Rounding off Hotel Designs’ exclusive editorial series in style, which has seen us following the making of The Other House South Kensington, from concept to completion, Editor Hamish Kilburn returns to a now completed and fully open hotel to speak to the developer, the architect and the designer behind London’s latest luxury hotel offering (scroll down for exclusive video content)…
It feels somewhat apt that the slogan for The Other House South Kensington that has been the inspiration behind its development – and that has kept us on our toes for at least a year – is ‘curious as a monkey, wise as an owl’. We knew the inaugural property in the group’s portfolio was going to be a maximalist statement, but the ‘hotel meets private members’ club’ has exceeded our own expectations when it comes to colour, texture and personality – think jungle-like public bathrooms, underground vaults and mosaic tiles that reflect peacock feathers.
The interior design scheme, created by Bergman Design House, is layered to feel like a home-from-home, complete with unexpected artefacts, complemented with mix-matched artwork – it feels more like walking into a good friend’s cosy living room than a hotel experience. The design unapologetically answers to a clever architectural structure, put in place by Falconer Chester Hall, that has given what was a tired and worn-down heritage building in South Kensington a new reason to exist, inside 11 Victorian townhouses. Going beyond simply opening up spaces, the architectural narrative, mixed with a considered design narrative, has opened the opportunity for the building to shelter joyful spaces that sit above, below or next to tranquil nooks.
“Let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, I ruined the art.” – Marie Soliman, Co-Founder, Bergman Design House.
In the previous episode of this concept-to-completion series, our production set was nothing more than a building site. Today, it is a thriving, new and exciting hospitality experience that is bursting with character wherever you look. And that personality is somewhat split depending on which area of the hotel you walk into – from the eclectic Owl & Monkey bar to the sedate members’ club below, calming apartments and couture-like lobby to leads into an intriguing library – this hotel, as you will see below, is all about discovery.
For myself, with vivid memories of interviewing the developer, Naomi Heaton, on a sofa in the middle of a lonely building site – a logistical nightmare when looking back – making this video series with the help of CUBE is a pinch-me moment. Throughout this series, we had no doubts that the final product would live up to the hype, but it’s exceeded even our expectations on how a building that felt, well, redundant could be transformed into a space that feels so current and relevant on the hospitality map.
The truth that we should all accept is that The Other House South Kensington is just the first of many properties that will soon emerge under The Other House brand – it has set a disruptive tone – that will vastly challenge conventional hotel design and, with each opening, take hospitality to new boundary-shattering levels in the territories where the luxury properties will emerge.
Main image credit: The Other House