Hilton Bankside, London
Designed in partnership with London-based architect and interior design practice Dexter Moren Associates and design studio twenty2degrees, Hilton London Bankside is one of London’s newest hotels and opens in area playing a large role in the dramatic urban redevelopment of Bankside, London.
With a strong focus on design, each part of the property has been carefully created to reflect the fascinating history and ambiance of the surrounding area, combining Bankside’s authentic urban grittiness and polished contemporary design. Inspired by the authenticity and history of the local Bankside neighbourhood, a combination of urban and Brutalist architecture and fine polished features are central to the signature design and luxury feel of the new Hilton London Bankside.
“Hilton London Bankside was a hugely exciting project for us. From the very beginning, when we were given the brief in 2005, we knew that we had a fantastic opportunity to be a true part of the regeneration of Bankside as an area. We took the ethos and quality of service that is synonymous with Hilton and combined it with the grittiness of Bankside to create what we think of as something very special” Joseph Stella, Partner at twenty2Degrees commented.
It is obvious – from its lighting, furniture and general ambiance – that the hotel is worlds away from traditional Hilton hotels. It has its own identity and no better example of this is more apparent than from when guests first enter the building. Above the entrance foyer, diagonal strip LEDs, while the long, floating light fitting above the reception area, designed for the space by Twenty2Degrees and Dexter Moren Associates, draws the eye upwards, exaggerating the height of the lobby.
Each of the polished ‘black and gold’ marble reception pods create a jewel-box contrast against the “rebar” wall art, whilst the use of marble in the lift surrounds helps bring continuity to such a large space.
The light-weight decorative pendants use thin tubular steel with ribbed glass globes, and were inspired by mid-century materiality and the light-weight kinetic mobiles of American sculptor Alexander Calder. The sweeping ellipse of the fitting is mirrored in the oval seating arrangement, helping pull the space together.
The public areas are social hubs with edgy yet refined interiors throughout. The bar is cosy and intimate yet reflects the urban history of the area into the lighting and walls, while the flooring is colourful and creative somewhat symbolising the modern Bankside.
OXBO Bankside, with its two chef’s tables, has its own identity within the hotel. Despite catering for up to 168 covers, the decorative perforated steel screens provide privacy in the relatively large space as well as being strategically positioned to allow guests to be grouped within smaller areas to ensure the restaurant retains its ‘buzz’ whatever the time of day. The pressed tin ceiling provides texture, while the rustic wood panelling gives the room warmth and the black and white Victorian-inspired tiles give a sense of historic permanence.
The ghost mural, painted by Diarmund Bryon-O’Connor, found in OXBO Restaurant is a reference to the original Rose Tea Mural on Union Street, Southwark. The original mural belonged to James Ashby & Sons Ltd at 195-205 Union Street who started importing and selling tea in 1850. A number of “ghost signs” can be found around this area of London and OXBO’s mural pays homage to these artistic reminders of this area’s historic importance as a trade hub.
The design concept in the guest rooms is ‘urban industrial with a luxury twist’. As in the lobby, the focus on lighting can be seen, with exposed bulbs and glass pendants framing the beds. Tones of grey, green, dusty pink and natural wood create a relaxed, stylish feel and the furniture has been chosen for ultimate ease and comfort, from the supremely comfortable beds to the window-side reclining chairs. In many of the rooms, the fox motif is displayed in the form of Peter Osborne’s sculpture. Osborne’s geometric sculpture also mimics the angular construction of the building of the hotel and is a more thoughtful and unexpected piece of art than the generic prints sometimes found in hotel bedrooms.
A Living Gallery
An individual collection of art, curated by the art consultants Peter Millard and Partners Ltd, is displayed throughout the property, showcasing a selection of young British artists including David Farrer, Simon Bingle and Kathy Dalwood. The work of these artists reflects the urbane and sometimes gritty life of Bankside, such as the graffiti wall panel outside the main entrance by Niki Hare. Each piece has been carefully picked to complement the industrial and urban theme and finishes including patinated tin ceilings, open metal beams and wrought iron lighting.
The hotel also features Bankside’s largest and most exquisite Ballroom accommodating up to 700 guests theatre style or 600 in a banquet setting. With a private entrance, a six-metre high ceiling, dramatic chandeliers, a balcony and sweeping marble staircase leading to the Bankside Ballroom, this is a spectacular venue for any grand celebration, fashion show, awards ceremony or corporate event.
“Hilton London Bankside epitomises our approach to design responding to project context: ‘everywhere is an idea’. From the exterior, we wanted the building to relate to its existing neighbours, and echo the urban character of Bankside, then within, we were able to create striking stories directly inspired by the this thriving neighbourhood”. Adds Ben Tilston, Associate at Dexter Moren Associates.
After seeing the Hilton Amsterdam Airport, Schiphzl (see Q1/16 issue of SPACE), we could well be seeing next generation of Hilton hotels, where location is – even more so than before – very much the centre of design. Both these newly opened hotels use design and innovation as the roots of each hotel. As a result, both properties blend into their surroundings while amplifying the Hilton brand worldwide.
Photography: Jack Hardy
Architecture: Dexter Moren Associates
Interior Design: Dexter Moren Associates/ twenty2Degrees