HOME AWAY FROM HOME: HOME HOUSE




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Serendipity finally brought A-Gent of Style to Home House last week, one of London’s most exclusive private members clubs. Not being a member, A-Gent was eager to find out for himself what the fuss was all about and most importantly to judge the interiors by himself. The teasing around him in the last few months had become almost unbearable. Not only is the exclusive establishment five minutes’ walk from where he lives, meaning he gets to walk past it on many occasions (you can see very little from outside; not from lack of trying!) but also a few friends had either been in lately or had mentioned it in conversation. So when an invitation for a business meeting came up last week (thanks Kathryn), A-Gent of Style jumped at the opportunity.

 

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Home House is where the media, fashion and creative affiliates (that’s interior desecrators too) come to relax or be entertained (they have an enviable calendar of social events and societies) and also find everything they would expect in terms of luxury, service and privacy. Home House boosts different restaurants, bars, drawing rooms, party rooms, dining rooms, a gym, spa, boardroom, outdoor fumoir, courtyard garden and last but not least elegant bedrooms and suites.


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Spread across three immaculately preserved and restored Grade I and II listed Georgian townhouses all seamlessly linked at 19, 20 and 21 on Marylebone’s elegant Portman Square, W1, Home House mixes the elegance and grandeur of the building rooted in the 18th Century with the vibrant interiors of the 21st Century courtesy of Candy & Candy and the futuristic minimalism of Zaha Hadid.


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A-Gent of Style‘s preference for N0 20 over the two other buildings decorated by Candy & Candy in a more contemporary manner less sympathetic to the original features is in sharp contrast to the magnificence of the more traditional, elegant proportions typical of neo-classicism and sumptuous décor of the various drawing rooms enwrapped in a palette of Ladurée macaroons (reminiscent of Adam’s resplendent Syon House). Call A-Gent a purist.

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Commissioned in 1773 by the notorious Elizabeth, Countess of Home, aptly known as ‘The Queen of Hell’, then in her sixties, who wanted a sophisticated ‘Pavilion’ built and designed purely for enjoyment and entertainment at N° 20 Portman Square, the “Palace of Pleasure” was designed by George III’s architect James Wyatt that same year (A-Gent of Style featured the Georgian architect a few months ago during a collaboration with Colefax & Fowler who hosted a special exhibition) but his competitor Robert Adam, one of the most celebrated architects of his day, was appointed to complete the interior of the house in the sumptuous Neo-Classical style after Wyatt had been dismissed in 1777.


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N° 20 Portman Square is acknowledged to this day as Robert Adam’s finest surviving London townhouse. The interior is conceived as a series of grand reception rooms, beginning with a typically austere hall, leading to one of the most breathtaking “tour de forces” in European architecture, Adam’s Imperial staircase, which rises through the entire height of the house to a glass dome, revealing the sky above.

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A design by Robert Adam for the main staircase at Home House in Portman Square, London. Photography of a late 18th century original in the Soane Collection at the Soane Museum, London.

 

So without further ado, A-Gent of Style would like to let you in Home House and show you what he discovered  last week during his visit of the ‘Queen of Hell”s ‘Palace of Pleasure’. A-Gent of Style didn’t have enough time to see the bedrooms and suites. Perhaps they will make it to the ‘Part 2’!


House N0 20:



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House N0 19:


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House N0 20:


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House N0 21:


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– Some photos by Home House, mostly by A-Gent of Style – 





THE SLEEP HOTEL COMPETITION & THE SLEEP HOTEL BAR



 
One of A-Gent of Style‘s highlights at the Sleep event last week was the Sleep Hotel.




Sleep Hotel, dubbed “the catwalk of hotel design”, brought together some of the hotel industry’s best-known designers with several newer names that are making their mark on the sector. The event this year challenged five design companies to create a concept for an imaginary hotel working to a particularly demanding brief. These design teams collaborated with fit-out specialists and product suppliers of their choice to build their concept for Sleep Hotel, which was staged in a designated area in the Business Design Centre.

 

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This year, the brief was inspired by the widespread interest in, and nostalgia for, the 1960s, and was asking designers to ‘redesign’ each one life-sized hotel junior suite in a fictitious hotel originally built during the heyday of ‘Pop Art’, translating the radical spirit of this cultural movement into a contemporary experience that is relevant today, and ultimately transforming Sleep’s catwalk of hotel design into a radical contemporary Pop Art experience.


 

An exciting added dimension to Sleep Hotel 2013 was that the Barbican, London’s leading multi-arts venue currently running a major exhibition Pop Art Design until 9th February 2014, joined forces with Sleep. As a result, the Barbican exhibition curator, Catherine Ince, was invited to join the judging panel including Andrew Baker of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Conrad Smith, Managing Director of ReardonSmith Architects. A-Gent of Style had the privilege to meet Ince that day and will publish the fascinating interview next Monday.



At 16.45, a seminar entitled ‘The Sleep Hotel – Designers Present’ invited the leader of each design team to pitch their project to the three judges who then made their comments as the competition reached a climax.



The place to be and be seen was the Sleep Hotel Bar, part of Sleep Hotel, which was exclusively designed by NOUS DESIGN. The bar was open throughout the event but  it was also the meeting point for a late networking night on Wednesday and where the results of the Sleep Hotel competition were announced.



This year’s concept was a serene oasis. The eye-catching bar itself suggested a peaceful, sun-dappled lake in its organic form, with a rippled surface gleaming under illumination. The source of this lake sprang not from the mountains but from an oversized tap that flowed with champagne! A-Gent of Style tested the functionality of the bar and tasted the goods, all for professional purposes, of course, and can report the design was a complete tour de force.




