The Athenaeum Hotel
The Athenaeum Hotel in Mayfair, London has undergone extensive refurbishment and rebranding, and its bold new look and enviable food & beverage partnership was unveiled at the end of June, ushering in a new golden era for this historic gem.
The hotel’s ground floor, façade and entrances were transformed. Huge, double-height floor-to-ceiling windows will now offer spectacular views across to Green Park and create a generous south-facing front terrace for the hotel.
Kinnersley Kent Design (KKD), one of Britain’s most prestigious design consultancies, with a client roster that includes the Historic Royal Palaces, Heidi Klein, Fortnum & Mason, The East India Company, Marks & Spencer and Mercedes-Benz, lead the project.
“The hotel has such a glamorous history,” said Partner Jill Higgins. “Our challenge was to retain the luxurious and friendly atmosphere that made this family-run hotel a London institution. The client wanted the lobby to flow seamlessly into the bar and restaurant, encouraging guests to linger, enjoy, and feel at home.”
It was crucial for the interior transformation to strike the right balance between glamorous and approachable, classic and contemporary, as The Athenaeum building has been a permanent fixture in historical Mayfair since 1840. It is now one of the few family-run five-star hotels in London and the update highlights the hotel’s independent spirit and offering for like-minded travellers – which is why an illustrious new food and beverage partnership is also part of the big reveal.
London locals are abuzz about the relaunch, as the restaurant and bar are being steered by Michelin-starred chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin. Galvin at The Athenaeum promises a menu full of the kind of accomplished seasonal classics that the brothers are known for, this time with a fully British flavour.
Just as local produce is a key focus for the Galvin menus, ‘delightfully English’ art and culture is a recurring theme in the hotel with British craftsmanship sought for the new interiors. Bradford-based Abrahams & Carlisle created waiter stations, private-dining sideboards and bar tables. Oxfordshire’s Bampton Design built the conference and restaurant tables and Yorkshire’s Hill Cross Furniture put its upholsterers and seamstresses to the test for Galvin’s bespoke banquette seating.
Cantilever Bars worked closely with the client, the interior designers, Kinnersley Kent Design and contractor, GPF Lewis, to deliver bars for the restaurant and bar areas within The Athenaeum. Cantilever were pivotal in ensuring the visions of the client and the designers were met, and worked closely with the contractors to ensure that each bar was installed seamlessly, on time and to budget.
Simon Knowles, Projects Director at Cantilever Bars, said:
“Working with a fabulous palette of materials for the finishes, we brought together the operational and the aesthetic, to deliver these two stunning and very different bars, both with their own challenging operational requirements.”
As Kinnersley Kent Design sourced furnishings for The Athenaeum as a modern reflection of its Art Deco heritage, they took care to also include a few standout furnishings from further afield: golden ‘Meshmatic’ chandeliers by Rick Tegelaar, ‘Paravento’ alloy partition screens by Dimore Studio, and the handsome ‘Valet’ mirrors and benches from Stellar Works.
This chic duo of valet mirrors and benches by David Rockwell made their debut at last year’s Clerkenwell Design Week. The pieces have only just gone into production and was launched at the prestigious Salone del Mobile in Milan this year, meaning that The Athenaeum is one of the first locations in London to have these pieces. Their design is bold and tactile and makes use of a blend of high-quality materials, including full grain saddle leather and black steel. The duo was chosen for The Athenaeum for its quality and craftsmanship, and because it was designed for ‘everyday urban living, working and entertaining.’
Kernel Pendant & table lamp and Pugil floor lamps by Bert Frank also feature in the hotel. Bert Frank takes huge pride in designing and manufacturing its products in-house in the UK to the highest possible standard. Bert Frank designs are built to last and mature in their environment, and it was this, alongside the timeless design and modern British heritage that the pieces evoke, that meant that they were chosen for The Athenaeum. They offer originality, functionality and that all important visual impact – ‘the perfect balance of mid-century influence and industrial aesthetic.’
A beautiful, tailor-made armchair was created by painter-turned-textile-artist Draga Obradovic and German Aurel K Basedow for Baxter. Its tactile leather upholstery has been skilfully processed and treated to enhance its intrinsic qualities and it is this craftsmanship that has ensured its place in the hotel. A rich teal shade juxtaposed with classic walnut has resulted in a piece with timeless elegance.
Described as a ‘statement light,’ the ‘Meshmatic’ chandelier by Atelier Rick Tegelaar exudes innovation. Created by young, independent Dutch design wunderkind Tegelaar, the playful, yet elegant product cleverly shows how recycled industrial objects can be stylish too. This piece is made from chicken wire stretched over a special mould that acts as a reflector of the integrated LED, creating a warm ambience.
