yabu pushelberg: the london edition hotel from ian schrager
image courtesy of the london edition
george yabu & glenn pushelberg of interior design firm yabu pushelberg have completed their first major project in the UK — the new hotel from ian schrager: the london edition. ian schrager (also known as co-owner and co-founder of studio 54) returns to london for the first time in 15 years since he introduced sanderson and st. martins lane. his new project is the latest from edition hotels, the brand he conceived in partnership with marriott international. as with all edition hotels, each is a cultural epicenter and a microcosm of the best each city has to offer. located in central london’s fitzrovia, lodging preserves the finest aspects of the historic building — formerly the berners hotel — yet reinvents the spaces within to create a dynamic fusion of old and new, past and present. combining the traditional character of the landmark with a simple, sophisticated design sensibility creates a seamless blend of charisma and ease, resulting in a feeling that cannot be pigeonholed into a specific time period or style. the hotel offers a social hub where guests and visitors can work, relax, socialize and dine all under one roof; behind the refined georgian exterior and majestic public spaces, there are two bars, a restaurant, meeting rooms, a 24-hour fitness facility and 173 secluded, intimate and luxurious wood panelled rooms and a buzzing lobby.
designboom visited the premises of the recently opened establishment. we are happy to take you on an exclusive tour!
mirrored egg installation in the lobby by ingo maurer
image © designboom
the public spaces embody schrager’s ‘new kind of gathering place’ and set out to astonish and seduce with an electric energy pulsating throughout: the hotel lobby is an atrium arabesqued with variegated marbles across walls, floors and corner bar, all original to the hotel and painstakingly restored, glittering below stucco ceilings. the lobby is a juxtaposition between the existing traditional spaces and modern insertions. american minimal artist, donald judd serves as the inspiration in both roms. in the lobby, judd-inspired green velvet sofas, tufted khaki leather sofas, and modern wingback chairs help create the ambiance. the clean, rectangular blackened steel bar sits in front of four back-lit antique mirrors, and hosts communal tables made with black walnut. ingo maurer, the german-based lighting artist, created the mirrored egg installation in the main atrium — an oversized polished silver sphere light.
lobby bar with green velvet sofas
the hotel reflects the grand traditions of great britain: the traditional, aristocratic english country manor and the quintessential london private gentleman’s club with a modern, edgy, urban feel. when these diametrically opposed aesthetics come together, they create an alchemy that takes the hotel and the experience to an entirely new level. although, these are two aesthetics that do not usually co-exist, the presence of one will serve to showcase the other. originally built in 1835 as five luxurious townhouses, the architecture still showing characterizes london’s finest residences at the height of the grandeur of the edwardian era. the sumptuous interiors, lavishly decorated with marble and intricate carved ceilings, are superb grade II-listed examples of belle époque extravagance at its finest.
tufted khaki leather sofas
the ambience is enticing, and the scale is imposing — everything from the soaring doorways to the stately gesture of the marble staircase sweeping across one corner seems borne from another age. indeed, when one first enters the hotel, you are held, for a moment, in a striking modernist glass vestibule projecting into the sumptuous lobby, like a time capsule or wormhole bearing you into an otherworldly realm. but the london edition is no period piece — the twenty-first century is subtly present in ingo mauer’s spaceship-like polished silver sphere light devised to preside over the entrance, the sensual christian liaigre black metal furniture, the salvador dali-influenced floor lamps, and the chandeliers inspired by nyc’s grand central station. the color palette too, juxtaposes old with new, taking inspiration from the seemingly diametrically-opposed work of johannes vermeer and american artist donald judd: dusty rose upholstery against burnt ochre walls, khaki, pale green leather and mustard velvets all contrast harmoniously.