NOUS DESIGN is an interior design practise based in London, specialising in high end hospitality and residential design services. With a highly creative and dynamic team, they aim to deliver tailor-made bespoke designs for each project whilst exploring unique and innovative concepts adding value to each project. And they certainly came up trumps with this incredible bar.




Prior to the unveiling, NOUS DESIGN said: “We are developing a flowing structure in a continuous form which expresses the confluence of new hotel design ideas, products and services that is synonymous with Sleep. The structure will identify the bar as a place to gather and draw people in. On one side, it will jet towards the conference theatre and on the other it will act as the portal to Sleep Hotel, achieving a strong connection between the two spaces while creating a pavilion and a social platform for the entire event.”




The imposing structural and architectural metal sculptures on the wall that coiled and curled, with lasered flower cut-out designs, were rather striking and elegant.



At 7pm, visitors and participants were then invited to join Barbican exhibition curator Catherine Ince and the two other judges in announcing the winning room set.








And the winner was (drum roll):




























The winning design by Cullinan Interior & Infinite Architects, whose room featured inspiration from Ken Adams’ set design for Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove, and included elements of surprise such as interstellar fractal-inspired artwork.




“We never thought we would win this – but of course we hoped!”, confessed the team. ” We had two weeks to design and two weeks to produce it – finishing was for us the prize. But when we saw the finished product we really thought, this is a strong commercial project we have. We tried to create a new, unexpected guest experience. We divided the room asymmetrically to clearly define the different areas – sleep, dress, informal dining, chill out, bathe.”



“To capture the spirit of the 1960s Swinging London”, the winners explained,
“the challenge for Cullinan interior and Infinite Architects was re-thinking the typical guest room configuration to deliver a revolutionary guest experience through a contemporary interpretation of the Sixties counterculture that questioned the political, social and moral values of the time.”




So huge congratulations to Cullinan interior and Infinite Architects for designing this pop-static room.




And here are the other four participants’ room sets:




The Hickson Design Partnership is a London & Turin Architecture
and Interior Design practice specialising in Hospitality and High End Residential Projects.












Purpose Design creates memorable and dynamic interiors for the hospitality and leisure sector, based in the UK and the Middle East their understanding of the sector spans many cultures.












Kelly Hoppen Interiors is a multi-award winning design studio founded by
British designer Kelly Hoppen MBE.












Squared Interiors is a joint venture between Angelo and Andrea. Between them they bring over 20 years of design industry experience into play, applying a genuine flair for interior design with considerable passion and attention to detail.







Complimentary drinks were also served throughout the venue and too-cool-for-school Michaelango L’Acqua, CEO and Chief Creative Officer, Soniq – was on the decks playing a live DJ set on the fabulous, slickly designed Evoni DJ table, ‘Apollo’, on the main show floor.




Launched in May 2013, the british designed and built Apollo is a custom made music workstation that brings functionality and style together in a clean, cable-free environment. The Apollo uses an arrangement of coloured, stacked blocks to provide a dramatic sculptural effect. The equipment frame is customised to fit the latest technology perfectly flush in the design. Design Director Rob Hodge said, “Our aim was to excite and inspire the interiors world with the Apollo and in doing so, raise the design profile of high end DJ furniture”.




Ettore Sottsass would have probably approved of this groovy design.







THE EUROPEAN HOTEL DESIGN AWARDS: THE RESULTS





Sleep 2013 opens today and last night, as the official partner of
the The European Hotel Design Awards,  an awards ceremony celebrated exceptional hotel design and architecture, honouring the work of industry leading architects and designers, and the projects they create with hotel developers, owners and operators.


The shortlisted entries (the Wellesley hotel reviewed and ‘dissected’ by A-Gent of Style in part 1 & part 2 was nominated in an impressive three categories) were chosen by an expert panel of judges across thirteen categories.




The winners were announced at the glittering awards ceremony at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge night presented by broadcaster Lauren Laverne and A-Gent of Style was present at the  glitzy 1920s-themed gala, burgundy velvet smoking jacket in tow amongst the 900-odd guests.




Despite having had little sleep last night, A-Gent of Style is still on the pulse this morning to reveal the winners for each category. Of course, if you were following me on Twitter last night, you already know the outcome by now.

And the winners are (drum roll):


Architecture of the Year

Conversion and/or Extension of an Existing Hotel Building:







Conversion of an Existing Non-Hotel Building to Hotel Use:






 Newbuild Hotel:






Interior Design of the Year

Lobby, Lounge & Public Areas:






 Cafe or All Day Dining:


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 Restaurant:






 Bar:






 Bedrooms & Bathrooms:





 Suite:




 


Spa, Health & Leisure Facilities:

 





And the winner of the European Hotel Design of the Year Award goes to:

The Alpina Gstaad, by The Gallery HBA London




Inge Moore, Principal & Creative Director at The Gallery HBA London, picked up the third award of the night







Tomorrow’s Hotel:





The Reardonsmith Student Award:

James Young, Canterbury School of Architecture





The Outstanding Contribution Award:

Ian Schrager, Chairman and CEO of Ian Schrager Company







And finally, a heartfelt tribute was paid to the late David Collins by Jeremy King (you can see A-Gent‘s tribute here)





A-Gent of Style is thrilled to announce he will be interviewing today at Sleep the award-winning Inge Moore of HBA and also Catherine Ince, curator of the Pop Art exhibition at the Barbican Centre and judge of the Sleep Hotel.

All will be revealed in the next few days. Don’t go away!



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