Morgan’s Mondrian – more on the South Bank

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    “Location, location, location” said Mr Hilton. Morgan’s Mondrian London does certainly have that. Always I have thought that the views from the South Bank of the Thames looking north are far more interesting than those from the Embankment looking south. For years in the mid-20th Century hotels were reluctant to move into the areas south of the river. Maybe the historical use of Southwark as a dumping ground for criminals in the City, maybe the fact that London’s last gibbet was in Walworth Road, or maybe the lack of transport system South of the River contributed to this aversion. Whatever the reason, like sheep, the hotel brands flocked together in the West End. It was left to overseas chains to start developing hotels on the South Bank.Mondrian London is the latest to realise that the views from bedrooms and public areas alike can be spectacular looking north. The views of St. Paul’s from here are some of the best you’ll ever see, as looking north from here the skyline is as yet untrammelled by new architect ego-porn buildings.

    The building itself is the old Sea Containers building, notable from the Thames for its spectacular graphic identity and the golden balls that decorated each corner. The building has lost most of its balls, and the glorious graphics of the sixties have been dumped in favour of some anaemic and facile typographic labelling asymmetrically arranged on top of the building. Given that one of the main tenants for the building (for the hotel only has about 40% of the space) is advertising giant Ogilvy and Mather the signage gives no-one any credit.

    Similarly the entrance is also in my view a major design flaw, as the lobby is dominated by large ramp systems. To comply with regulation on slope etc. these ramps occupy most of the lobby area, robbing the hotel of otherwise commercially usable space. That they are not the only access solution was amply demonstrated by the Indigo Liverpool with its innovative stair lift solution. Mind you maybe the skate boarders from under the Hayward could move in here and bring some life into the space?

    Daniel Fountain / 22.12.2014

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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