ME Hotel Opens in London – Foster + Partners – UK
ME Hotel Opens in London – Foster + Partners – UK
Press Release 01.03.2013
The ME Hotel – the first flagship hotel in which everything, from the shell of the building to the bathroom fittings has been designed by Foster + Partners – has opened in London. An elegant fusion of interior and exterior design, the scheme completes the grand sweep of buildings that make up the Aldwych Crescent, repairing the urban grain and restoring a little lost glamour to the heart of the West End.
The design seamlessly integrates the construction of a new 157-bed hotel with the restoration of the adjacent 1904 Marconi House, whose interior has been entirely restructured to accommodate 87 apartments. The new hotel building occupies a triangular site and is clad in Portland stone, corresponding in height and scale to its neighbour.
An elliptical tower on the corner of the hotel defines the end-point for the Aldwych Crescent and marks the main entrance at street level, which is sheltered beneath a wide glass fan. The corner tower is topped by a glass cupola – a contemporary reinterpretation of the Edwardian-style domed roof across the street – that houses the living space for the impressive ME penthouse suite, with its 360-degree panorama of the city. Arriving guests pass through the ground floor lounge, public restaurants and bar, and ascend to a dedicated hotel lobby and champagne bar on the first floor, housed within a nine-storey high pyramidal space, clad entirely in white marble.
The hotel rooms combine clean, minimal lines with a dramatic monochrome palette of luxurious materials. Suspended from the white leather walls of each room is a black lacquered cabinet, which incorporates a television and entertainment system, back-lit onyx shelves and the mini bar. Discreet lighting and services are seamlessly integrated, including the Lumina FLO table light by Foster + Partners. Full-height triangular bay windows project to reveal long views of the Strand.
On the tenth floor, the hotel’s rooftop terraces are an urban oasis – the Radio Rooftop Bar offers spectacular views of the river and Westminster skyline. Further guest facilities are located directly beneath the central atrium at lower ground level and include versatile conference suites, a gym and a luxury 25-seat screening room, bringing the glamour of Theatreland into the heart of the hotel.
Head of Design at Foster + Partners:
“Our intention has been to make sure that the hotel will be a unique experience, efficient to run and appropriate to the level of service that the ME hotel wishes to deliver. We put ourselves in the guests’ position to make sure that their experience would be exceptional – we extensively prototyped the rooms and made many changes to improve design and to stay within agreed budgets. The result combines a high level of functionality with a simple, refined aesthetic.”
Giles Robinson, Partner,
Foster + Partners:
“By designing the hotel inside and out, down to the last detail, we were able to maintain a high level of quality and continuity. Inside, the bold black and white interior palette establishes a strong identity – we defined the individual character of each space through variations in tone, texture and scale. This commitment to quality throughout would not have been possible without the encouragement of our client and our shared goal to create an exceptional experience for guests.”
ME Hotel, London, UK (Project)
Architect: Foster + Partners
Construction start: 2005
Area: 28 070 m²
Client: Grupo Urvasco S.A.
Structural Engineer: Buro Happold
Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon
M+E Engineer: BDSP
Lighting Engineer: Gordon Ingram Associates
The triangular site of the ME Hotel on the corner of Aldwych was once the home of the Gaiety Theatre, which was damaged during the war and demolished to make way for an office development. Completing the grand sweep of buildings that make up the 1920s crescent, the new scheme repairs the urban grain and restores a little lost glamour to the heart of the West End. The project, which is due to open in summer 2012, is the first flagship hotel in which everything, from the shell of the building to the bathroom fittings, has been designed by Foster + Partners – the result is an elegant fusion of interior and exterior design that signals a new contemporary approach for London’s boutique hotels.
The design seamlessly integrates the construction of a new 157-bed hotel with the restoration of the adjacent 1904 Marconi House, whose interior has been entirely restructured to accommodate 87 apartments.
In the 1970s, the building’s façade underwent considerable alteration – the project involved reinstating the mansard roof in natural slate tiles, recreating the original dormer windows and restoring the masonry using carefully matched Portland stone. The new hotel building corresponds in height, scale and materials to its neighbour. Its minimal detailing, simple, triangular oriel windows and Portland stone facade give a sense of cohesion, and the setback of the hotel’s upper level terraces follows the mansard roof of Marconi House. Projecting from the façade, the hotel’s triangular bays reveal long views of the Strand, while maintaining similar proportions to the windows of Marconi House. An elliptical tower on the corner of the hotel defines the end-point for the Aldwych Crescent and marks the main entrance at street level, which is sheltered beneath a wide glass canopy.
The corner tower is topped by a glass cupola – a contemporary reinterpretation of the Edwardian-style domed roof opposite.
The arrangement of functions establishes a natural hierarchy of privacy, which extends from the public spaces at street level to the guest terraces and roof garden at the very top of the building. The interior concept fuses contemporary detailing with classical traditions, its dramatic monochrome palette a combination of rich textures and luxurious natural materials. On the top floor, the hotel’s rooftop terraces are an urban oasis, with a sky bar and gardens with spectacular views of the river and Westminster skyline.