Explore the latest projects from the UK’s commercial interiors industry, featuring the best of workspace, hospitality, residential and public sectors.

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London reloaded: Creating the UK’s first nhow hotel

The first nhow Hotel has opened in London – a smörgåsbord of colour, punk and British icons.

13/05/2020 3 min read

Let us set the scene: a curvy, lime green reception desk greets you on arrival, as you notice the Big Ben rocket taking off in the middle of the lobby. Visitors to the new nhow Hotel, situated on the edge of Shoreditch, are immediately immersed in a vibrant and colourful menagerie of objects and furniture, blended together to create a bold statement.

The modern 190-room hotel sits within the new Foster + Partners designed mixed-use development, 250 City Road, and is the first UK venture from the brand. Developed by NH Hotel Group, nhow London joins a portfolio of hotels in Berlin, Rotterdam, Milan and Marseille. The building features a restaurant, bar, gym, networking spaces and meeting rooms.

There is certainly no shortage of wham-bam-attention-grabbing design details throughout the hotel, embodying the ‘London Reloaded’ theme conceived by award-winning design studio, Project Orange. This unique theme takes on traditional British icons such as the Royal Family, London landmarks and the underground, all styled in an unconventional and contemporary way.

The project involved the conversion of the 8-storey 102,310 sq ft building from a shell and core into a 190 room 4-star quality hotel. We spoke with Andrew Geldard, Chief Communications Officer at Willmott Dixon, who completed the fit-out to deliver the interiors for the UK’s first nHow hotel.

 

Willmott Dixon Interiors was tasked with bringing its customer’s very distinctive ideas to life. ‘We took over the design at RIBA Stage 3 and proceeded to develop it through the follow-on stages, producing a vibrant, stylish and ‘off the wall’ hotel,’ Andrew tells us. ‘This included looking at all design items from a buildability perspective and making the relevant changes to ensure the end product not only looked the part but would stand the test of time and usage of a busy London hotel.’

Willmott Dixon Interiors had worked with the architect – EPR – on numerous occasions but were working for the first time with the Project Orange team. ‘Project Orange had been involved in the project from the early stages and were responsible for the London-themed design you see today,’ explains Andrew.

 

The specific theme for the hotel is Old London Reloaded, which is woven through all aspects of the project – from a London Underground themed gym, colourful furniture on pixilated carpets, a striking LED fireplace and pop art displayed across the lobby and bedroom interior. British monarchs such as Henry VIII and Queen Anne feature on the bathroom walls – with their modesty pixelated, of course.

‘By implementing this design, Project Orange planned to provide an inviting space where the tradition and innovation collide, and old London is reloaded – allowing nhow Hotel’s interior to soak up the industrial past and technological future of the London location where cultural, social and artistic trends are emerging,’ adds Andrew.

 

The design has several unique features, with every room having curved walls and bulkheads, with shadow gaps incorporated into the curves. The ground floor has a number of quirky and elaborate design features, including a lime green bar, curvy and colourful restaurant, fire-lit snug and giant Big Ben rocket blasting up from the floor.

‘With an absolute focus on quality, the project uses a vast array of materials to complement each other. Rough finish concrete joins high fibrous plaster and joinery. Detail was absolutely key to the project’s success,’ says Andrew. ‘It was challenging to produce to the high quality standard required, but with careful planning and regular design workshops, each challenge was met, and the finish looks amazing.’

In the world of sleek hospitality interiors, nhow is a welcome splash of colour amidst a sea of neutral tones. Even if you’re not a guest at this exciting new hotel, it’s certainly worth a visit to grab a drink in this brilliant space (in the hopefully not too distant future!).

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