(UK) – Inspired by Kingston’s rich aviation heritage, the Double Tree Hilton is located a stone’s throw away from the River Thames in an airy, corner building bathed in natural light. The overall design scheme of the hotel’s interior holds a warm and contemporary aesthetic with subtle touches of aircraft paraphernalia in honour of Australian aviation pioneer Harry Hawker.
Interior designers Design LSM worked closely with lighting designers Light Corp ’93 (formally The Light Corporation) to devise a design that aided the flow of the space while also clearly defining separate areas by using prominent statement pieces to separate the open space of the ground floor décor and seamlessly blend each area together.
Guests entering the lobby are greeted by a welcoming, social space, with a blend of relaxed seating and tables. A grand ten-metre bar features architectural lighting, which illuminates the area and its rich copper façade carefully merges the lounge into Hawkers Bar & Brasserie. Custom brass feature pendants cover the lounge and bar area providing soft ambient lighting through bare globe filament lamps. All of the pendants and spotlights in the restaurant are finished in copper to match the scheme’s design, whilst the bar and decorative features throughout the lobby are finished in matching brushed brass. These small coordinated details assist the cohesion of the lighting with the other furniture, fixtures and equipment in the space. A warm palette of copper, teal and soft greys bring the interior of the bar and restaurant to life, with its rich leather seating, bespoke opal globe pendants and ornate floor tiles conjuring up an air of elegant opulence, while the low-level mirror screens and an exposed statement ceiling offer a modern industrial feel.
Bright Good’s sepia tinted maxi globe lamps are hung bare and installed in clusters amongst copper pipework that runs around the perimeter of the restaurant, while the task lighting in the dining space is provided by copper surrounded spotlights fixed to the same feature. Display lighting for the wall mounted shelving is provided by in-joinery LED strips and downlights.
In order to give the brassiere an independent feel to the rest of the space the designers created an enticing exterior entrance complete with bespoke glass doors and an enclosed terrace allowing for al fresco dining all year round. Bespoke glass pendants were designed and mounted to a custom canopy with matching Original BTC Davey Box wall lights and warm filament lamps used to illuminate the outdoor area.
Design LSM Project Director Andy Harwood worked on the renovated space for ten months to bring several elements together in a cohesive, multi-functional environment.“There was a lot of functionality needed in a space that wasn’t necessarily deigned for that purpose,” Harwood explains. “There are different stakeholders with different criteria, in one space you have someone who wants to operate a restaurant and there’s a hotel that needs to function as a hotel as well as a Hilton franchise. We had to come up with different techniques to divide the space into separate areas. A lot of the service routes had to be changed and redirected across spaces you wouldn’t usually have in a building specifically designed to be a hotel.”
For both the interior designers and lighting designers the project’s main challenge was working with a complicated and difficult concrete building. Matt Parker of Light Corp ’93 explains: “The building had exposed services, columns, ledges and bulkheads, all obstacles for cable tray positions, large light features and the continuous copper pipe light system that runs throughout the restaurant. Multiple coordination drawings and site meetings were the only way a workable solution could be found and even then the challenge was tough.
“As tough a challenge as the initial layout was, the seamless flow of the space and definition of individual areas stand out thanks to the carefully considered lighting design, Parker continues. “All of the light fittings were specially designed for the project using our in-house designers and manufacturing facility. This enabled us to match copper and brass finishes to maintain a consistent look and feel to the decorative products. The design worked well and formed a comfortable, warm atmosphere – dynamic enough to provide both a light and airy breakfast environment and then a moody, romantic evening atmosphere.”
Using a mixture of soft ambient lighting from pendants to direct artwork lighting and accent lighting for columns, displays and wall finishes – Design LSM and Light Corp ’93 developed an interesting, layered lighting scheme to sit within the general interior, bringing warmth to an otherwise harsh industrial space and enhancing the Art Deco style of the interior. The carefully considered lighting scheme aids the flow between the restaurant/ bar and the hotel’s functional areas seamlessly.