By designing a building from the inside-out as much as from the outside-in, we inculcate a sense of continuity and connection to the wider world. The starting point for any design solution is to gain an understanding of people’s needs and the way in which a space will be used. The goal is the creation of interiors that are both functional and elegant, while evoking a sense of place and complementing a building’s outward expression.
On arrival guests are greeted by the first glimpses of the panoramic views, and the glowing onyx wall of the reception desk. Guests are then led through the axial flower-lined canyon towards the Jean-Georges restaurant, Sky High, which unfolds in a dramatic bar and lounge as guests descend a monument staircase flanked by two black stone ‘water-walls’.
In a fusion of interior and exterior, the inset bays provide a modular unit and organising principle for the hotel rooms, allowing for a variety of planning options. The upper-level suites are angled to create a generous central living space. Luxurious corner suites benefit from spectacular dual-aspect views of the harbour and the peaks and gardens.
The notion of teamwork and collaboration flows into the desking systems and layout of each floor. Bespoke height-adjustable, radial desks are laid out in clusters and pods for up to six people, allowing for privacy, personalisation, wellbeing and collaborative working. The ceiling is another unique and innovative element developed for the building, inspired by the pressed metal ceilings of New York.
The club is entered via a glazed atrium that frames views out over the harbour to the palace. On the first floor are a clubroom, bar and restaurant. Above is a double-height function space, and above that an apartment for the club secretary and a series of ‘cabins’ for visiting guests. The uppermost floors accommodate a range of event spaces.
The project is the first flagship hotel in which everything, from the shell of the building to the bathroom fittings, has been designed by the practice – the result is an elegant fusion of interior and exterior design that signals a new contemporary approach for London’s boutique hotels.
Where most other rooftops are filled with machinery, the top of 30 St Mary Axe takes on a more social role with private dining rooms at Level 38, restaurant at Level 39, and the bar at Level 40. The materials in the restaurant are restrained but luxurious – polished black granite floor and dark silk grey walls, with tinted glazing on the façade reducing glare and solar gain.