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    The Pig

    Editor Checks In: Everyone’s gone eco!

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    Editor Checks In: Everyone’s gone eco!

    This September, editor Hamish Kilburn has seen a rise in biophilic and eco design at London Design Festival as he prepares to go on stage at next month’s Independent Hotel Show (October 15) to put the topic firmly under the magnifying glass…

    I’ve got a confession to make. I’m not a naturally born eco warrior – and I don’t believe anyone who was born pre-Millennium is either. That’s not to be confused by someone who doesn’t care about the environment. It just means that I, like others, have had to learn – and learn quickly – about the many strands attached to this very real issue before being comfortable speaking about it publicly.

    “Reading the latest statistics on global warming sends physical shivers down my spine, like a glacier is melting down by back vertebrae by vertebrae.”

    Last year I was privileged to be among the first to interview Martin Pease as the Managing Director of architecture and design firm WATG London. While the interview was memorable, it was his response to one particular question that stayed with me. When asked what the number-one tool for success is, he said: “We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.” Since then, I have made it an editor’s prerogative to listen to many, not just one or a few, before finally being prepared to make sense of chaotic and stigmatised issues. And here I am preparing to dissect what is the most chaotic and complex matters our industry has perhaps ever faced: climate change and finding sustainable, ecological and realistic solutions to create harmony between design and nature.

    Reading the latest statistics on global warming sends physical shivers down my spine, like a glacier melting down my back vertebrae by vertebrae. According to NASA, most of the warming has occurred in the last 35 years, with the five warmest years on record taking place since 2010. Meanwhile, The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass, having lost an average of 286 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2016.

    Designers, architects and suppliers have traditionally been good listeners when it comes to reacting to meeting the needs – and in this case requirements – of consumers. This month has been no exception. London Design Festival 2019 once again attracted the attention of the design world. Firstly, it awarded Dame Vivienne Westwood with the Lifetime Achievement Medal.

    Despite my initial concerns, it was not Brexit that was dominating the theme of every conversation in and between the many social events. Instead, it was the boundless possibilities of biophilic design; discussing, at length, who was using nature innovatively for good to create warm and thoughtful interiors. I have my favourites, as do we all, but it feels like it’s creating a free-flowing movement of ideas.

    I would argue that we are not quite yet surfing on the crest of the sustainability wave. Although we have the resources to hand when we catch it, we are reliant on each other – developers, owners, operators and investors – in order for it to finally, one day, become common practice to receive a brief to design a fully eco hotel.

    Cue next month’s Independent Hotel Show, where I will have the heavy responsibility to lead the discussion on how our global industry can work together to build more conscious and considered hotels. While I can’t promise miracles, I can guarantee that my expert panel and I have turned over every stone to ensure that we offer realistic visions of a sustainable future on the international hotel design scene.

    It’s already started, with hotels such as The Pig pledging publically that almost all food that can’t be supplied by the gardens is then impressively sourced within a 25-mile radius. And Monkey Island Estate in Bray-on-Thames, which features its own smoke house among many other intriguing elements in the garden, with still plenty of space for further expansion.

    My conclusion (for the purpose of this Editor’s Letter if nothing else) is that it is not rocket science. It’s simply about the industry collectively using creative thinking to offer new and functional solutions. Call it, if you like, the true art of modern hospitality.

    Main image credit: Act Studios

    MINIVIEW: The Pig at Bridge Place

    730 565 Hamish Kilburn
    MINIVIEW: The Pig at Bridge Place

    Following its hotly anticipated opening in April, The Pig at Bridge Place marks the hotel brand’s sixth authentic boutique hotel within its portfolio. Editor Hamish Kilburn heads back to his home county in Kent to explore the countryside gem… 

    With its welcoming red brick façade and ornate Jacobean interior, Bridge Place is an intriguing old building with an usual rock-n-roll vibe. Over the past four decades, this musical honeypot in Bridge, Kent, has been home to some renowned parties and gigs playing host in the ‘70s to Led Zeppelin and The Kinks.

    The property houses a wealth of period features, which are most noticeable in the public areas, including large fireplaces, secret stairways, panelled walls and endless nooks and crannies. In the refurbishment, all of these structural nuances have been respected and enhanced to create seven bedrooms along with numerous cosy bars and sitting areas.

    But now, the building has turned the page to a new chapter, The Pig at Bridge Place is a 31-key boutique hotel that oozes effortless style thanks to the acclaimed designer Judy Hutson, whose signature style has given The Pig its unique brand of laid-back chic, which has been beloved by guests to date.

    The Pig, Bridge Place, Canterbury, Kent, hotel, boutique hotel, gardens, restaurant, bar

    Attached to the main building a new, carefully detailed Coach House contains a restaurant with open kitchen. Within The Coach House are 12 bedrooms; four on the ground floor and eight on the first floor. Over the brook via a hand crafted wooden bridge are seven fitting Hop Pickers’ Huts created from reclaimed materials all dotted along a meandering wooden walkway. Each hut houses a double bedroom with cosy bathroom and wood-burning stove. Next to the kitchen garden is The Barn; a large upstairs/downstairs room with vast bathroom and bedroom views across the garden.

    Worlds away from the building’s former existence of being an illustrious party scene in the ’70s, the rooms inside The Pig at Bridge Place are a calming oasis reflecting countryside bliss. Overflowing with character and style, each key unlocks its own personality. Original details can be found in each room, which are finished effortlessly with carefully curated artwork and an array of personally chosen vintage features.

    “We’ve had a great couple of years, with customers seeming to love what we do. Occupancy is in the mid 90 per cent in our rural locations and we know from our guests and their invaluable feedback that they want more PIGs,” said CEO of Home Grown Hotels Robin Hutson. “After searching far and wide for truly unique properties, we really are over the moon about our new hotel in Kent.”

    If the design wasn’t impressive enough, as with every other PIG, the kitchen garden and restaurant sit at the beating heart of this property; anything that can’t be supplied by the gardens are impressively sourced from Kent’s best producers within a 25-mile radius of Bridge.

    Main image credit: The Pig at Bridge Place