One of the most highly anticipated openings of 2015, Hotel Gotham, has now opened on Manchester’s King Street. Formerly a bank premises, the grand Listed building has undergone a remarkable transformation, yet its quirky Art-Deco inspired interior celebrates the structure’s architectural origins.
It was in 1928 that British architect, Edwin Lutyens designed the building that now houses Hotel Gotham, with construction finishing in 1935.”The neoclassical style of the structure, coupled with its unusual proportions – the top section being two thirds the middle section, which is in turn two thirds the bottom – make it quite something to behold.
It is this distinctive architectural style that provided natural inspiration for the nostalgic, yet decadent interior design. The layout of the bedrooms, for example, features wonderful travel trunk-style cocktail cabinets and wardrobes, while striking Art Deco-inspired, bespoke geometric carpets run throughout the corridors and accommodation.
Burnished metals team with dark polished wood and luxurious leather, while feminine notes of plum and raspberry, soft velvets and faux fur are used liberally. Subtle references to the banking past are made through the moneybag style laundry bags and ingot toiletry displays.
“Throughout the concept process I had many meetings with Robin Sheppard of Bespoke Hotels; these were often long but never dull as we were like children, full of imagination and excitement as we both started to realise what Gotham could be!” explains lead designer, Oliver Redfern of Squid-Inc.
“There was only one main design challenge to overcome and that was how to deal with the space at the core of the building, which was once occupied by an Atrium, particularly on the five bedroom floors. It was getting out of the mindset that it was a negative and embracing it as a great opportunity. From this we formed the Inner Sanctum Suites, a room where we could completely envelop the guest’s senses.
“The whole experience starts as the guest walks in the suite and has to turn immediately down a short corridor which then opens into the main space, the journey helping to disorientate their senses before being presented by the ‘Wonderwall’, which is a wall to wall screen on which a skyline movie of Manchester is projected and, just for a bit of Gotham’s own Batman magic, the screen slides open by remote control to reveal a 65in Plasma TV.”
Elsewhere, there is a restaurant, ‘Honey’, and ‘Club Brass’ – an exclusive rooftop retreat. Within the restaurant, half-moon windows provide fantastic views over Manchester, while servery counters – based on period filing cabinets – have been formed from zinc, wood and marble, before being beautifully-finished with crafted brass Bank vault mesh. Bowler hat displays, green glass wall lamps and 1900s Banker style chairs complete the look.
Reached via an illuminated steel and brass staircase, inspired by Bank vaults of old, and through safe doors, Club Brass features beautiful-clad geometric tin-tiled walls, which provide the perfect backdrop to the sleek leather booths and cut-glass decanter lights. Bespoke recycled coffee tables and industrial high tables continue the richness of materials and skill from British craftsmen.
“I am particularly proud of Club Brass,” says Oliver, when pressed to pick his favourite space within the hotel. “I always envisaged the design representing the feel of the original Bank vaults. I wanted the space to feel as it’s always been there; using strong solid materials such as mild steel for the bar counter and entrance doors, while choosing reclaimed timber flooring and coffee tables and texture alongside the antiqued leather banquette seating. I”love the twinkle brought to the space by the use of polished brass detailing and cut glass pendant decanters.”
With Oliver’s luxurious, yet playful interior scheme, Hotel Gotham has brought life to this iconic building, and a unique high end hotel to Manchester’s upmarket shopping district. The project has also been an important one for Oliver from a personal perspective, however. “It is probably a once in a lifetime experience to work on such an landmark building by a world famous architect,” he says.
“I would like to think that Lutyens would have admired and appreciated the efforts that went into the design of its new interior!” says Oliver.