THE SLEEP EVENT 2013 & THE EUROPEAN HOTEL DESIGN AWARDS CEREMONY




Second day of this action-packed week and A-Gent of Style is prepping this morning for two important events that he will be covering and reporting from in the next three days. Excited doesn’t even start to cover it.


By Kelly Hoppen

By Kelly Hoppen


The first one is the Sleep event, Europe’s annual leading trade event for hotel design, development and architecture, returning once again to London this year. Doors will open tomorrow morning at 10am until Thursday 6pm for two days crammed with exciting and inspiring features comprising the Exhib with suppliers of the hotel design sector showcasing their latest products and innovations, the Sleep Conference with seminars and talks involving influential industry professionals, the Sleep Hotel competition where five designers have created hotel rooms on a theme, the Tech Hub showcasing the latest technology inventions, and finally, an awards ceremony.







This cultural hotspot taking place at the Business Design Centre Islington, London N1 will provide a platform to keep abreast of new innovations and trends and a fantastic opportunity to network amongst industry experts, exchange ideas, and gather inspiration.


The Sleep Conference will be the educational programme of the event and boasts leading international figures taking part in keynote presentations, panel debates and round tables discussions. You can see the full programme and how to register here.




A-Gent of Style is delighted to announce that Sleep have asked him to interview two key speakers amongst the programme:

Catherine Ince, Curator of the Pop Art exhibition at the Barbican and one of the three judges on the panel of the Sleep Hotel



And Inge Moore, Principal & Creative Director at Hirsch Bedner Associates and winner of the 2013 Gold Key Designer of the Year at the The International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS)


Both interviews will appear next week on A-Gent of Style in a special feature.


Having reviewed and ‘dissected’ the new London EDITION hotel last month, A-Gent of Style is particularly thrilled to attend a conversation with hotel design guru and this year’s Conference headliner, Ian Schrager.






A-Gent of Style, like many in the industry, was saddened to hear the passing last week of Alex Calderwood, co-founder and owner of the ACE Hotels, and was looking forward to attending his talk. Another design luminary sadly lost this year.

Ace Hotel, Shoreditch, London

Ace Hotel, Shoreditch, London



As in previous years, a dreamt-up Sleep Hotel will be returning and the brief this time is inspired by the widespread interest in, and nostalgia for, the 1960s.




In association with the Barbican’s Pop Art Design exhibition, five designers have been tasked to invoke the spirit of the era within their life-size hotel junior suites rooms and bathrooms in a fictitious hotel originally built during the heyday of Pop Art whilst incorporating products from the 150 hotel industry’s finest product suppliers. The winning room, judged by three key figures including Catherine Ince, will be announced at 7pm tomorrow night from the Sleep Hotel Bar, designed by Nous Design, during the late night networking drinks event (6pm – 8pm), providing a perfect opportunity to engage with industry peers alongside a live DJ set by Michaelango L’Acqua, CEO and Chief Creative Officer, Soniq and complimentary refreshments.







Sleep 2013 is also the official partner of the The European Hotel Design Awards. The EHDA celebrate 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.

 


A-Gent of Style is thrilled to be invited to the glittering awards ceremony this evening at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel. An expert panel of judges will be choosing the winners from shortlisted entries (the Wellesley hotel designed by Fox Linton Associates, and ‘dissected’ by A-Gent of Style in part 1 & part 2, is nominated in an impressive three categories and Hirsch Bedner Associates, whose European Principal Inge Moore will be interviewing, is up for four awards) and the results will be announced this evening.

As luck would have it, the theme and dress code this year for the gala are the 1920s, the perfect excuse for Art Deco-fanatic A-Gent of Style to Chanel his inner Great Gatsby and don his burgundy velvet smoking jacket.



Stay tuned tomorrow morning as A-Gent of Style will be revealing the winners for each category. If you follow A-Gent on Twitter tonight, you will be able to find out the outcomes live.

And in each category (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

 Restaurant

 Bar

 Bedrooms & Bathrooms

 Suite

 Spa, Health & Leisure Facilities

 



THE RETURN OF THE KING OF CLUBS & LONDON EDITION



 

‘It’s a different reality’

– Ian Schrager –




Last week, A-Gent of Style thought that the best way to start the weekend would be to mix business (design) with pleasure (well, one of them – food) and to have breakfast in stylish surroundings.




