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June 01, 2018

Dayna Lee and the making of Bankside Hotel

Located in the artistic Blackfriars neighborhood on the Thames, the new Bankside Hotel’s proximity to Tate Modern influenced our design and vision from the very beginning. 

It had to be beautiful and artistic in its own right; reflecting the landmark attractions on its doorstep with inviting interiors and a progressive, energetic ambience that would draw in the arbiters of style who set the trends in this vibrant London neighbourhood.

It also had to be so much more than an artistic haven for guests with a thirst for culture:  rather we are building the foundation for a London hotel that celebrates its sense of place and connection with the local community and the inspiring people who make this ‘manor’ tick.

Art, community and social enterprise are the three guiding pillars of our venture, which our design team, led by celebrated designer, Dayna Lee of Power Studios, LA, are now ‘translating’ into form and bringing to life.

Former film set designer turned hotel interior designer, Dayna Lee set the inspiring style direction when she conceptualized “a haven for creative buzzing worker bees.” She loves the vibe that comes from all the creative industries and people who hang out in the part of the capital we call home. Now putting the finishing touches to her multi-faceted design, Lee is passionate about delivering an experience that reflects what’s going on around us. 

So, how do you design a hotel with all this in mind? 


The view from Dayna Lee, in her own words:

“Our design for Bankside Hotel has art school style with added polish, an appreciation for midcentury collection and black line drawings- all works in progress.

A tall white chimney, resembling what might have originated as a vertical block of clay shaved by a sculptor’s knife creating facets, stands in the lobby housing a fireplace. It faces a natural walnut table that is bench-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. 

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. I believe people can feel, without narration, when an object or a composition is solid, cared for and embodies the thinking process of the craftsmen, artists and manufacturers. The experience becomes a bit more ‘full.’

With this area’s past and current adjacency to media publishing, Shakespearean theatre and world-acclaimed modern art, I wanted to create spaces that support creative thinkers. The interior architecture has large expanses of gesso white walls and sculptural concrete blocks, popular as a late 1950’s building material. In lieu of a front desk, our design team drafted a stone and walnut dining table for your check-in. Sitting areas tuck in by a shaped stair of white metal with brass striped rail.

Other sitting areas are divided by racks of sculptures, similar to those in your ceramics studio class but with leather-lined shelves. The butcher block timber floor wanders towards the barista, restaurant and bar. The sconce and art details have a feeling of being drawn by a black pen.

The guestroom is designed to be cozy and restful with tweed patterned walls. All furnishings are our bespoke designs, influenced by a range of decades and we wanted them to be fitted well in the room shapes. Unique suites have freestanding tubs. All bathrooms have full-height tiles, both fluted and unconstructed by style intent. Sleek black Gessi plumbing offers timeless polish and another black line gesture. On the way to guestrooms, we designed lovely water bars, quietly reducing plastic.

Bankside Hotel’s public areas extend above and below the lobby areas. At the top of the round stairs, we designed a mezzanine library of speared books, a collector’s early 1970’s teak table for work, and art sourced from London, as well as New York. Many pieces are essentially studies from different decades. A mezzanine outdoor lounge with armoire bar is always pleasant in the city.

For unveilings, performances, meetings and shoots, there is an exhibition space that is designed to be both raw and highly polished. There are display amenities that are benefits of new construction. Under ceilings with exposed fresh new ducts and services, are white display walls outfitted with power technology to support modern venues, professional display lighting systems that can be set for each unique booking. This space with porcelain wood tile floor connects to an adjacent smaller exhibition room within which walnut panels, harkening to wall units popular in the mid 1960’s, line one wall and conceal counters with equipment to service beverages and light food. 

Multiple meeting rooms with raw exposed ceilings, suspended acoustical ceiling panels, custom designed area rugs feel like my art college studios…the luxury version that I, and our design team, always wanted."


The glass building that houses Bankside is part of the One Blackfriars development from award-winning architect Ian Simpson. 
The new Bankside Hotel opens in October 2018. Click here for reservations.