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Grand Hotel Kings Cross

Part 2 Project 2004
Louise Freeman
Oliver Grimshaw
Andrei Teaca
University of Bath | UK
Unable to photograph the interiors of London’s finest hotels, the study of the hotel typology started as a series of detailed narratives. The narrative became a design tool, as a means of externalising design ideas.

We were interested in themes of permanence and impermanence, intimacy and exhibitionism and the architecture of the domestic, formal and grandiose.

We looked to Adolf Loos’ Raumplan arrangement as the overlapping volumes accentuate the simultaneity of hotel life. In this case however, the vertical is extruded to suit the urban situation.

The primary material is a black, polished concrete, dressed internally to varying degrees with fine, softer materials. These internal cladding materials speak of fashion and comfort, while the concrete speaks of uniqueness, timelessness and gravitas.

Louise Freeman
Oliver Grimshaw
Andrei Teaca

The studio's work concentrated on the idea of the public interior. A study of typologies revealed how the interiors of the past would to express cultural asperations and be generous enough to accommodate a range of shifting uses. We were rather liberal in our definition of 'public', not wanting to be too nostalgic and interested in how more contemporary programmes could drive the design of an interior.

Louise Freeman and Oliver Grimshaw began with a study of luxury hotels. They produced illustrated books that seamlessly combined precise descriptions of the foyers and bars of the Savoy and Sandersons in London with fictional accounts of meetings and conversations. The comfort and ease of these luxury hotels became the programme for their project, a new hotel at Kings Cross.

At first their design continued the method of their descriptive books, combining careful model photographs with fragments of description and conversation. Eventually, the project grew from the inside out, to become a full building proposition with a powerful urban figure. It has a perspective of luxury, in its generosity of public and private spaces, in the elaboration of its interiors and furnishings, and in the deep blackness of its exterior.


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