Many guests, industry colleagues, designers and the press often ask about Liz Biden, so we collated a little Q&A with the owner of The Royal Portfolio.
What are your biggest design inspirations?
I love to take inspiration from my travels around the world. There is nothing more inspiring than visiting a wonderful new hotel or a historic building. And from magazines – I love magazines.
Do you draw inspiration from the local culture where your hotel is located or do you design something unique?
Absolutely. I love travelling internationally, but I travel a lot within South Africa as well and I definitely draw inspiration from our local cultures. There is so much vibrance, colour and energy in Africa. And I love to adapt things to suit a certain space. Where possible I like to support local designers and manufacturers.
What are the most unique features of your hotels? Can you comment on any specific features?
Each hotel is unique with a very different feel and energy. But more than that, each room and space is unique. I spend a lot of time at each hotel. Everything is chosen and put together by me, so I hope that guests will find something interesting and delightful around every corner.
Can you give a brief description of your design process?
Well, I start with the premise that each room must be different. But in terms of a process, it’s more a case of me finding inspiration in something and going from there. It might be a certain painting that sets me off. Other times it might be a carpet or an interesting piece of fabric.
Does architecture play a role in the design process? If so, how?
Until now, my husband Phil and I have designed and built the properties ourselves – adapting them from the original holiday homes.
But The Silo is different. The Silo is an original structure – a historic building built in 1921 that has been re-imagined by industrial designer Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio in London. It’s a modern, stark and industrial space which will certainly require a different style to the other Royal Portfolio properties.
Is there something you include in all of your properties, no matter the theme?
Always wonderful art. But The Silo will take our art experience to a new level. The Silo will be located above Zeitz MOCAA in the grain elevator portion of the grain silo building. Zeitz MOCAA will be a modern art museum to rival the likes of MoMA in New York, the Tate Modern in London and the Prado museum in Madrid.