Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
What happens when The Ritz-Carlton and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team collide? A race-day retreat with five-star service, of course. From an on-site concierge to a traveling trophy case, it’s easy to see why the freshly renovated Silver Arrows Lounge is the place the entire paddock wants to be on race day. We invite you to go inside and discover how this exclusive space got its start and crossed the finish line—all in a whirlwind six months.
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, worked together to design the Silver Arrows Lounge. They created a space with modern luxury and elegance, along with a ‘softer edge’ to balance high-tech and human touch.
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.”
Crossing the finish line first isn’t the only logistical challenge posed during race weekend. Creating a world-class lounge that can be easily packed up and moved around the globe presents its own unique set of obstacles. “Everything must be able to be broken down and fit into a shipping container,” explains Fatino. “There are also weight restrictions, so we had to take all of that into consideration.”
Despite the many limitations associated with designing a “pop-up hospitality space,” O’Brien says the result doesn’t resemble your typical temporary structure. “When you’re inside the lounge, it feels like you are in a permanent place,” he explains. The team achieved this by creating separate zones—such as a dining enclave, a cozy bar, and a semi-private concierge desk—to encourage conversation and relaxation. They also introduced floor lamps and other fixtures that could help control the lighting and set the mood in each area; upholstered walls and plush seating to absorb the sound of speeding cars; custom wood tables inlaid with brass outlines of each Grand Prix track; and fresh botanicals for a burst of life.
The unobstructed views of the track, fully stocked bar, haute cuisine, ample seating, and best-in-class service are only part of the draw. For O’Brien, one of the many standout moments in the Silver Arrows Lounge is the on-site concierge desk staffed by the ladies and gentlemen of The Ritz-Carlton. “You can go over during the day and ask questions about the local area and book a table [for a post-race dinner] just as you would in a five-star hotel,” he says.
Fatino is especially proud of the private dining area flanked by a glass case stocked with sparkling awards—a feature that can be seen by anyone who happens to be passing through the Paddock Club. “Why not show off a bit?!” she says. With the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team fighting hard to secure their eighth consecutive Constructors’ Championship, they may need to consider extending the length of that trophy wall in the very near future.
The Team’s VIP guests aren’t the only ones buzzing about the new Silver Arrows Lounge. The members of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team were eager to be among the first to experience the space and Fatino was thrilled to give them a tour. “It was such an honor to receive compliments from all of these master craftsmen and genius engineers,” she says. As is true of most things in F1, word of the redesign traveled fast. “Once we delivered something new at this level, we found that there was a lot of interest from our team, as well as up and down the paddock,” adds O’Brien. “Other teams stopped by to have a look.” There’s no denying that a new hospitality standard has been set—and the race is now on for the competition to keep pace.
To experience the Silver Arrows Lounge for yourself, learn more about our exclusive race weekend packages.