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May 23, 2018

A New Hotel for London’s South Bank

(London) Bankside is a design-forward hotel opening in October 2018 on the South Bank of the River Thames in the heart of one of London’s most dynamic neighbourhoods. Just a stone’s throw from Tate Modern, British Film Institute and Borough Market, the 161-room hotel will be connected to the vibrant local community through its interiors, restaurant and bar and cultural events programme.

Dayna Lee of Los Angeles’ Powerstrip Studio is the design visionary behind this new six-storey hotel and has subtly embedded the historical ethos of its SE1 surroundings within the aesthetic. A film set art director-turned-hotel designer, Dayna approaches the design as a narrative and has taken a light-hearted and laid-back approach. Dayna notes, “Our design for Bankside Hotel has art school style with added polish, an appreciation for mid-century collection and black line drawings.

The glass building that houses Bankside is part of the One Blackfriars development from award-winning architect Ian Simpson. Its contemporary exterior lines belie Lee’s timeless interiors which blend mid-century modern classics with works from interesting up-and-coming makers and artists sourced from around the world.
Dayna says, “With this connection to publishing houses, theatre and world acclaimed modern art, I wanted to create spaces that support makers and thinkers. I feel strongly that people have a natural sixth sense for their environment beyond the materials to the process of how the special joinery, furnishings and art were made and we have taken a keen interest in products made by local hands. I think people naturally know when an object or a composition is cared for and embodies the thinking process of the craftsmen, artists and manufacturers.”

Commissioned Work - Key works within the hotel include:
  • Laura Carlin - Ceramicist and illustrator from London, will provide two wall murals composed of illustrated tiles that bring to life the cultural narratives of the Southbank.
  • Malgorzata Bany - London-based artist and designer, is creating a series of side tables cast from Jesmonite based on the Pilotis Range - a collection inspired by the architectural language of columns used historically to raise buildings above ground or water.
  • Timorous Beasties - Multi-award-winning studio from Glasgow have been commissioned to create a textured backdrop that sits behind a leather and metal rocking horse.
  • Custom pieces of art hang above every bed. In one case the in-house creative team took iconic architectural images of the Great Arthur Estate in EC1 and manipulated and enhanced them into original works.
  • George Smith sofas – Inspired by one of the Regency’s most celebrated furniture designers George Smith, all of the furniture is handmade to order and built from the finest natural raw materials in workshops in the North of England.
  • Galvin Brother tables – a family-owned business based in East Yorkshire will be creating handcrafted wooden tables to feature within the hotel.

Bankside will deliver an inspiring place to be, along with top-notch amenities and service. In-room, thoughtful tech touches include remote controlled blackout blinds and lighting as well as intuitive amenities such as a downlit luggage stand and 12 USB charging points. The configurations and custom furniture pieces are designed to make the most of the floor-to-ceiling windows and create light-filled spaces that are cosy and restful. On each guest floor a carefully stocked vending machine will sell a small collection of products from the United Kingdom, United States and beyond. Water bars with sparkling and still water taps will also be found on each floor.

Bankside has been thoughtfully designed to deliver an airy-residential feel where lines are blurred between work and play, with social spaces providing inspirational gallery-style environments. The first-floor library, a fun space for reading, coworking or socialising, spills out into an outdoor deck for cocktails.

Lee explains, ‘we wanted to design a luxury boutique hotel for creative working professionals with calm rooms and bespoke public spaces that reflect the vibrant, history-steeped community of SE1. For example, a tall white chimney, resembling what might have originated as a vertical block of clay has been shaved by a sculptor’s knife creating facets. This stands in the lobby housing a fireplace. It faces a natural walnut table that is be custom-made by UK wood workers with hand tools and is flanked by low sofas of our own design made by an extremely respected UK sofa maker.”

At the heart of the Bankside vision is the aim to be one of London's most sustainable hotels. A zero-landfill-waste target has been set, beehives are planned for the roof, and the guest rooms will all come with power-saving attributes. Furniture and fittings are made from sustainably-sourced wood, waste food will be recycled as biofuel and non or low-VOC paints will be used throughout. A partnership with Bouteco (a consultancy specialising in hotel sustainability) signals the project’s commitment to doing more than just saving water and electricity, while the hotel is working to forge connections with local businesses and ethical social enterprises in SE1.