The London EDITION opened its doors during London Fashion Week last month and consequently got engulfed in a mediatised whirlwind. This opulent establishment is the third of the EDITION Hotel brand, co-founded by Ian Schrager – he of Studio 54 and the 1990s revolutionary (now derided) concept of the boutique hotel (The Sanderson, St Martin’s Lane, Mondrian, The Delano), – and Marriott International, which marks the return of the hotelier to London after almost fifteen years.



Located in Fitzrovia, opposite The Sanderson, The London EDITION is a 173-room hotel with plenty of charisma and history. The hotel is said to be inspired by ‘the grand traditions of Great Britain: the traditional, aristocratic English country manor and the London private gentleman’s club with a modern, edgy, urban feel’.
After a £33,000,000 makeover, the hotel can boast deluxe rooms, suites, a penthouse, two bars, a restaurant, a dance club and a 24-hour fitness facility. Originally built in 1835 as five luxurious townhouses still showing the Georgian hallmarks that characterize London’s finest residences, the buildings were combined to form the Berners Hotel in 1908, 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 very finest.




The London EDITION has managed to make the transition to the 21st century swimmingly and has a plethora of modern design elements to prove it. Third time lucky, Schrager designed the hotel collaboratively with the amazing American design studio Yabu Pushelberg honouring the orignal features by blending them with sophisticated yet welcoming contemporary touches and innovation.

This result of old and new, past and present, authenticity and originality makes
The London EDITION difficult to pigeonhole or classify; what could have been transformed into an overbearing, grotesque pastiche of styles comes together as a seducing confluence of refined Georgian and Edwardian elegance, edgy urbanity and an undeniable pulsating energy.




The restaurant, Berner’s Tavern, run by none other than award-winning chef
Jason Atherton is where A-Gent of Style’s aesthetic and culinary experience began.



As I entered the room from Berners Street, I was first struck by the white, intricately carved plasterwork, mouldings and cornices, all original, featuring the gamut of medallions, urns, fans, muses and cherubs that you would expect from Georgian times. Two large ‘skeletal’ Fabergé Egg-shaped bronze chandeliers with naked bulbs inspired by the ones in New York’s Grand Central Station adorn the room (their shape reminded me also of Cinderella’s carriage even though this inspiration is probably unlikely and just the result of my wild imagination) – a great addition to anchor the room and scale it down. Underneath them, eight back-to-back demi-lune banquettes upholstered in beige leather and ebony chairs with seats in raspberry cotton velvet make up a central island topped with scattered candles (not seen on these pictures) which, I was told by the head waiter, give the room a sensual and intimate feel in the evening.



There is an impressive display of disparate gilt frames with black and white or colour photographs  (expect contemporary still lives, interiors, statues, portraits and landscapes) on all the walls, themselves dipped in a warm lead colour with undertones of purple, similar to Farrow & Ball’s Down Pipe.

The room with its reddish-brown chevron parquet is furnished with chestnut-brown mohair banquettes against the walls and two-seater bleached oak square tables with circular bronze pedestals (ideal when you have long legs like mine that can’t ‘navigate’ around table legs). Facing the street entrance, there is a long communal oak table with newspapers strewn on it in the morning that can accommodate ten diners if necessary, one of the welcoming touches of the ‘a home from home’ ethos of the hotel, like the glass sliding doors of the kitchen that let you have a peek at the work in progress.






If you enter the room from the foyer, the first thing you see is the central long bar with its imposing and bright sunflower-yellow, back-lit vitrine displaying a vast array of bottles; the bar is made of dark brown wengé, and is topped in aluminium;
it stretches almost as far as the wall ends and is lined up with oak stools. Behind them, three sets of tables (travertine top and bronze pedestal, both circular) with leather tub chairs arranged as a quatrefoil (with a chic bronze nailing dotted around the top of the frame) offer a more intimate seating.






The food in itself was perfectly enjoyable: avocado and eggs on toast, poached smoked haddock, toast and jams, fruit and vegetable smoothie and being partial to ‘tablescapes’, I was very delighted to have my white tea served in an antique silver Edwardian tea set. A few personal, subjective grievances though: I did miss the crisp white linen cloth and I was expecting loose leaf tea rather than a tea bag – call me old-fashioned but I do love indulging in the whole ritual of having my tea with a strainer, its stand and all the other paraphernalia; the service was nonetheless superlative (it was only 9.30am and the room looked deceptively empty, perhaps because of its largeness).




