Foster + Partners reveal flagship hotel
Monday 04 Mar 2013
The ME Hotel has opened in London – the first flagship hotel entirely designed by Foster + Partners. An elegant fusion of interior and exterior design, the scheme completes the grand sweep of buildings that make up the Aldwych Crescent, repairing the urban grain and restoring a little lost glamour to the heart of the West End.
The design integrates the construction of a new 157-bed hotel with the restoration of the adjacent 1904 Marconi House, whose interior has been entirely restructured to accommodate 87 apartments. The new hotel building occupies a triangular site and is clad in Portland stone, corresponding in height and scale to its neighbour.
The hotel rooms combine clean, minimal lines with a dramatic monochrome palette of luxurious materials. Suspended from the white leather walls of each room is a black lacquered cabinet, which incorporates a television and entertainment system, back-lit onyx shelves and the mini bar. Discreet lighting and services are seamlessly integrated, including the Lumina FLO table light by Foster + Partners. Full-height triangular bay windows project to reveal long views of the Strand.
The interior concept fuses contemporary detailing with classical traditions, its dramatic monochrome palette a combination of rich textures and luxurious natural materials. The experience draws on the idea of yin and yang, as guests move from dark to light spaces – the crisp white bedrooms are reached by reflective black marble corridors, sculpted by the angled walls of the central pyramid. The light, white interior of the rooftop bar creates a relaxed environment and draws the focus outside, while onyx wall detailing and a bold black counter continue the hotel’s interior themes.
Giles Robinson, Partner, Foster + Partners, ‘By designing the hotel inside and out, down to the last detail, we were able to maintain a high level of quality and continuity. Inside, the bold black and white interior palette establishes a strong identity – we defined the individual character of each space through variations in tone, texture and scale.’
On the tenth floor, the hotel’s rooftop terraces are an urban oasis – the Radio Rooftop Bar offers spectacular views of the river and Westminster skyline. Further guest facilities are located directly beneath the central atrium at lower ground level and include versatile conference suites, a gym and a luxury 25-seat screening room, bringing the glamour of Theatreland into the heart of the hotel.
David Nelson, Head of Design at Foster + Partners says, ’We put ourselves in the guests’ position to make sure that their experience would be exceptional...the result combines a high level of functionality with a simple, refined aesthetic.’