Claridge’s – the legendary Mayfair hotel – has unveiled a series of new suites and an intimate cocktail bar, The Painters Room, designed by award-winning Bryan O’Sullivan of Bryan O’Sullivan Studio. The two new ‘Mayfair’ Suites see the hotel’s signature art deco and Victorian architectural styles celebrated, yet reimagined for today.
Claridge’s has also revealed the extensively restored and newly designed Claridge’s Ballroom, a new dining concept, L’Epicerie, which offers front-row seats to the culinary theatre of the kitchen, and guest rooms designed by the award-winning Pierre Yves Rochon.
The clear vision behind the suites was to create a new suite that would reflect the Claridge’s of today, while also being sympathetic to the longstanding clientele that frequents the hotel on a regular basis.
Bryan O’Sullivan Studio was tasked with conceptualising what a Claridge’s hotel suite in 2020 would be, and how this would be translated into Claridge’s identity – specifically its characteristically impeccable design, and its ethos of creating a home away from home for every customer.
Two aspects formed the backbone of the design concept. The first was to create a cocoon-like design through the addition of subtle, soft curves to the room. The second aspect was to focus on the materiality and craftsmanship used within the suite, which can be seen by the references to natural materials throughout the space. The entrance hall, for example, engulfs guests as soon as they arrive, setting the tone immediately for what is to come, while the living room features a handmade travertine fireplace.
From the outset, the furniture was to play a fundamental role in achieving the studio’s goal, which is why it opted to design many of the bespoke pieces. To complement the bespoke pieces of furniture, Bryan O’Sullivan knew he had to offset this by sourcing antiques for the suite that would not only ground the room and the design, but give a subtle nod to the outstanding history Claridge’s holds.
“Bryan wanted the space to feel intimate and almost cocoon-like, while bringing in subtle art deco references from the hotel through the lighting and furniture”
The Painters Room
The brief for the Painters Room was to transform the corridor-like storage room into a delicate, intimate, romantic cocktail bar. The space is split between a small, lobby-like space at the entrance, and the larger space which houses the bar. Bryan wanted the space to feel intimate and almost cocoon-like, while bringing in subtle art deco references from the hotel through the lighting and furniture – all designed by Bryan O’Sullivan Studio.
In order to achieve this delicate and intimate mood, materiality became very important. Cloudy white onyx covers the floor, with a pink onyx border which continues up the wall to dado height. A pink onyx fluted bar with a large bullnose counter stands in the middle of the space, with handmade brass gantry and lights which give a subtle nod back to the art deco style of the hotel. All of the furniture provides subtle pastel colours to the space, which is topped by a large bespoke skylight and pendant, which are both influenced by the hotel’s history.
Crossing the threshold of the revolving Claridge’s Ballroom doors, a private entrance on Brook Street, guest are now welcomed with a striking art deco-inspired, scallop-patterned floor in nero maquina and white marble, echoing the iconic black and white floor of the hotel’s lobby.
New chandelier and wall lights inspired by the original design from the 1920s illuminate the space, but perhaps the most spectacular addition is an eglomise mirror by artist Emma Peascod, telling the story of the glamour of Claridge’s Ballroom throughout history.
The shining, marble-floored Ballroom Reception has also been sympathetically restored, having also undergone much adaptation since 1929. Remnants of the historic design – and, most excitingly, an original, square-tiered lay light – were discovered early in the project, and fully refurbished. The design of this lay light is characterised by bold shapes, sunrays and clouds, with silhouettes of imperial-airline aircrafts flying through the sky.
In the ballroom itself, guests will celebrate under a ceiling that has been completely restored. The most significant change of the iconic space in the last century was the loss of its original art deco ceiling, as it was considered to be old fashioned at the time. Digging deep into the hotel’s archive, historic photographs were unearthed from the opening of the ballroom wing and other events in its early history, and the original details – long lines of superimposed cornice with concealed lighting – have been painstakingly retraced by Blair Associates Architecture.
Replacing the ceiling provided the opportunity to install sound-insulating structures designed to protect the bedrooms and suites above the Ballroom from louder acoustics – be that music or speeches. The elevated space has also allowed for the installation of concealed lighting to wash across the three-tiered ceiling, with the silver-leafed superimposed cornices providing a true restoration of the grandeur and luxury of the original design. Light fittings and mirror designs have been handcrafted to replicate the original design, and columns and pilasters have been re-gilded using the finest palladium leaf.
The new beating heart of the hotel, L’Epicerie, plays a key role in the ongoing transformation of Claridge’s, turning what would traditionally be ‘back-of-house’ areas into guest-facing experiential spaces, with the chef’s table the centrepiece of the space.
Set within the hotel’s hallowed kitchens, L’Epicerie is Claridge’s newest dining destination. With the backdrop of bustling chefs, this space fuses both old and new elements of the hotel. Flanked by cast-iron pillars from the original Victorian structure, the chef’s table is an elegant centrepiece crafted from American black walnut.
“The new beating heart of the hotel, L’Epicerie, plays a key role in the ongoing transformation of Claridge’s”
A large Irish marble pass separates the table from the kitchens, and will act as the stage for chefs to finish, present and perfect dishes for L’Epicerie’s guests. The table seats up to 14 guests, who will dine surrounded by shelves of ingredients, all used in the Claridge’s kitchen.
Copper pans and moulds are scattered across the space, and original silver kitchenware that has seen so many years of history at Claridge’s – such as a duck a la presse and a fish kettle – sit proudly on the pass. Hammered copper and English oak details finish this new dining space.
And, if that was not enough, Claridge’s is close to completing a five-floor basement beneath the art deco portion of the Grade II Listed Mayfair building. Bringing an additional 5500m² of space, this will house a range of new facilities, including an award-winning spa and swimming pool designed by leading designer, Andre Fu, and fitted out by the expert team of Pure Fit Out, both of which are, coincidentally, working on the group’s fifth hotel to open – The Maybourne Riviera.
Not forgetting a new penthouse occupying the entire footprint of the hotel, with 360° views of the London skyline and featuring three suites, an ornamental lake, half an acre of landscaped garden, a rooftop swimming pool and two glass-sided pavilions (one with a grand piano, the other a fitness and meditation space).