Jeremy Hopkins, General Manager of The Athenaeum, said: “We’ve worked very hard to get every detail absolutely right. London may well have the most diverse hotel offering in the world, but luxury hotels now have to meet the demands of today’s guests. Our guests our confident, stylish and independent, and our recreation mirrors their character, enabling us to meet their expectations and provide a truly individual experience.”
Jenny Andersson, Associate Director at Kinnersley Kent Design added: “It has been a challenging project, but fun and exiting at the same time. It is a lovely brand to work with. The client is passionate about art, architecture and design and very open minded and open to new ideas. We have worked with the architecture, to bring back the art deco soul to the building. By increasing the size of the entrance atrium, opening up the windows and taking out walls we’ve created a feeling of space and light enhanced by carefully selected materials. This has completely transformed the space and the guest and customer experience.”
Formed in 2006, GPF Lewis PLC specialise in high end residential and commercial projects – whether it be a refurbishment project or a new build, the company posses the expertise to deliver all their projects to the highest possible standards.
Projects worked on by GPF Lewis include the refurbishment of the Red Lion Pub in Mayfair. The pub was transformed into private residential property for one of the companies long standing clients, Central Investment Properties. The project was described as “extremely complicated” due to the fact that a three storey basement was constructed on a land locked site, whilst the façade of the existing building was retained. On this particular project, Squire and Partners were the Architects and Heyne Tillett Steel were the Structural Engineers.
GFP Lewis also recently worked on the refurbishment of The Athenaeum Hotel in Mayfair. The company were the Main Contractor on the project and were responsible for all aspects of construction. In addition they were charged with taking the concept design and developing it through with the client team to ensure that the finished article met all of their expectations, whilst meeting an extremely ambitious programme of works and maintaining budget.
Speaking about working on The Athenaeum Hotel, Joe Ringart Commercial Director at GPF Lewis PLC commented: “Working on a high profile project such as The Athenaeum Hotel right on Piccadilly is exactly the sort of prestigious scheme the company has the expertise and drive to deliver. More importantly, forming partnerships with key clients such as The Ralph Trustees is critical to the ongoing success and development of the business. We were delighted to be selected for this project and have fully committed our resources to delivering a spectacular result.”
Celebrating their ten year anniversary in November 2016, GPF Lewis are extremely proud of the sustained growth that they have achieved in what can only be described as a tough economic climate.
Joe added: “We aim to provide a building partnership and work with all of our clients to ensure that they get the project they expect, on time, while providing value for money. We like to think that the amount of repeat business and partnering agreements we have established over the past ten years proves testimony to the fact that we are achieving this.”
Grand Union Decorating Ltd
Grand Union Decorating Ltd is a company that specialises in a comprehensive range of aspects within the painting and decorating industry from wallpaper fabric to painting. They work on both domestic and commercial projects, resulting in Grand Union Decorating attaining a sound reputation in their field. Established since 2008, the company has built a strong workforce that has a combined experience of over 30 years and which continues to compete in the high demand industry.
Their projects consist of mostly commercial builds including the exteriors many high end stores. Recently, the company worked on the Athenaeum Hotel which including the decoration of the front foyer, the whiskey bar and the restaurant.
Steven Touboulic, of Grand Union Decorating Ltd, commented:
“We value our involvement in projects like the Athenaeum Hotel as it allows the company to showcase what it can do.”
“We pride ourselves in delivering a high quality of work that satisfies the client and completing our part of a project on time.”
Established for seven years, Veneziano Plastering specialises in polished plaster and decorative surface solutions. The company has worked with a whole range of clients on many projects such as Jo Malone, Regent Street; Kazakhstan Embassy, Pall Mall; Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge and Calvin Klein at Knightsbridge.
Premier Hospitality spoke to Steven Heaney, to find out more about the company and its involvements with The Athenaeum Hotel. According to Steven:
“The company was contracted to undertake the polished plaster, I personally was involved in the application process.
“The Athenaeum Hotel is a Piccadilly icon in the heart of London’s Mayfair, and this is exemplary of the kind of major projects that Veneziano are experienced enough to execute to the highest of standards.
“Veneziano are passionate about design and the pursuit of many ideas, styles and expression. We love to create warm and inviting spaces that have the right balance of luxury, functionality and timeworn feeling. We pride ourselves in working to lead our clients to new wall design possibilities based on their own vision, fabricating the concept into reality.”