Richmond International 50th Anniversary
Having spent much of its history bringing to life some of the most remarkable, innovative and desirable design schemes in hotels across the globe, Richmond International is celebrating 50 years in operation.
Founded by Bob Lush and originally operating as Richmond Designs, Richmond International has grown from a small joinery company to a full-fledged architecture and design consultancy that has become synonymous with redefining hospitality interiors. The ability to create quality and distinctly unique schemes has led Richmond across the globe and enabled them to establish a multitude of long-standing relationships with prestigious hotel groups including the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and The Langham Hotels & Resorts.
Keen to find out a little more about Richmond International, Premier Hospitality recently caught up with Fiona Thompson to ask her a few questions about some of Richmond International’s projects.
The Beaumont was opened by acclaimed restaurateurs Corbin and King in Autumn 2014 after converting a former Mayfair car garage into a five-star bespoke hotel. Richmond International was commissioned to design the interiors, encapsulating the elegance, glamour and personalised hospitality of pre-war Mayfair.
Hi Fiona, please tell us about some of The Beaumont’s unique elements.
“The Beaumont has a number of elements that make it distinctly unique. Set within a Grade II listed former garage, all that remains of the original building is the façade. The whole design of this new building is very much in the spirit of Art Deco, influenced by the likes of Etham Palace and Bexhill Pavillion. The hotel is inspired by private members hotels with a strong emphasis on the F&B offerings as destinations in themselves.”
Opened in June 2004 following a multi-million pound refurbishment project, Gresham Palace has played a significant role in the renaissance of Budapest. Built in 1906, the building’s interior was transformed by Richmond with standout features including a two million-piece mosaic tile floor, a grand staircase and stained-glass floors.
How important was the restoration aspect of the project?
“Richmond’s work on Gresham Palace was a landmark project for us, and one which won us a number of accolades. The only remnant of the original building which remain today are the front and side facades, the rest of the property has been completely gutted. It was important for us that this new building was designed in the spirit of the secessionist period and in order to achieve this we worked with a number of local craftsmen, to give the building a culturally relevant feel.”
Four Seasons Moscow
Built on the same spot as the legendary Hotel Moskva, Four Seasons Hotel Moscow recreates its predecessor’s unique asymmetric exterior design. Richmond was tasked with blending references to the past with contemporary luxury.
How does the Four Seasons Moscow design blend references to the past with modern luxury?
“As a reconstruction of the famous Moskva hotel near the Kremlin, The Four Seasons Moscow stands as a piece of Soviet history. Originally built in the 1930s, the former Hotel Moskova hosted many of the key figures in Russian history and was the unofficial base for the Soviet Union’s political and cultural power players. Richmond International were engaged to complete the total interiors scheme for this property to create a contemporary homage to a great, historic icon.
“With references to the past and drawing on the original’s majestic spirit, Richmond have transformed this hotel into what is undoubtedly, the grandest hotel in Russia. In particular, the spa is a perfect example of where references to the past have been blended with modern luxury. The design has been heavily influenced by Eastern European Hamams, with its use of pattern, texture and materials, which can be coined as a contemporary take on traditional Russian materials and patterns.”
The Langham, London
For more than half its time in operation, Richmond International has enjoyed a strong and fruitful working relationship with The Langham, London. Most recently this involved work on the hotel’s Sterling Suite, a truly unique residential penthouse. The penthouse suite has up to six bedrooms for up to 12 guests, a dining room, expansive drawing room with a piano, private media lounge, Butler’s pantry and a VIP complimentary refrigerated private bar.
What impact has Richmond’s relationship with The Langham had on the business as a whole?
“Over the decades we have developed a very close relationship with The Langham, having spent many years working on various aspects of The Langham London. However it was Richmond’s work on the Langham Chicago, in which we worked to transform an iconic Mies Van de Rohe building into a luxury 5* Langham hotel, that holds particular prominence as this project put Richmond on the map in the United States.”
Four Seasons Mauritius
Taking inspiration from the breath-taking surrounding landscape, Richmond’s design for the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius has established it as a tranquil retreat.
Give us a guide around some of the standout design elements?
