Secreted on the lower ground floor are WCs with a shared hand wash area equipped with specially designed hanging brass tubes that light the basins and provide warm running water. This subterranean area includes antechambers, seating spaces and a black walled ‘anti-gallery’ and live performance space.
The materiality of the hotel is that of the surrounding city: brick, steel, concrete, timber, stone, plants. But their arrangement creates a spectacular and surprising internal world; part of, but also distanced from the central London location. The client’s desire for an immersive environment is manifested in a heightened appreciation of the surrounding city. Rooftop views of the neighbouring backlands and crevices of the West End give a sense of the world at one remove from the vantage of the hotel’s calm and highly sociable spaces, hidden deep within the urban block.
The hotel’s sociable and convivial ethos is enhanced through the porosity of the spaces, a theatricality heightened by glimpsed and reflected views of spaces beyond, inviting further exploration. The marble-floored courtyard is the social hub, offering an appreciation of the whole environment. Branching out from this centre, the circulation stitches together the fragments of the original building with the simply detailed new components.