The Lanesborough London
The Lanesborough London’s extensive renovation, which transformed the luxury hotel’s bedroom suites and public areas, has been rewarded with being shortlisted in three categories in the European Hotel Design Awards 2016.
Located on the borders of Knightsbridge and Belgravia, with panoramic views of Hyde Park, the venue offers guests 93 bedrooms, 43 of which are suites with the largest being The Royal Suite. The renovation of the Grade II building, which began on the 20th December 2013 and was completed in 2015, extended to all public areas of the hotel including the restaurant, The Library Bar, seven private dining rooms and the back-of-house areas.
Working alongside main contractors Beck Interiors, ReardonSmith acted as Lead Design Consultant and Architect with the responsibility of coordinating the refurbishment and remodelling of The Lanesborough in close collaboration with the interior designers, Studio Alberto Pinto. They were also responsible for negotiating all planning and listed building consents, and for maintaining close dialogue with English Heritage and Westminster Conservation officers to ensure that the national asset was protected and enhanced.
As well as this, ReardonSmith lead the design in the refurbishment of the back-of-house areas and the exterior, which included the specification of new thermally efficient roofs to enhance the environmental credentials of the building.
The Alberto Pinto Studio team were asked to combine classical refinement and contemporary luxury in order to reflect the signature style of the hotel and honour the building’s architectural heritage as one of London’s most revered Regency landmarks. “Our eclectic approach to residential décor and our classic vision complemented the tastes and aesthetic of The Lanesborough,” commented Linda Pinto of Alberto Pinto Interior Design.
Dolby & Taylor were enlisted by Studio Alberto Pinto for all embellishments within the hotel, which included 2,000 hours of stencilling to ensure everything was handcrafted to perfection. A total of 5,500 original stencils are now showcased throughout guest rooms and within The Library Bar.
Throughout the Library Bar the previously dark mahogany panelling was stripped back to reveal a warm, mid-toned timber further refined by the introduction of exquisite decorative panels which were hand-painted in Italy. The bar itself has been shortlisted in the EHDA 2016 in the ‘Bar’ category, which is the first of the three categories in which the hotel is nominated.
A host of the finest British suppliers were sourced for the refurbishment including Bennison Fabrics, George Smith Furniture and Brinton’s Carpets. “Keeping with the British tradition of The Lanesborough we sourced the finest British suppliers with over 95 % of materials specially made for the Lanesborough,” added Linda. Exceptions included the Italian sourced marble featured within the bathrooms.
A team of artisans used age-old techniques, known to be used in decorating palaces, and were entrusted to deliver a distinctive form of luxury. The craftsmen specialised in their fields which included embroiderers, crystal specialists, cabinet makers, bronzers, lacquerers, gilders, mirror specialists, and makers of decorative trimmings.
Numerous original detailing was restored during the project including ceiling roses, coffering, cornicing and fresco painting. Award-winning British artisans in plaster Locker & Riley, had skilled teams of artists, model makers and master craftsmen to produce a unique plasterwork design for each room upon Studio Alberto Pinto’s request and control. 2,100 books of 23 ¼ carat gold leaf were used to elaborately dress the ceilings of public areas and guest rooms, re-imagining the Regency period and reflecting the heritage of the building.
The hotel’s guest rooms are grouped into five design schemes, to reflect the Regency period, with each group consisting of three rich jewel colours that create warmth, harmony and comfort. 14 different types of bed canopies hang within the rooms, with hand stitches and bespoke tailoring using the highest quality fabrics.
Each marble block for the new all-marble bathrooms were individually chosen and acute attention was given to ensure that each slab was set out for perfect book-matching. “Nearly all of the 93 guestrooms are unique and different from each other. Very few of them bear any resemblance to how they were before,” added Linda.
The Royal Suite was reinstated as The Lanesborough’s largest suite, extending across 450m2. It comprises of seven bedrooms and bathrooms, two living rooms and a dining room. The suite exudes exquisite taste, impeccable British craftsmanship and attention to period detail and because of this it has been shortlisted in the ‘Suite’ category at the EHDA 2016.
