Dream Weavers: Studio Shamshiri and Atelier Ace conjure up Maison de la Luz in New Orleans


Maison de la Luz, Studio Shamshiri’s latest project, created in collaboration with Atelier Ace, is fittingly located in New Orleans, the city that’s raised the blurring of the lines between the past and the present to an art form.

The hotel’s grand entrance features the City Hall Annex’s historic staircase.
Photos here and throughout by Stephen Kent Johnson

Since leaving Commune to form Studio Shamshiri with her brother Ramin in 2016, Pam Shamshiri and her team have looked to the historical to find inspiration for their forward-thinking projects. Pepper in the knowledge that Shamshiri’s first job was as a set designer and understanding quickly dawns; her work is driven by the belief that thoughtful interior design, when considered as the backdrop to the human drama, can be a means to living life to the fullest.

The nautical artworks with knotted snakes are by New Orleans-based artist Clare Crespo.

Certainly that’s the narrative at Maison de la Luz where grand staircase banisters, generous marble vanities, silk-tasseled keys, hand-embroidered linens, fringed chairs and custom tile work layer in old world details befitting a city raised on bourbon charm and velvet luxury.

The private guest-only living room showcases Egyptian art and vintage masks. The mushroom lamps are by Matthias Vriens-McGrath.

But make no mistake, this is not a space stuck in the visual platitudes of the past. Shamshiri has funneled the visual tropes of the Big Easy through a modern lens. Taking a clue from the hotel’s name, the dark and mysterious has given way to the light, flirtatious and playful.

Large windows flood guest rooms with natural light. A custom seance table has an astrological wheel etched into its copper top.

Pale walls and bespoke wallpapers – like the dining room’s blue seaweed ferns, a nod to the foliage found in the city’s swamps – are delicate and airy; colors are saturated or tuned to acid and mixed in unusual pairings; and, mystical symbols, from animal feet tables to seance tables to artwork by Clare Crespo — featuring porcelain snake nautical knots, hand-drawn playing cards and velvet hearts — skip throughout the hotel as whimsical reminders of the city’s magical undercurrent. This is a New Orleans reimagined for the 21st century, bathed in the past but splashing towards a bright, optimistic future.

Maison de la Luz, 546 Carondelet Street, New Orleans, LA, 70130. Room rates start at $389

A wood block print by William Lemon and a wildlife scene by Rebecca Rebouche hang above the bed in a guest room.
The bathroom features sculptural snake handle shower doors.