G.A Design has recently completed a renovation project of the St Pancras Renaissance hotel, which first opened in 1873 under the name of the Midland Grand Hotel, originally designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott. As a Grade I listed building, the renovation posed many challenges and restrictions, as Su Doggett, Executive Director G.A Design explains:
‘The Grade I listing meant that stringent rules and restrictions had to be considered throughout the design process. The starting point was to acknowledge and appreciate the original architectural layout and design and to utilise the existing geometry as a basis to work around.’
The predominant arches of the existing façade of the station entrance were used as a backdrop to the new reception desk positions.
The freestanding desks were deliberately designed more as ‘pieces of furniture’ to sit comfortably amongst the other furniture within a ‘grand room concept’. This also allowed for a more residential approach to the design of the space that helped soften the impact of the previously external and somewhat austere space between the two hotel buildings.
In the Lobby Lounge, the selection of colours, fabrics and furniture also had to work hard to soften the impact of the rich red brick walls either side and distinctive blue steelwork and glazed roof above.
As the name suggests, the Booking Office Bar was originally used for the procurement of tickets for rail travel. The original timber paneled ticket office was retained to be used both as a back office for reception and also as a background to the bar area and the space itself was kept as one space without subdivision, either on the ground or within the vast ceiling void. In contrast to the dark timber panelling, a white Calacatta bar wraps itself around the ticket office following its contours and thereby establishing the focal point of the room.
The previous hotel contained only two communal washrooms per floor (as was the standard for hotels at the time), and so one of the biggest tasks was incorporating ensuite bathrooms into each of the guestrooms and suites.
The solution was to position the bathroom centrally along one of the existing walls and in doing so creating spaces either side that could accommodate either a dressing space with wardrobe or study space that could be used for ladies’ make-up.
The new bathrooms, featuring hansgrohe products, are deliberately contemporary and understated to avoid competing with the heavy ornamentation of its gothic surroundings. Within each of the bathrooms the guest is treated to luxurious white Calacatta lined floors and shower enclosures with matching vanity tops and bath tops.