Lenny Kravitz once famously asked, “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” Increasingly, it would appear that everyone is going Lenny’s way. Aside from being a rock God for over three decades, creative centrifuge Kravitz has been spreading his unique brand of stardom, and the aesthetics that go with it, far and wide— from the big screen, live stage, photography exhibits and impressively to hotels, homes and condo developments. And the latter is turning into a windfall.
Kravitz has been a property gossip column regularfor over a decade, buying and selling homes in New York, New Jersey, Miami and New Orleans, all emblazoned with his distinctive retro-chic style of interior design. The formation of a bonafide interior design company, Kravitz Design Inc. in 2003 seemed like a natural extension of his talents. His recent spate of high profile projects suggests that when Kravitz raises the roof these days, he might just decorate the ceiling as well.
“I grew up around people like Miles Davis, actors, and New York theater people who had great wardrobes and great homes,” Kravitz told Forbes in 2016. “They were artists who knew how to create a vibe that’s really interesting, welcoming, with lots of personality and expression. The early 1970s was a very expressive time in design, fashion, music, art — in everything. I think via osmosis this all happened. It wasn’t something I was thinking about or looking for. I dug it and kind of took it all in.”
His newest projects are a little off the usual N.Y./L.A./Miami circuit that Kravitz has traversed in the past. Temple Detroit is one of Kravitz’s latest enterprises and is a new $72-million, 190,000-square-foot, 100-room hotel. In addition to showcasing Kravitz’s lofty ambitions, the project is also indicative of Motor City’s resurgence in recent years after financial desolation. Besides the 100 hotel rooms, the eight-story Temple Detroit will offer 70 residential units and three restaurants and bars. And Kravitz Design is bringing glamour back to Detroit not seen in the city since Motown Records founder Berry Gordy made it world-famous in the 1960s.
“Detroit is a special place with a fascinating history,” Kravitz told DBusiness Magazine. “My connection with the city has been through the decades of music created there. In recent years, I have also become interested in Detroit as a city being reborn. It’s very satisfying as a result for myself and the Kravitz Design team to offer our energy and ideas to the success of the Temple hotel, as well as Detroit.
Other recent design projects for Kravitz include Toronto’s Bisha Hotel where he and his team designed the entire seventh floor, which encompasses 13 rooms and three suites.
“That feeling of home,” was the look Kravitz told FASHION magazine he was going for with the project. “Especially the way I travel. You’re not going to be home for a few months. You’re looking to feel that renewed sense of home every day.”
One of his most publicized recent projects was the luxury condo development, 75 Kenmare Street in Downtown Manhattan’s fashionable Nolita (North of Little Italy) neighborhood, where he worked in conjunction with architect Andre Kikoski. It was a breakthrough project of sorts for Kravtiz and his company, the chance to take on an entire, high profile New York City hotel and really flex his design chops in an expansive way. The model unit, 5A (priced at $4.495 million) is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo first previewed to the press as a sign of things to come which included organic materials and graphic prints.
Kravitz told Architectural Digest, “I thought about myself living there. Of course, you have to make it work so it’s appealing to a large group of eyeballs, but I thought, If I were to live here, what would I do?” And what he did was create “a certain lushness, warmth, and moody tones.”
There are few celebrities that embody, so comprehensively, their own sense of style and that’s what Kravitz Design’s clients are paying for. The fact that Kravitz is so visible and recognizable makes him a walking billboard for his company. His high-profile friends in business and the arts are an effortless entrée to possible work projects, giving him an undoubted leg up on the competition.
Amid the large scale hotel and condo projects, last year Kravitz also found time to design luxury L.A. real estate broker Branden Williams’ home in the historic Trousdale Estates neighborhood of Beverly Hills. But whether big or small, Kravitz stresses that interior design is no vanity side project. He’s serious and committed about seeing his company grow. Design, like music, is an equal part of his creative expression.
“I’ve designed objects, watches, furnishings, wallpapers, cameras, and interiors with a style that continuously evolves: in design, just like music, I try to follow an evolutionary course,” he told Elle Decor. “If you look at my projects … underneath, there’s a common sensibility that I can’t describe in words. Interiors, for me, should be warm, inviting, sensual, and aesthetically pleasing. I like to be eclectic, mixing diverse influences, just as I do with music.”