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Goddard Littlefair celebrate East London with the unveiling of Mondrian Shoreditch

Hospitality experts Goddard Littlefair have taken on the interiors for Mondrian’s much-anticipated Shoreditch outpost, researching the history and social fabric of the area to give guests a flavour of vibrant east London.

28/09/2021 4 min read

During a ‘normal’ year we are inundated with a bevy of hot new hospitality openings, and, after a brief hiatus of 18 months, 2021 looks to be no different. As our thoughts drift to a future of traffic-light-free travel, Mondrian Shoreditch has opened its doors – one of the most anticipated London openings of the year, and one we were keen to peek inside.

‘When it came to designing the Mondrian, we delved deep into the history of the area to represent the colourful social fabric of Shoreditch throughout the hotel, a concept we envisioned in the early stages of the design process and a detail we then built on throughout,’ Goddard Littlefair’s Jo Goddard tells us.

‘At the heart of our concept is the inspiration we have taken from art and literature, including the traditional nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons – due to the hotel’s proximity to churches that feature in the historical rhyme,’ says Jo. ‘The longer and much less well-known version of the rhyme paints a wonderful picture of the city in the 16th and 17th century. The influence can be interpreted into the design of the interior in many different elements, from lighting to materiality.’

To bring this inspiration to life, upon entering the hotel, guests are met with spherical forms, hints of fruity colours and a youthful energy, which provide a playful framework for the interior design. The reception and lobby feature reflective finishes, with impressive artwork installations (now typical of the Mondrian portfolio), including gilded glass panels by Studio Peascod depicting a rising copper sun: ‘A ray of Californian sunshine arriving in Shoreditch,’ describes Jo.

In line with Mondrian’s artistic spirit, a homage to well-known installation artist Yayoi Kusama has been created: a fully mirrored room with colour change globes to the perimeter, large enough for a small group to stand in and take selfies: ‘The hotel’s Instagram moment,’ Jo explains. Globe lights circle the room, giving the viewer a sense that they are seeing themselves in infinity.

A modern interpretation of the gas lanterns that were once local London streetlights are used throughout the reception lobby and ground floor, increasing in scale and stacked in tiers. Produced by Hoad & More, the lanterns draw guests from the external lobby into the new bar area, Christina’s Shoreditch. Inside, a curved copper bar transforms with the use of light, changing the ambience in the room across the day, while an assorted mix of large planting adds a natural touch. A large-scale, hand-painted mural by Fred Coppin fills the clay-rendered bulkhead above the bar and features a collection of intriguing objects alongside Fred’s signature botanical shapes.

The rooftop restaurant, Altitude at The Curtain, is dressed with striped and festooned shade structures. A black framed pergola is softened with festooned striped fabric, and the oversized rattan pendants and cane furniture offer a relaxed vibe. The influence of biophilia runs throughout the space, with planting taking a centre stage, curated by local planting connoisseurs, Conservatory Archives. The form of foliage is translated onto fabrics and walls through an oversized mural hand-painted by Lucy Robinson, Associate at Goddard Littlefair, who led the interior design team – inspired by the bold shapes found in Californian street art.

The design studio paid close attention to the café bar and rooftop spaces to ensure that the areas worked throughout the day as meeting, working, and eating spaces that could transform into alluring evening venues. Each of the public spaces link together but also have a distinct narrative, always drawing upon the rich history of east London.

Goddard Littlefair’s specialist food and beverage division, Epicurean, was responsible for the design of the BiBo restaurant – founded by three Michelin Star chef, Dani García. When working with a chef of such international regard it’s only natural that the studio took great influence from his work, ethos and cuisine – bringing some of these influences into the restaurant space. BiBo itself also has a brand identity and colour palette that heavily permeates the design scheme, and the studio dovetailed the identity of Mondrian spirit with García’s culinary legacy.

Located on the lower ground floor of the hotel, Goddard Littlefair’s intention for BiBo was to be a theatrical, urban space with a lively energy for casual lunches and spirited dinners, with globe lights cascading in ripples down the stairs, enticing guests into the impressive restaurant space.

Upstairs, the 120 guestrooms refresh encapsulates a luxurious, theatrical aesthetic, with clean white brick walls framing the headboard wall and the guest dining table areas lifted with uplifting colours a contemporary style. White pendant globes above the dining table connect the bedrooms to the concept running through the hotel, while the artwork selections draw local influence and inspiration.

‘The design process begins by listening keenly to the brief and the client in the early stages. We then have to ensure we’re on the same page and prioritising the same elements as those outlined in the brief,’ Jo tells us about the initial stages of the project. ‘Constantly checking against this throughout the design process is vital; producing early and loose options is crucial to being able to talk through the pros and cons of each avenue to try and nail down that definitive brief which will create the DNA for the design aspiration.’

This latest project comes hot on the heels of Accor’s acquisition of sbe’s hotel brands in Q4 2020, and its planned joint venture with Ennismore, which will see the creation of one of the world’s largest and fastest growing lifestyle operators in 2021.

Photography: Mel Yates

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