variegated marbles across walls and original, restored stucco ceilings
image © designboom
in ian schrager’s eyes, the lobby has evolved beyond the ideas of ‘hotel as theater’, ‘lobby socializing’ and ‘a new kind of gathering place’—concepts that schrager himself invented when opening the royalton in new york back in 1988. lobbies were the center of social activity and attracted locals in the city as well as guests. it is an idea that has been copied countless times and one that has changed the industry. at the time, it only applied to nighttime. with instant messaging and the social media boom along with our fast paced, high tech lives, our means of communicating have forever changed. twenty-five years later, the hotel’s public, social areas are now dedicated as much to seriousness and work as to fun and play. a black walnut table is fitted with apple desktop computers and outlets for laptops, and the entire hotel benefits from wireless internet.
modern wingback chairs at the fireplace
the further you explore the more intimate the spaces become. nestled at the back of the hotel is the punch room, a fumed-oak paneled den inspired by the comfort of english country manor house libraries and nineteenth-century london’s private clubs. this is their modern reincarnation: a cocktail bar without a bar, where every drink is served on a silver salver by staff dedicated to the guests, furnished custom tufted banquettes in teal velvet, overstuffed mint green leather tub chairs, and dark brown leather club chairs.
away from the spectacular social spaces, the hotel is devoted to the personal, the private and the intimate — an individual experience of luxury and a retreat from the street. the hotel’s rooms are panelled in either dark walnut or light oak, subtly lit and furnished with tactile textiles, traditional tufted slipper-chairs by george smith, a ‘no color’ color palette, and gilt-framed dutch masters. look again: those seemingly traditional images are ‘remasters’ by photographer hendrik kerstens – decidedly modern masters, symbolizing the hotel’s unique combination of old and new.
berner tavern restaurant
berners tavern – london edition’s premiere restaurant is under the direction of executive chef jason atherton and hosts 140 guests, serving guests breakfast, lunch and dinner. tub chairs in the front of the space create a café-like setting, while banquettes in chestnut mohair and taupe leather and round, rift cut bleached oak tables define the central dining area. two large custom bronze chandeliers inspired by nyc’s grand central station scale down the original 5.5 meter (18-foot) ceilings to make the space more intimate, bringing focus to walls hung with a trunk archive curated series of photographic portraits, landscapes and still lifes in the manner of a private collection. the zinc topped bar is paired with custom leather upholstered stools and sits in front an illuminated, amber-backed display.
the walls are covered with paintings from a private collection
the individual is key, in the words of ian schrager, ‘the definition of luxury has changed: we’d rather be known for service than anything else.‘ this is where the expertise of the marriott group enables edition to deliver superlative service, coupled with the aesthetic atmospheres that have become the trademark of schrager’s hotels. this is the new lifestyle hotel where you don’t have to sacrifice anything, whether it be fun or work, to stay in the coolest place in town. ‘it’s a different reality,‘ is how schrager summaries the london edition, whose influences span three centuries, fusing the best of those ages into a multi-faceted jewel of a hotel glittering at the very heart of london town.
image © designboom
the location, berners street, was named after josius berners, who purchased land there in 1654. later it was used to build five conjoining houses in the classical style, which were converted in 1909 into a luxury hotel. during the edwardian years the berners hotel, as it was named, enjoyed a dazzling reputation at the heart of london nightlife, playing host to king edward VII as well as carl fabergé and other luminaries of the age.
walnut oak paneled one-bedroom suite with terrace
each of the london edition guestrooms is like a warm, inviting bedroom in a private home, geared to individual relaxation and indulgence. the 173 guest rooms and suites feature oak floors and wood-panelled walls in either dark walnut or light oak creating a cosy, cabin-like feel akin to that of a private yacht. they are furnished with modern desks and tables cantilevered off the walls, oatmeal-upholstered george smith tufted lounge chairs, luxurious linen-and-silk drapery, silk area rugs, and a gold-leaf baroque-framed hendrik kerstens photograph.
the lofts and suites also feature living areas with george smith sofas. with fantastic views of the city, a portion of the rooms have over-sized terraces furnished with cast iron bistro tables and chairs and lounge chairs. molding-free spaces are serenely quiet in mood; devoid of unnecessary details that would distract from the calm.
light oak paneled deluxe room