Next stop: Contiki
An exciting new space has been introduced to Bedford Way, London, for travellers coming from overseas to continue their adventure in Europe. ‘The Basement’ is located directly beneath the Royal National Hotel and travellers come here to check-in, plan tours around London and meet up with fellow travellers.
Responsible for the interior design process at Contiki was Jordan Littler Interior Design, an independent design consultancy specialising in interiors that excite and inspire. With 13 years’ experience in commercial interior design, the company builds strong relationships with its clients to deliver successful projects.
According to Jordan Littler, Managing Director of Jordan Littler Interior Design:
“The concept of the venue is focused on creating a fun, social, welcoming space for travellers where they can connect with each other and plan the rest of their trip. We expanded the current offer in the basement to include a digital photo booth connected to Twitter and Facebook to increase their social presence.
“The design phase began at the end of 2015. The project began on site in February and underwent a quick four week build time and was open for the beginning of March 2016.
“So far it has received great feedback from the travellers; but ultimately the staff members are much happier working in a brighter, smarter environment that they can be proud of as previously the basement was dark, dated and didn’t reflect the strong, exciting Contiki brand.”
Approaching the basement, visitors enter from street level into a small covered ‘garden’ area with fake grass and a picnic bench for a convivial effect. Through the main doors visitors are greeted with an open reception area and one of the many handmade wall murals produced by Soulful Creative, introducing some of the prominent Contiki branding to the space.
A kitchen bar area is complete with a handmade map of London, integrated iPads and a vending machine full of Tim-tams and Vegemite. There is a lounge space with deep, comfortable fixed seating that encourages people to recline and lay down as some of the travellers arrive in the early hours or late in the evening. This area also has a large library wall for bric-a-brac and book swapping. The rear of the basement houses a games room with table tennis and modern hanging chairs.
From the kitchen, the lounge area wraps around the columns to create a seating area that focuses inwards to encourage socialising but also allows for large groups to be inducted by a Contiki staff member. The venue was designed to accommodate up to 75 seated travellers, but can hold up to 150 people on busy periods.
“As we had a tight budget we focused on cost effective but hard wearing materials that would enable the scheme to age well and be easy to maintain over time but also add a bit of much needed character.
“The wall artwork was a big part of the scheme. We worked very closely with Mark Crowther at Soulful Creative to try and create something that captured the spirit and core values of the brand as it was important that we introduce colour and interest to help define each area. The photo booth was also an important feature to try and give the basement social media presence.
“The artwork ended up being one of the biggest challenges for us – we didn’t expect this as we didn’t realise it can be so subjective. We went back and forth with the client to make sure we were getting a good balance of branding and illustration so it didn’t feel commercial but also didn’t feel too superficial.”
When asked what it means to the company to be involved with the Contiki basement, Jordan replied:
“Contiki are a huge, well established company who have been doing their thing since 1962 and to be asked to come on board and work closely with them to develop a space like this is very exciting. It’s also interesting to see a company really think about how they want to portray themselves in a physical environment – as well as to see what is right for the brand. It’s also great to create something that exceeds expectations but also works on an operational level which is the most important thing.”
Craftwood Interiors Ltd.
Craftwood specialise in the design, manufacture and installation of bespoke banquette seating for use within the hospitality and leisure sector. The company – which prides itself on its high quality seating and years of experience – has been in operation for 15 years and within this time has worked on a range of prestigious projects, including the seat pads at Contiki.
Vicki Willisson-Hill, HR & Marketing Manager for Craftwood, said:
“We worked closely alongside Jordan Littler to create seat pad styles to suit the design intent. Once our various samples were approved, Craftwood manufactured the custom seat pads in Contiki. We are really proud of the seat pads we created and we think Jordan has done a great job transforming this venue.”