Quiet ColourModernist rooms at the Berkeley
‘On entering, I hope guests will feel at home, as though they are staying in the apartment of the hotel’s well-travelled owners; where it would be natural to find the eclectic influence of the countries, artists and designers they have fallen in love with over the years.’
A new, modernist-inspired language of flowing lines and quiet colour whispers through the first floor of The Berkeley in Knightsbridge. The century-old hotel enlisted architect John Heah to redesign an entire floor of rooms and suites in collaboration with Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners. The latter’s installation of large windows and spacious terraces fills the spaces with daylight and affords covetable, leafy views over St Paul’s Church and Hyde Park.
There is a tacit Asian influence in Heah’s sparing but flexible use of simple, carefully sourced materials. Danish fabric lines the walls alongside sustainable Indonesian teak and Tunisian stone, with touches of bronze, and white and black marble from Greece and Italy. Together, these surfaces reflect a warm blend of light, and the rooms bask in an easy glow. ‘We always use a very soft, limited palette, which repeats in different ways,’ John says. ‘When combined with the correct lighting, the effect is instantly relaxing.’
Heah wanted to ensure that the rooms would never feel artificially lit, and worked with George Sexton (who lit MoMA, New York) on the curved plaster ceiling that is at once discreet and dramatic. ‘It plays on the idea of the traditional central ceiling rose you might find in the old, grand houses of Mayfair, turning what would have been the cornice into the light source itself,’ Heah explains.
Each room is personalised with its own collection of modern art, unique books and design objects. With the exception of a handful of items – a Charlotte Perriand desk chair; a Carl Malmsten sofa and lounge chair; and Serge Mouille lamps – John and his team designed every piece of furniture. For them, this was an essential part of crafting the space as a whole. ‘We enjoy creating environments underpinned by small, thoughtful details,’ Heah says. ‘On entering, I hope guests will feel at home, as though they are staying in the apartment of the hotel’s well-travelled owners; where it would be natural to find the eclectic influence of the countries, artists and designers they have fallen in love with over the years.’
- Words: Ruth Ainsworth
- Photos: Rich Stapleton