It’s hard to maintain composure when award-winning singer, songwriter, actor, and designer Lenny Kravitz welcomes you with "I love Dwell. I just got my copy in the mail."
Despite the larger-than-life reputation which precedes him, in real life, the multi-hyphenate exudes kindness and humility. Graciously friendly and effortlessly cool, Kravitz brings this energy to all of his projects—most recently in the form of Bisha Hotel & Residences in Toronto, Canada. His company, Kravitz Design, was given free reign to design the seventh floor’s 13 rooms and three suites.
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Even with his hectic schedule (he’s currently on tour with performances nearly every night), Kravitz is chilled out in the Bisha Suite, the crown jewel of the hotel. The lavish, 2,000-square-foot duplex is unabashedly sultry with metallic and earthy tones, velvet furnishings, and golden spider marble flooring. Of the design, Kravitz says he wants you to feel "invited, comfortable. And to feel good in the space."
The rocker’s predilection for seeking out creature comforts stems from years of travel and playing shows: "I’ve spent most of my life on tour...in a different hotel room and bed every night." For him, coziness means "feeling at home. Because you’re craving the feeling."
Zen-inspired mantras are necessary to help juggle his many ongoing projects, through which he experiments with different styles. "If you look at what I did in Paris with my townhouse, then my fazenda in Brazil, you wouldn’t think they were done by the same person," he says. "That’s because each environment and its sense of place speaks to me in a profoundly different way. I’m fed by the energy of the land."
For this new property in Toronto, Kravitz took advantage of natural light: "While we utilized darker tones for the Bisha Suite, you’re still wrapped in light. The rooms use more robust colors, [but] the feel remains light and airy."
Kravitz motions to the private, 1,000-square-foot terrace behind him. "For me, personally, outdoor space is really important," he says. "I don’t like using forced air. Because I sing, indoor air can be very dry, so any hotel that has windows or a patio is what I consider to be a luxury."
The sumptuous environment may be expected from Kravitz, who cites having an unrestrained budget as being part of a dream project—"because then, you can go really far with furnishings and accessories"—but the designer recognizes the importance of attainability as well. "While luxury is wonderful, [design] should be accessible at all levels," he says. "It was why I was compelled to do a furniture collection for CB2. You see, my parents in the ’60s in New York didn’t have money at all. Before my mom was on television, she was a secretary and doing theater at night: Off-Off-Broadway."
Kravitz says he learned the importance of mixing high and low from his parents: "Their apartment was cool because you could walk into a shop and buy something cheap or reasonable—and it still had pleasant aesthetics, and was made well. The balance is nice: for instance, putting a $200 painting next to $100,000 Paul Evans console, which I’ve done before. It works if the $200 piece and its form is cohesive with the more expensive item."
Kravitz also credits Venice Beach–based designer Lenny Steinberg as a big source of inspiration. "When I was 15 and attending high school, I left home and lived in her home because I was very close with her daughters," he remembers. "It was the very first home I walked into and thought to myself, ‘Wow, this is really different.’ In the ’80s, she was doing a very sparse, minimal, and bold look. She also made all of her own furniture."
Steinberg also foreshadowed big trends in the market. Says Kravitz, "She was ahead of her time, and I learned a lot from her."
Of course, music remains a consistent force in Kravitz’s creative life. "It affects all facets of my life," he says. "A lot of times when I’m in a space, I envision a song, a genre, a certain artist. Like when I was working on [my Paris townhouse], Miles Davis was the inspiration, which helped to bring forth a certain mood—colors, shapes, and forms. And with the Bisha Suite, I get a lot of Isaac Hayes, because of the texture of the music he created and the colors he wore back then, which were these tans and browns."
With so many irons in the fire, Kravitz, isn’t interested in so-called "rock star" descriptions of him: "No, I’m just a person. I’m an artist. I do different things. Whether it be photography, music, acting, art, whatever it is."
Whether you know him as a musician, actor, photographer, or interior designer, one thing is certain—Kravitz has a bold creative vision that’s hard to ignore. And despite his success, he remains humble. "Giving thanks is incredibly important: thanking God for your blessings," he says. "Especially for the fact that we have a place to stay in."
Learn more about Bisha Hotel & Residences.