Leman Locke is a new 168 room hotel that we designed in the rapidly evolving East London neighborhood of Aldgate. G + P (and their client) had in mind that young, creative professionals who are increasingly nomadic for purposes of their work might like to have an option that combines the best of two worlds from a hospitality perspective: The design-led and convivial atmosphere one often finds in good boutique hotels, mixed with the convenience of an extended stay product. The process was driven by the search for a way to hold on to the aspirational excitement of a hotel stay while enjoying the advantages of something more akin to a home in one's adoptive city no matter how long - or short - the stay.
G + P faced an additional challenge in that the scheme was to be built within a newly constructed and rather sterile tower (that they did not design) so it wasn't possible to lean on the building to augment the character of the spaces. As the construction of the frame and envelope were still underway when they were working, they were able to intervene and make some changes to structural aspects that they were positively disposed to on the interior. The reception and the cafe-bar space are bifurcated by the lift lobby and they designed them to be distinct from one another yet congruent in their prioritization of light, warmth and texture. G + P also created a feature stair that almost demands to be climbed to foster the connection between the cafe-bar-forthcoming restaurant space.
G + P designed nearly all of the furniture within the rooms, from the sofas and beds to some of the light fixtures and tables. Much of this was driven by the desire to create a unique and harmonious aesthetic, but the other imperative was maximization of function and economy of space. Wanting to avoid the “transformer” vibe apparent in a lot of current micro-residential products that include murphy beds, retractable desks and flip up tables. While that approach appeals to the “inventor” side of us as architects, G + P hoped to spare guests from the chore of clearing up and manipulating their furniture when finishing a meal or getting ready for bed. The intention was to dispel the underlying sense of being unsettled which complicates the self imposed directive to inculcate the feeling of being at home while away.