REVIEW: NOMAD LONDON, UK
One of the most eagerly anticipated openings of the decade, NoMad London was due to welcome in the public last year… so now with imposed restrictions lifted and finishing touches made, finally we can welcome the project to the city.
NoMad’s first forays into the European market has been a long-awaited arrival, with the former Bow Street Magistrates Court property having been under project negotiation for more than a decade. Positioned in London’s hugely popular West End, the 19th century police station in Covent Garden is located opposite the Royal Opera House. With 91 keys, the property introduces the brand’s trademark playful elegance to this historically significant building.
With inspiration coming from the storied building itself, the hotel was designed in collaboration with London based architectural studio, EPR Architects, and the highly awarded New York based firm Roman and Williams. Sydell, the acclaimed American developer, has a history of collaboration with Roman and Williams having worked with them as the developer of Ace New York and have collaborated with them on all the Freehand Hotels. Sydell worked with the designers at NoMad London to infuse their classic layering and patina with NoMad richness and refinement taking their design to a whole new level of luxury.
Speaking about the project, the team at Roman and Williams said the building offered up plenty of inspiration. “Our relationship with Andrew Zobler and the Sydell Group was first established when we worked together on the Ace Hotel in New York. With the NoMad Hotel itself drawing its origins in New York, it is a fitting combination that we were commissioned for the rebirth of the building and the establishment of the brand’s presence in London. We were interested in reanimating the historic architecture of the courthouse building, understanding its history but not fetishizing it. When old buildings have been out of operation you often see nature starting to reclaim nooks and crannies. We loved how nature was breaking into this strong, muscular building – the softness creeping in was a big inspiration.”
The transformation of the historic building explores the artistic and cultural connection between London and New York and offers a culture of gracious hospitality combined with understated elegance and comfort, with interior schemes set to wow visitors. At the heart of the building, food and beverage offerings play a major role, as would be expected and there are a number of dining and drinking experiences throughout the Grade II-listed building.
Mark Bruce, Director and Head of Hotels at EPR Architects, expressed a real joy for the Bow Street project. “It has been a privilege to work with the Sydell Group, on delivering the first of their renowned NoMad branded hotels outside of America,” he said. “In their selection of the historic Bow Street magistrates Court in London’s vibrant Covent Garden, a building originally designed to securely detain defendants including the Kray Twins and Oscar Wilde, the Sydell group required an imaginative architectural solution to transform this once fortified building into a warm and welcoming hotel. By retaining much of the Court House and Police Stations original form we were able to embrace and celebrate the building’s rich history and harness much of its unique character whilst with the introduction of a new glass covered courtyard, inspired by the glazed roofs of the neighbouring flower market, a striking contrast was formed between the old and the new – releasing the potential for a unique hotel and a social haven on the edge of the bustling Covent Garden district.”
The hotel’s all-day dining space will be housed in its light filled atrium – a vast space that looks skyward to the elegant lighting and botanics seemingly floating in the air. The huge glass apex creating cover whilst offering a mesmerising view of the heavens. Light and airy in appearance, it offers a palette cleanser to the dark and flamboyant interiors to be found in the bars and dinning spaces inside.
Side Hustle evokes the comfort of a pub-like environment paired with the refinement of NoMad’s signature style. Located on the corner where the entrance to the police station once stood. The design of the space reflects the origins of the building combining rich brown leather and dark green textured walls layered with a menu showcasing the flavours and colours native to Mexico. Martin Parr’s highly saturated photography also adds colour and context to the Police narrative.
The Library has been designed as a place of relaxation, a quiet offering of respite from the city, and carries the feel of high-spec residential. Heavy drapery and floor-to-ceiling cabinetry draws the guest in to cosy up amongst the warm colours to explore and discover new worlds from.
In the first-ever NoMad lounge, Common Decency, Londoners will find an experience unlike any other. A lively, East London style craft cocktail bar complimented by elements of Westend London’s establishments. This night-time space, housed in a subterranean playground, filled with deep colours and tactile surfaces, will feature DJ talent in a setting that toes the line of what is proper.
Lighting designers at Hoare Lea worked closely with EPR architects and Roman and Williams interior designers to create a lighting scheme that discretely accentuated the beautiful architecture of this heritage building while creating an atmosphere and elegance that the NoMad brand is famous for.
Carefully considered architectural lighting combined with decorative focus pieces delivered an interior that allows guests to escape the hustle and bustle of central London and relax and unwind in luxury. The lighting is a perfect balance between the celebration of the grand Victorian architecture with its generous ceiling heights while creating an intimacy and warmth for guests to experience.
The architectural lighting throughout the front of house spaces including the Reception, Atrium, Magistrate’s Ballroom, and three Bars were delivered by a combination of downlights and spotlight from Precision Lighting. Chosen for their discrete design, custom finishes and excellent optical performance. These elements draw out the rich colour and texture of the interiors while minimising their impact on the space.
The decorative lighting comprises of a mixture of original heritage pieces and bespoke purposed made luminaires. These complement the scale of the spaces while adding sparkle and magical visual interest. “The NoMad brand is all about transporting its guests away from the world outside by creating a haven to retreat to. We wanted to use the lighting to bring out the richly layered interiors to create the drama and comfort the hotel deserves,” said Ben Acton from Hoare Lea Lighting.
Guest rooms at NoMad London are reminiscent of artist residences with a truly eclectic collection of artwork and furnishings. A pale palette allows for a calming backdrop to key items of dark wood furniture offset by playful and feminine soft furnishings and soft textures. High ceilings and generous living space is framed by huge windows allowing natural light to flood in, but despite the scale of the building and the rooms, somehow manages to retain a feeling of warmth and friendliness rather than being too overwhelming or cumbersome. In all, it’s a beautiful mix of styling that feels approachable but exciting all at the same time. London has a space to be truly proud of in yet another success for the city.
DESIGN: Roman and Williams
ARCHITECTURE: EPR Architects
FIT OUT: Beck Interiors
LIGHTING DESIGN: Hoare Lea
SUPPLIERS: Lighting: Precision Lighting Argan bath amenities: Côté Bastide Luxury baths and basins: Ashton and Bentley Surface design: Fameed Khalique Hardwood flooring: Havwoods Switch plates: Wandsworth Electrical Artwork: Caroline Denervaud Kitchen supply and installation: Cucina