O’Brien of the vision for the team’s Paddock Club suite. Fatino’s primary goals were to bring a “softer edge to the design” and create a space that evoked the same warmth as an inviting hotel lobby. Together, the two design dynamos and their teams struck the perfect balance between high-tech and human touch.
The Ritz-Carlton’s spectacular properties around the world were among the many references pinned to Fatino’s mood board. She also looked at sculptures by Janet Echelman and Anish Kapoor, as well as two iconic race cars that earned Mercedes-Benz the “Silver Arrows” moniker: the W25 and the W125. “With their stunning silhouettes and sensual lines, both cars were a great source of inspiration,” says Fatino of the sleek aluminum automobiles that were created for the 1934 and 1937 Grand Prix seasons. In addition to past accomplishments, the team’s recent accolades also played a role in the design. During a meeting at the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team headquarters, a gleaming trophy wall caught Fatino’s eye. “I knew I had to incorporate [this element] into the lounge,” she says.
Hardware of a different kind served as a jumping off point for O’Brien during the design process. “We looked at brass accents, marble finishes, and the light blue tones that are signatures of The Ritz-Carlton and fused them with the palette of Mercedes-AMG, which includes concrete, leather, and black paneling,” he explains. “Both brands have very different approaches to luxury, but at the end of the day, it’s still luxury.”