When you enter the hotel from the main entrance, you go through a glass box-like vestibule leading you into the foyer and reception areas. Large and imposing are an understatement here as the soaring ceilings and tall columns will take your breath away. It would be futile to try to narrow the style down to one era as old and new happily cohabit and complement each other. The surrounding walls, floor and columns are clad in the original marble which continues on the sweeping staircase in the corner. There are different ‘loungey’ areas dotted around the foyer where the guests can relax, entertain themselves, work or simply marvel at the aristocratic grandeur of the building.




The hanging egg-shaped sculpture in polished silver by Ingo Maurer presides over the room and is compelling, not simply because of its size but also by the mirroring effect that distorts the space (and the viewer).




The intervention of modern furniture and lighting like Christian Liaigre’s allows simplicity and minimalism and is the perfect foil to counterbalance the four majestic back-lit arches in antique mirror.




The color palette juxtaposes old with new: subtle, subdued off-white and taupey fabrics complement the bright green accent colour of the cotton velvet on some of the sofas.








Situated by an original fireplace, vintage-looking highback and wingback ‘Easy’ chairs by Frits Henningsen give this space delineated by a rug an air of Gentlemen’s Club.






There is a game area on the left-hand side of the foyer with an L-shaped deep-buttoned sofa leather upholstered in dark khaki leather and slipper chairs in mustard cotton velvet, siding a vintage billiard table.




On the left-hand side, a Donald Judd inspired black walnut table with pull-out chairs is fitted with Apple desktop computers and outlets for laptops, the perfect 21st century workstations.





The reception desk features a striking reproduction of a 1773 Louis XV Gobelin tapestry (that made an appearance in the The King’s Speech) stylistically confronting a contemporary art piece on the back wall that works like a convex mirror and changes colour (a recurring theme in Schrager’s hotels – see the rooms at St Martin’s Lane).




The corridor leads, on your right, to the lifts and restrooms. The Gents’ are wrapped in white marble with little veining and the joinery is bronzed, resulting in a definite air of sobriety and masculinity heightened by up-market fixtures in polished silver by Duravit, Geberit and Villeroy & Boch.




Nestled at the back of the hotel is The Punch Room; this is the private
Gentlemen’s Club of the hotel that looks like an English country manor den with plenty of intimate areas: wood panels envelop the room furnished with tufted banquettes in Gustavian blue velvet, mint green leather tub chairs, dark brown leather club chairs, modernist brass sconces and a small bar in solid bronze tucked away in a corner.








Away from the communal, social spaces, The London EDITION is devoted to the personal, the private and the intimate, and to offering an individual experience of luxury and a retreat from the street.




Sadly, A-Gent of Style did not have the time to see the rooms and the 2,000 sq. ft. custom-furnished penthouse, all clad with wood panels in a Scandinavian style, which would require an entirely separate feature. As for the dance club, there is only one way to relive Studio 54 and review it…



So almost a year after the opening of The Wellesley, here is another glittering Grande Dame of hotels with a written and visual narrative that sees a new light of day in the English capital. The London EDITION offers the individual a new lifestyle and blurs the lines between home, office and playroom for relaxation and indulgence. Creating a unique atmosphere and aesthetic experience that give its guests a sense of belonging and satisfaction was paramount to the ethos of a hotel of this calibre. Mission accomplished.

NB: Ian Schrager will be the headline speaker at this year’s Sleep event.
A-Gent of Style might see you there.



DRINKS TROLLEYS





London is melting at the moment and it is the perfect excuse weather for a crisp, chilled glass of rosé at lunchtime or a colourful, cheerful cocktail after work. And that’s when drinks trolleys, bar carts, cocktail stations or whatever else you might want to call them, come handy.




This trend for the drinks trolleys is by no means new (very 70s, Penelope) and of late has become a fixture in most design blogs or magazines, tucked away in a corner of a living room or in a prime focal location.

A drinks trolley is a smart and, ahem, refreshing addition, versatile and full of personality, be it vintage, new or restored and the perfect platform to display not only your favourite tipples but also your art, flower display, memorabilia, utensils and barware. The choices are endless.


Here is some of A-Gent of Style‘s favourite diminutive gin palaces:




All that A-Gent of Style needs now is the perfect G&T and a butler…to keep the ice handy.



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