Photography by Mr Christian Kain | Words by Ms Maya Claughton
Walking into the cool, marbled lobby of Cipriani Downtown Ibiza, one could be forgiven for forgetting they were in Ibiza at all. The sleek walnut panelling, the grandiose chill in the air and the quiet buzz of purposeful activity all conspire to make this seem more like a film set, with actors playing waiters and a movie star playing Mr Giuseppe Cipriani himself.
Born in 1965, Mr Cipriani is the scion of one of the restaurant world's most influential families; his grandfather, also Giuseppe, opened the legendary Harry's Bar in Venice in 1931, pausing only briefly to invent carpaccio and the Bellini along the way. Giuseppe Jr's father followed in 1932 (named Arrigo - perhaps the only man to be named after a bar) and the seeds were sown for a brand that would eventually come to define the lives of four generations.
Upon first meeting with Mr Cipriani, the old adage that "clothes maketh the man" springs to mind. He is elegance personified in his razor-cut dinner jacket and white linen trousers, like a modern-day Mr Cary Grant, and appears utterly at home in this polished marble slice of Ibiza's Gran Hotel. With properties in New York, Venice, Porto Cervo and Hong Kong, among others, we talked to Mr Cipriani about his new Ibiza playground, and the style that launched an empire.
Why did you choose this particular space in the Ibiza Gran Hotel?
I chose the space because of the location - it's perfect - and the fact that we are in a hotel. The hotel aspect makes business a lot easier because you can use permits that are already in place, the late licences and all the legalities. There are a lot of advantages to being in a hotel.
Why is Ibiza right for Cipriani?
Ibiza became more of an international destination, where more and more of our customers end up. It's quite a long season at five months and the weather is beautiful. I think it's going to become increasingly a destination for international travellers - more Americans are coming each year as they discover House music and I just felt it was the right time and place to do something here.
The Cipriani brand is very masculine and you come from a family of strong men. Did that influence the style?
It's masculine, yes, but elegant. Actually what we tried to achieve with design is that the place shouldn't be overwhelmed with heaviness. We like to keep it light and open and there is a lot of outdoor space here so we can achieve that. This was an easy venue to work with, probably the easiest. The hardest thing is a place with really low ceilings - that's what made 59th Street in New York difficult.
The brand identity owes a lot to the Art Deco movement - why is that?
Art Deco is something that never bores me, so I tend to fall into a light Art Deco style - nothing too heavy though. The style doesn't detract from anything else and makes a great canvas to work from.
You have locations all over the world. Has there ever been a dream location that hasn't happened yet?
This is the closest thing to that dream. This is the fantasy, because it's a great place to live. I come from an island - I was born in Venice - and every city that I've ever lived in has been connected to the water. I can't be too far from the water for too long.
You're technically the face of Cipriani - do you find it hard to keep a distance between your personal and professional lives?
Not really, because after all, when you work in this business, the business becomes who you are. It's quite natural - my father before me, and my grandfather before him and now my kids too - we all work in the same business and really your work becomes just a part of your daily life. Of course it interferes with your private life, but that's just the way it is. The next Cipriani is going to be in Miami and my son will be in charge of that project. My kids seem to like the business too so I hope that they will carry it on. You can't force anyone into it though - the hours are long and it is hard. It becomes your life.
How do you relax?
I race cars. It relaxes my mind. I race with kids that are 22, 23 - it's called Auto GP, it's a championship sport and I race all over the world. I used to race when I was young and in the past five years I went back to it. In two weeks I will race in Brazil.
How would you describe your lifestyle in terms of travel? Are you constantly on the move or do you have a permanent base?
Well, actually, I was travelling a lot until I moved to Ibiza, because I like it so much that I want to stay here. My travel schedule has been cut in half since I moved here.
When you travel, what are your essentials and how do you pack?
I pack light. I tend to travel to cities where I have businesses and I always leave some of my clothes there, so I try to travel without any luggage at all. I have the same pieces in each city.
How would you describe your personal style?
I don't follow trends. I have the same tailor that I've had for 15 years, and I only changed to him because my old tailor died! I would define myself as "old-style" - I don't wear designer clothes but everything is handmade.
Is there any man who inspires you, either in terms of success, style, or something else?
To be honest, not really. I've always looked at what my father and my grandfather did and they always worked very hard and I do too. I'm not an envious person so I'm really happy with what I am. I never wanted to be anyone else. Only when I'm racing cars. Then I wish I could be faster! That's probably the only time that I ever wish for anything else, when I wish I could just be faster...