The Portuguese marble in the entrance lobby was refurbished and, with rigorous attention to matching, extended throughout the public circulation areas. The stone panels on the walls were revived and mirrors are now inset into the arched niches. The Royal Entrance was transformed with trompe l’oeil painted walls and ceilings to create the appearance of fabric gathered to form an elaborate tented structure.
The ceilings were replaced throughout the public areas with highly decorative fibrous plaster, with each room getting its own unique design. Central to the design plan was the concealment of all air conditioning grills and access panels which have been hidden within the all-new wall and ceiling mouldings or behind resin panels designed to perfectly replicate the mouldings.
Delicate marquetry panelling was introduced to line the walls of the St. Georges Room with chandeliers, also in The Belgravia Room, inspired by a 1860 chandelier manufactured by Perry & Co of New Bond Street, often found in Royal Palaces. The Belgravia Room was remodelled, opening it up into a single grand function room with antiqued Venetian fluted mirrored pilasters and hand-engraved mirrored crystal window pelmets displaying at their centre a crest which pays homage to the name of the room. Due to this remodelling, The Belgravia Room has been shortlisted in the ‘Event Space’ category at the EHDA 2016.
The Lanesborough’s restaurant was fully refitted to reflect the Regency-inspired design brief with new hand-modelled frieze panels to match the new fibrous plaster ceilings. At the entrance to the restaurant, bespoke wine stores were created to hold the hotel’s large collection of fine wines. The two original staircases were also retained and restored.
To complement the lightened interiors, an unprecedented 54 chandeliers were made by family run business Wilkinson, specialists in English crystal chandeliers. All of the lead crystal glass was blown in the UK, hand cut and polished in Kent. The largest chandelier to hang in the restaurant weighs 200kg and stretches two metres wide, illuminating the delicate bas relief and Wedgwood china mounted on the walls of the grand restaurant.
For such a detailed and luxurious refurbishment, it was a real labour of love by all those involved. “Personally I was pleased to see Alberto’s vision achieved. He would have been so proud,” commented Linda. “As the Interior Designer of a Hotel shortlisted for the EHDA 2016 it is a great honour for our ‘reconnaissance’ for the work that we did to be recognised. Since the beginning, our vision was to try to keep the soul of the hotel with very high requirements in terms of quality.”
Jonathan Charles Fine Furniture
Jonathan Charles Fine Furniture is the vision of Jonathan Sowter, an English cabinetmaker who excels at the art of fine antique reproduction. The company designs and manufactures the highest-quality European antique replicas, as well as their own unique transitional designs. The key factor in all of the designs and production is the meticulous attention to detail and exceptional quality standards, which sets Jonathan Charles Fine Furniture apart.
Based in Vietnam, Jonathan founded the company in 2004 with just ten employees and a handful of designs. With success and growth, Jonathan Charles is now over 2,000 employees, releasing around 200 new designs each April & October. Jonathan Charles Fine Furniture expanded their factory and moved to Bình Dương Province in 2014, allowing them to enter into the hotel market and grow their OEM customers.
Since their entry into the hotel sector in 2014 Jonathan Charles Fine Furniture has worked with The Lanesborough in London, Intercontinental Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam, The Singular Hotel in Santiago and Patagonia, Seybrook Point Inn in Connecticut, Conrad Hilton Hotel in Doha, The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi in Malaysia, and are consistently working on new proposals.
Working on The Lanesborough, Jonathan Charles manufactured the loose furniture for the guestrooms, suites, and public areas throughout the hotel. The company worked closely with Alberto Pinto Paris’s design team on The Lanesborough project to ensure the furniture designs were traditional replicas that fit the history of the hotel and its English style.
Jonathan Sowter, Founder of Jonathan Charles, said:
“The partnership with The Lanesborough was a perfect match. The Lanesborough was looking for traditional designs that replicated old English antiques with the highest quality materials, which is our forte. Being one of the most prestigious five-star hotels in London, this partnership allowed us to showcase our master craftsman skills to a high end customer base.”
“Every element of every piece of furniture is manufactured in our factory; we do not outsource anything! Our passion for detail and making sure all aspects of the design are perfect is what led us to create our own in-house foundry, in which we manufacture our own hardware. This allows us to design furniture with one-of-a-kind pulls, hinges, locks, and even keys. Controlling all aspects of production for each piece of furniture brings us endless possibilities when designing.”