“In each and every hotel that we design, we endeavour to make sure the interiors relate to the environment in which it sits. Looking at the Four Seasons Mauritius, it is clear the environment has strongly influenced the architecture and interiors. In the design of this hotel we worked to break down the barriers between inside and outside. We spent a lot of time exploring the Island, to understand the environment and enable us to integrate the low rise buildings of the Four Seasons, with the local area in a ‘New Mauritian’ style.”
The London West Hollywood
Working on The London West Hollywood’s collection of suites, Richmond helped elevate modern luxury to a new level. Taking inspiration from both London and Los Angeles, the singular suites blend world-class style and service with comfort and functionality.
How much influence did the Hollywood setting have on this project?
“Hollywood has had a huge influence on the design of the London West Hollywood which has since become the chosen destination for BAFTA. By creating a large 110-seat screening room and working in association with Vivienne Westwood in the design of the 11,000 square foot Penthouse Suite, L.A’s largest hotel suite, we sought to create an event destination in the hotel, aimed at the Hollywood film industry. We are now back working on The London Bar and Boxwood Restaurant for the hotel, to create a new energy and offering to help position it as a destination in its own right.”
Britannia P&O Ferry
Presenting the best of British contemporary design, with an unprecedented number of passenger facilities, P&O Cruises’ Britannia ship is the flagship of the fleet. Richmond created an interior design which flows with a coherent feel; whilst at the same time provides an individual identity to the different areas of the ship.
Are there any unique challenges posed by working with a ship?
“Designing a ship, as you would expect, differs a lot to designing a hotel, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is imperative to consider the ‘sense of flow’ on a ship – we must design it to encourage the movement of people, and in that, we need to ascertain how people move on a ship before we commit to a design. Secondly, there are certain material regulations on a ship which must be adhered to which is not something an interior designer usually has to take into consideration. With this in mind, we have to choose materials and fabrics which are IMO compliant. This can, in some ways, be limiting, but, it also gives us the opportunity to be able to work with new suppliers. Finally, waterlines and weight. A ship must not sit below a certain level in the water, so we have to factor in the weight of products which we are choosing – something that you never have to think about when designing a hotel.
“A prime example of these challenges can be seen in one of the most special features of Britannia – the star burst light feature which is located in the main atrium. The feature adorns a triple height space and is inspired by the history of ships navigating by stars at night. Fitting this to the ship involved a lot of planning – from a weight perspective, and from a fixing perspective – the bursts had to be secured in a way that meant they did not rattle from the vibration of the ships engine.”
Having worked on various projects at the noted Caribbean hideaway since 2001, Richmond has developed a strong working relationship with Sandy Lane.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the Sandy Lane hotel design and how your relationship with the hotel continues to develop.
“Sandy Lane has always had a reputation for attracting the rich and famous. The original hotel was demolished in 1998, but when we were hired to lead the re-design, we wanted to ensure we played homage to the hotels history. Like many of our projects, the location of the hotel played a huge role in the inspiration of its design, which today mimics a colonial style, reminiscent of the Grand houses and plantations of Barbados, with the use of materials such as local coral stone. The hotel itself is only 116 keys and has a number of repeat clients, and for that reason we have worked with Sandy Lane over the years to maintain the hotel’s exclusivity, ensure its high quality and add an element of surprise for regular visitors.”
Manborne specialise in high-end bespoke furniture for residential and commercial clients. The company manufactures furniture for hotels, private residences and restaurants primarily and has been in operation for more than 35 years.
Manborne has worked on numerous projects with Richmond International including The Langham London, Sandy Lane Hotel and The Beaumont Hotel London. Other projects Manborne has worked on include The Goring Hotel, The Savoy Grill, Petrus Restaurant and Chewton Glen Hotel.
Sarah Mansfield-Osborne, Manborne, said:
“We have been working with Richmond International for over 25 years. Through our working relationship with Richmond International, we have been able to work on some very prestigious projects such as the Sandy Lane Hotel, Adare Manor and the Beaumont Hotel and it has given us the chance to produce some exquisite pieces of furniture.”
“At Manborne, we pride ourselves on our attention to detail and client satisfaction is the key to our success.”