Designed in partnership with London-based architect and interior design practice Dexter Moren Associates and design studio twenty2degrees, Hilton London Bankside is one of London’s newest hotels. With a strong focus on design, each part of the property has been carefully created to reflect the fascinating history and ambiance of the surrounding area, combining Bankside’s authentic urban grittiness and polished contemporary design. Designed within strict height constraints and conceived as three adjoining forms, two low and one tall, the property spans 20,325 sq. m. and is linked by a volumetric glazed entrance and inner light well. Inspired by the authenticity and history of the local Bankside neighbourhood, a combination of urban and Brutalist architecture and fine polished features are central to the signature design and luxury feel of the new Hilton London Bankside.
“Hilton London Bankside was a hugely exciting project for us. From the very beginning, when we were given the brief in 2005, we knew that we had a fantastic opportunity to be a true part of the regeneration of Bankside as an area. We took the ethos and quality of service that is synonymous with Hilton and combined it with the grittiness of Bankside to create what we think of as something very special” commented Joseph Stella, Partner at twenty2Degrees.
“Hilton London Bankside epitomises our approach to design responding to project context: “everywhere is an idea”. From the exterior, we wanted the building to relate to its existing neighbours, and echo the urban character of Bankside, then within, we were able to create striking stories directly inspired by the this thriving neighbourhood” adds Ben Tilston, Associate at Dexter Moren Associates.
Best of British Design
The building has a layered facade of stone, bare brick work, bronze metal cladding, and interiors finished with tiles inspired by those in the London Tube stations. The bespoke lighting throughout the hotel has been designed by Dexter Moren and twenty2Degrees and manufactured by British lighting company Northern Lights and Danish company Fransden Project. Each design is inspired by the industrial past and finished to compliment the patinated steel finishes in the space. With an emphasis on artisan production, each light reveals exposed rivets and machine head screw details, complimented by the warmth of the filament globe. The furnishings of the public areas have been inspired by the decorative prints of British textile designer William Morris, then re-interpreted to compliment the mood of the hotel using the colour palette and depth of the river Thames.
Situated steps from Britain’s famous Tate Modern, references to the gallery can be seen in the lobby, where the concrete effect tiles evoke the floor of the Turbine Hall. The lighting feature has been inspired by the kinetic sculptural works of Alexander Calder, whose work will be on show at Tate Modern until April 2016.
A Living Gallery
An individual collection of art, curated by the art consultants Peter Millard and Partners Ltd, is displayed throughout the property, showcasing a selection of young British artists including David Farrer, Simon Bingle and Kathy Dalwood. The work of these artists reflects the urbane and sometimes gritty life of Bankside, such as the graffiti wall panel outside the main entrance by Niki Hare. Each piece has been carefully picked to complement the industrial and urban theme and finishes including patinated tin ceilings, open metal beams and wrought iron lighting.
The story behind the Bankside Fox
During construction, the “Bankside fox” regularly visited the hotel by night entertaining the builders and overlooking the build. He even signed off the hotel’s design by leaving paw prints in the wet concrete floors. Celebrating his role as the “guardian” of Hilton London Bankside, the designers incorporate the fox motif into the hotel’s artistic design, reoccurring in various locations throughout the hotel.
Guest Room Floors and Bedrooms
The design concept in the guest rooms is ‘urban industrial with a luxury twist’. As in the lobby, the focus on lighting can be seen, with exposed bulbs and glass pendants framing the beds. Tones of grey, green, dusty pink and natural wood create a relaxed, stylish feel and the furniture has been chosen for ultimate ease and comfort, from the supremely comfortable beds to the window-side reclining chairs. In many of the rooms, the fox motif is displayed in the form of Peter Osborne’s sculpture. Osborne’s geometric sculpture also mimics the angular construction of the building of the hotel and is a more thoughtful and unexpected piece of art than the generic prints sometimes found in hotel bedrooms.
Despite catering for up to 168 covers, the decorative perforated steel screens provide privacy in the relatively large space as well as being strategically positioned to allow guests to be grouped within smaller areas to ensure the restaurant retains its ‘buzz’ whatever the time of day. The pressed tin ceiling provides texture, while the rustic wood panelling gives the room warmth and the black and white Victorian-inspired tiles give a sense of historic permanence. The ghost mural, painted by Diarmund Bryon-O’Connor, found in OXBO Restaurant is a reference to the original Rose Tea Mural on Union Street, Southwark. The original mural belonged to James Ashby & Sons Ltd at 195-205 Union Street who started importing and selling tea in 1850. A number of “ghost signs” can be found around this area of London and OXBO’s mural pays homage to these artistic reminders of this area’s historic importance as a trade hub. The ‘MOUNTED NOT STUFFED’ artwork seen throughout the restaurant includes a wonderful and varied menagerie of extraordinary animal heads by the successful British artist David Farrer. His unique papier mache trophy heads have won him international acclaim. Many of the decorative items found in OXBO Bankside restaurant are vintage finds and originals that have been sourced specifically for OXBO Bankside from London’s nearby East End markets and interiors dealers, giving the space a fun, distinctive feel.
During the 1800s, The Stephenson & Howell Standard Works, a blender of fine essences and flavours, occupied part of the Hilton Bankside site, and this plays a major role in the art and design of The Distillery Bar today. There are hints of ‘old world charm’ detailing around the bar decor, such as the original glittering display of seltzer bottles from Argentina, which resemble the elegance of a 1930’s Gentlemen’s drinking club. The warmth of fumed oak parquet flooring is complimented by the earthy masculine hues of the rich leather upholstery and bronze effect detailing throughout. The space is harmoniously balanced with low level ambient decorative lighting throughout, while the barrelled ceiling provides a bold statement and height to the bar. The ‘Penny Wall’ on the left of the bar holds over 16,000 pennies meaning their weight meant the wall had to be reinforced to support the load. The British pennies date back to as early as 1860 and in places, a story through time can be traced including pennies from Queen Victoria and the Suffragettes.
The Executive Lounge
The luxurious lounge showcases sculptures by Simon Bingle, based on a three dimensional reflection of graffiti art, inspired by the close-by graffiti heaven of Leake Street near Waterloo, while Kathy Dalwood’s white sculpted busts build upon the urban experience of the area, as a contemporary reflection of the its people, history and culture. An eclectic mix of vintage finds further mirrors the urban grittiness of aspects of the interior design, however the room retains a feeling of a gentlemen’s club with comfortable chairs and a warm colour palette. The decorative lights throughout the space, crucial to giving the room its harmonious and hospitable feel, are a combination of bespoke pendants by Fransden Project from Denmark and some Tom Dixon classics.
Hilton London Bankside
Featuring a stunning industrial design, Hilton London Bankside offers 292 modern guest rooms, including 25 bespoke Suites and one beautiful Penthouse apartment with private terrace as well as an Executive Lounge, 11 flexible meeting rooms and leisure facilities including a fitness studio and indoor swimming pool. Executive Chef Paul Bates, formerly of The Beaumont and Intercontinental Park Lane, is at the helm of the food and beverage outlets, OXBO Bankside restaurant and The Distillery bar. The hotel also features Bankside’s largest and most exquisite Ballroom accommodating up to 700 guests theatre style or 600 in a banquet setting. With a private entrance, a 6-metre high ceiling, dramatic chandeliers, a balcony and sweeping marble staircase leading to the Bankside Ballroom, this is a spectacular venue for any grand celebration, fashion show, awards ceremony or corporate event.