The Lanesborough, now open

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    ReardonSmith acted as Lead Design Consultant and Architect with responsibility for coordinating the refurbishment and remodelling of The Lanesborough. Working in close collaboration with the interior designers, Alberto Pinto agency, as well as with the specialist craftsmen and engineering consultants, ReardonSmith implemented the new design of the public areas and guestrooms so as to seamlessly integrate the operational and servicing requirements with the design and thus to facilitate the realisation of Alberto Pinto’s vision. ReardonSmith led the design in the refurbishment of back-of-house areas and the external envelope, including the specification of new thermally efficient roofs to enhance the environmental credentials of the building.The Lanesborough is recognised as a building of special architectural and historic interest and has a Grade ll* listed status. ReardonSmith was responsible for negotiating all planning and listed building consents and for maintaining close dialogue with English heritage and Westminster Conservation officers to ensure that the national asset was protected and enhanced.

    Brief to the Architects
    The objective was to re-affirm the position of The Lanesborough as London’s finest luxury hotel with a refurbishment of all public and guest areas as well as back-of-house.

    Brief Development
    The design team reviewed the hotel room-by-room and developed the brief in conjunction with the hotel operating team in order to prepare a detailed plan of what should be retained, rebuilt, restored, refurbished or replaced so as to meet the client’s aspiration. In an exercise involving complex coordination, issues of interior design, operational planning and service infrastructure were developed all in conjunction with one another so as to ensure the optimum guest experience.

    Public Areas
    The existing layout has remained largely untouched. However, minor changes were made to support the operational requirements of the hotel. These included the introduction of a pantry adjacent to the Withdrawing Room principally to serve afternoon tea, the reconfiguration of the business centre and store rooms to create a boardroom, the relocation of the concierge desk and a new cloakroom within the entrance lobby. Adjustments were also made to the back-of-house areas to more efficiently utilise the space and achieve an attractive and comfortable staff dining room.

    The brief for the interiors was to align them with the Georgian origins of the building, adding modern and historical twists to provide an appropriately unique layering of styles, reflecting the graceful maturing nature of a functioning historic building. Elaborate decorative finishes, both new and restored, are skilfully integrated with modern energy-efficient LED lighting, A/C and technology systems.

    The ceilings has been replaced throughout the public areas with highly decorative fibrous plaster, each room receiving its own unique design, crafted and refined to the satisfaction of Alberto Pinto. Central to ReardonSmith’s plan was the absolute concealment of all A/C grills and access panels, either hidden within the all-new wall and ceiling mouldings or behind resin panels designed to perfectly replicate the mouldings.

    The Portuguese marble to the entrance lobby has been refurbished and, with rigorous attention to matching, extended throughout the public circulation areas. The stone panels on the walls have been revived and mirrors are now inset into the arched niches; elsewhere, new faux stone perfectly replicates the genuine stone walls. Throughout, what was previously dark mahogany panelling has been stripped back to reveal a warm, mid-toned timber, further refined in the Library Bar with the introduction of exquisite decorative panels which were hand-painted in Italy. The Royal Entrance has been transformed with trompe l’oeil painted walls and ceilings to create the appearance of fabric gathered to form an elaborate tented structure. Delicate marquetry panelling has been introduced to line the walls of the St. Georges Room. The Belgravia Room has been remodelled, opening it up into a single grand function room with antiqued Venetian fluted mirrored pilasters and hand-engraved mirrored crystal window pelmets displaying at their centre a crest which pays homage to the name of the room. Everywhere, the extraordinary vision of Alberto Pinto realised through the work of ReardonSmith and other members of the project team, is placing the Lanesborough interiors in a class of their own.

    Apsleys restaurant has also been fully refitted to reflect the Georgian-inspired design brief with new hand-modelled frieze panels to match the new fibrous plaster ceilings. At the entrance to the restaurant, bespoke wine stores have been created to store the hotel’s large collection of fine wines.

    The two original staircases have been retained and restored.

    Guest Floors
    A meticulous survey of the 94 guestrooms identified 12 broad groups of bedrooms in terms of size and distinguishing features, although the reality of the various configurations within each group meant that no room was exactly the same as another. There are now four guestroom design types and an increased number of inter-connecting rooms enabling large family groups to stay together. Each marble block for the new all-marble bathrooms was individually chosen and it was ReardonSmith’s task to ensure that each slab was set out for perfect book-matching. The Lanesborough Suite on the first floor has been retained and the Royal Suite on the second floor has been extended and refurbished to elevate it to be once again the pre-eminent suite within the hotel, complete with separate purlieus for husband and wife, each with a magnificent bedroom and bathroom. The suite can be opened up into adjoining rooms achieving a 250 sq metre residence that extends along the total length of the façade and comprises four living rooms and seven bedrooms and bathrooms. Both suites overlook Hyde Park Corner.

    The absolute insistence on concealing the ‘behind-the-scenes’ from guests continues across the bedroom floors. The access panel in the bathrooms, for example, has been skilfully hidden behind the book-matched marble clad door on which the heated towel rail is mounted.

    Guest floor corridor ceilings were all replaced to permit an entirely new services infrastructure for the rooms.

    “We were very conscious of The Lanesborough’s exceptional pedigree and worldwide reputation in every decision we took and each line that we drew. The implementation on-site of Alberto Pinto’s exquisite new interior design has truly been of the highest quality and the synergy of traditional craftsmanship and modern engineering has ensured that the hotel’s unique place amongst London’s luxury hotels is assured for years to come.” Conrad Smith, Managing Director, ReardonSmith Architects.

    Vaughan lights have been used throughout the hotel in both bedrooms and common parts. The ranges include: Totnes Bathroom Tube Swing Arm, Globular Sang de Boeuf Vase, French Glass Lamp and our Red & Blue Imari Vase.

    Daniel Fountain / 04.07.2015

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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