The RaleighGoes Live

High Design Mind Barbara Hulanicki Says Why

TeaStain01Blame Ron Wood. He’s the Stone who rolled out the red carpet that brought Barbara Hulanicki to South Beach, and his eponymous hot spot Woody’s is the reason she’s kept her cool right here lo these many years.

Then again, considering the keen-eyed designer’s own Biba put much of the Swingin’ into ‘60s London, the rockstar did have a damn good cause.

Island Records’ Chris Blackwell concurred, and after the legendary label head picked up 10 Art Deco gems, he hired Hulanicki to transform the lot into the landmarks they were built to be in the first place.

In other words, Hulanicki wasn’t only present at the Beach’s recreation; she helped make it happen. And anyone who’s ever set foot on that fabled strip of sand owes the dear lady one long tall Thanks!

Want proof? Read on. Then hit The Raleigh Hotel this Thursday, January 26th and receive all the proof you’ll ever need. 

Just who is Barbara Hulanicki and how did she get that way? I wish I knew, as I am still trying to find out. She got there just by hard slog.

Which would you say came first, the chicken (the who) or the egg (the what)? A strong chicken needs to come first if you want a good egg.

Either/Or, the what that’s made you who you are runs quite the gamut, from t-shirts to fireplaces, do you have some kinda unifying through-line, regardless of what’s being designed? I am fascinated by all things around and love to try new things that I have not been involved with before.

How did you apply that line to Miami and its namesake Beach? I have always been fascinated by Miami Beach. In the Sixties, we used to fly here to rummage in the amazing thrift shops, so that when I received a call from Ronnie Wood to come over to design his club I could not wait to come. The project, which was meant to last six months, turned out to go on for two years. I then met Chris Blackwell of Island Records and he asked me to design his first hotel, The Marlin, and when he bought ten more Deco buildings I stayed on and on.

And now? Still here, designing away.

Do you think folks are finally beginning to appreciate just how clean, lean and keen much of Miami and its Beach used to be?  the beach is very transient, people come and go but I notice many of the original people who were here at the beginning are returning.

How do you see what the city’s become — and what it’s becoming, design wise? The city is starting to look like Metropolis, but it seems to work with the miniature Art Deco buildings.

Will you be addressing some of that at The Raleigh? The Raleigh Hotel is a  national gem; It needs to be cherished.

What else might people expect to encounter this evening? I can see the ghost of Esther Williams diving into the magnificent swimming pool.

Any last words before we let you go-go? Drink a toast to The Raleigh!

Barbara Hulanicki kicks off Live at The Raleigh at 7PM, Thursday, January 26th. Performing live: Millionyoung.