Dernier & Hamlyn enlightens Art Deco splendour at Claridge’s

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    Claridge’s is recognised as the finest art deco hotel in London. Having started life as a magnificent private house, it was established as a hotel in 1898 and quickly became a favourite of European royalty and heads of state. Much of the art deco design and features added through the 1920’s and 1930’s remains in place and has been enhanced over the years. Just before the end of the 20th century an ongoing project commenced to embark on a major design restoration that would see art deco styling increasingly evidenced throughout the hotels’ public areas and rooms. Bespoke lighting manufacturer Dernier & Hamlyn, working with interior designers Oliver Laws, has been involved in much of the work bringing in various aspects of the experience and skills they have assimilated over the company’s 126 year history to recreate light fittings that are beautiful, practical and historically accurate.

    Designer Guy Oliver recently produced designs to update one of the hotel’s private dining rooms and called on Dernier & Hamlyn to use its extensive lighting archive to research appropriate styling that would be both visually stunning and complement the architectural integrity.

    The lighting archive comprises thousands of drawings, photographs, patterns and products built up since the company was formed in London in 1888. It’s a fascinating insight into lighting over the years and is used to inform the manufacture, replication and repair of all sorts of lights. It even contains watercolours that were the CAD renders of their time. Beautiful to look at, they are a reminder of the painstaking way in which images had to be repeatedly drawn and redrawn until clients’ requirements were met before the advent of computers in the design process. A thorough trawl through materials from the 1930’s by Dernier & Hamlyn’s Jeremy Quantrill unearthed this gorgeous pendant priced at the princely sum of £44 in 1935.

    Guy Oliver was thrilled by this unique find and specified that the new pendants which this photograph inspired should be cast in solid brass, hand finished in bronze and completed with white opal glass. Additional flourishes and geometric layers were added to emphasise the styling of the period and the final flourish was the use of antique metal chains to fix it to the ceiling, which were reclaimed from a shipyard to give added authenticity.

    The results are wonderful with tungsten lamps softly spreading light from inside the fitting and halogen downlighters providing practical light levels beneath.

    Inspired by the newel posts spotted on the magnificent staircases at another 1930’s inspired site, Guy Oliver also recently designed these pedestal lamps that sit atop the marble bars in Claridge’s bar. They feature strong, streamlined shapes, typical of this glamorous epoch including chevrons finished in polished nickel to emulate the desire for shiny materials akin to chrome a brand new material of the time.

    Guy Oliver says: “My relationship with Claridge’s goes back over 20 years and I never tire of wandering its private rooms and public areas, considering what could have occurred there in the past and how I can help to recreate that mystery and ambience with appropriate contemporary historically inspired additions.”

    Daniel Fountain / 18.08.2014

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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