Rosewood London opened late last year becoming the first European presence for the ultra-luxury Rosewood Hotels & Resorts group. Located in Holborn, where the bustling areas of the City and West End meet, the hotel is the result of a sensitive transformation of the 1914 Edwardian Belle Epoque building that was previously known as Chancery Court.
Designed by H. Percy Monckton, the original structure was completed in 1914 and has, in the years since, undergone four subsequent expansions, completed durings its half century as the headquarters for the Pearl Assurance Company.
The most recent transformation of this historic building from Imperial-era offices into a London luxury hotel was carried out under the guidance of English Heritage, which lists the principal facades, as well as the interiors of the former East and West Banking Halls (now Holborn Dining Room and the Bar, respectively) and the Grand Staircase as the hotel’s significant heritage features.
The guiding philosophy of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts is to design each property so that it reflects the history, culture and sensibilities of a particular location. At Rosewood London this meant that when it came to interior design and lighting for the most prominent public areas, the bar and restaurant at the front of the hotel, it was essential to select a company that would be sensitive to the building’s history and culture as well as its technical requirements.
For the bar area, dubbed Scarfes Bar, Martin Brudnizki Design transformed the space into a warm and vibrant environment taking inspiration from the atmosphere of a drawing room and the sophistication of a gentleman’s club. Optimising the building’s heritage, original architectural features were retained to ensure the space had a strong sense of history. Throughout the bar, vintage furnishings were mixed with custom designed pieces, allowing guests to continually discover new elements of the design. The lighting was produced by London-based, bespoke lighting specialists Dernier & Hamlyn, a company whose own history spans back to 1888.
A series of two metre high globe lamps were produced, each hand finished with a patina paint effect to mimic weathered brass. These were actually created using a variety of materials with aluminium dominating to ensure that they were within the specified weight limits. The largest of these chandeliers provides an eye-catching feature for the space and is complemented by smaller versions, located in other areas of the room.
Along the bar are lamps formed from solid brass and finished in a hand bronze by the Dernier & Hamlyn team. The glass was hand blown in opal glass with a thin metal framework again made in brass and finished to match.
The bar is already becoming one of the most exciting places to drink in London and the recently opened Holborn Dining Room is set to achieve the same on the eating front. Again this space was designed by Martin Brudnizki Design with lighting from Dernier & Hamlyn. Formerly the East Banking Hall of Pearl Assurance it is a smart, bustling brasserie with a menu of simple yet sophisticated British dishes.
The lighting here emulates that same simple yet sophisticated effect. Blackened steel oval frames some seven metres long are given the required support by sub frames and required mixed construction methods that incorporated both laser cutting and making sections by hand. These chandeliers also accommodate LED emergency lighting discreetly fitted to the cross section bars in order not to detract from the intended visual impact.
The requirement for the main lighting was large 120mm globe lamps. LED was requested, but despite a global search the team found no options that could supply the quality, light colour and visual appearance that was required. Instead the LED lamps had to be custom made. This was a lengthy process that needed detailed and protracted discussions between the interior designers, the lighting manufacturers and the lamp production company, Heritage Lighting, to develop lamps that met all technical and aesthetic requirements. But as Garrow Seal of Martin Brudnizki explains, the finished effect was well worth the effort. “We have worked with Dernier & Hamlyn on many projects and continue to select them whenever we want the best quality bespoke lighting for high end hospitality clients,” he says. “Their range of manufacturing skills and focus on producing the best possible solutions to our design briefs was evidenced yet again for Rosewood London’s lighting and both we and the client are delighted with the results.”