In our continuing Meet the Designers series we get to know the people behind One Aldwych’s exciting refurbishment. This week we met up with Fabled Studio, Tom Strother and Steven Saunders who began their careers under David Collins and set up Fabled Studio in 2011. Their design approach is described as “a high end luxurious aesthetic with a cool East End approach”.
The Evening Standard included them in its “The Power 100 – London’s most influential people 2013: Stylistas, Design” and they’ve designed some of London’s most acclaimed restaurants and bars including Margot, Jamavar, St Leonard’s, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner.
What excites you about recreating the public spaces at One Aldwych?
It’s a real thrill for us to be working on the redesign of One Aldwych. I was studying for my degree when the hotel was previously designed and it was a building that was referenced a lot at the time so to be redesigning the space now is a real honour. We’re particularly excited to see the columns in the lobby come to life with enveloping plaster lights and bronze sculptural greeter desks, inspired by Henry Moore sculptures.
What are the advantages in working in an historical, listed building such as ours?
The building has some fabulous original features that we’ve drawn upon in our design. The art nouveau iron fanlight over the entrance is particularly beautiful and we have designed bronze screens and a beautiful marble floor inlay to embody the essence of this design.
What is your design vision for The Lobby Bar?
Our vision is to take One Aldwych into the future, paying homage to its past as the home of the Morning Post newspaper and to celebrate the building’s exquisite proportion and detailing. Taking inspiration from the Parisian-style ironwork and the warm timber panelling, we are creating a harmonious design which sets the background for the hotel’s beautiful modern art. There will be newsprint block-embossed table tops in the typeface from the Morning Post and a copper and verdigris palette – a reference to the building’s copper cupola.
What is your design vision for Indigo?
The vision for Indigo is to create a restaurant gallery space overlooking the lobby in tones of indigo. We’ve upholstered the backs of the banquettes in a beautiful woven indigo patterned fabric that’s offset with plaster and bronze lamps. These sit against timber panelling offset with copper eglomise mirrors (metal leaf applied on the back of glass).
Generally speaking, what are the main challenges you face as a design studio that specialises in the hospitality sector versus residential projects or shops?
We always approach our hospitality projects in the same way as we do our residential projects by layering textures and tones with an unresting eye for detail. The only exception for hospitality projects is tempering the palette with more durable materials for the heavier traffic that a hotel or restaurant receives.