The brief was to refurbish the 82-room former Arch Hotel in the heart of the West End, with a focus on bringing Japanese design and hospitality ideals to the West. Principles of strong design, attention to detail, craftsmanship, natural and sensory elements, and wellbeing were followed, to bring the spaces to life. The design across the hotel draws inspiration from Japanese traditions and relationships with calmness and minimalism. Every element from the colour palette and furniture, to the materiality and lighting has been chosen to emanate luxury, and feel in accord with nature.
Each guest room has been created with care to ensure that every detail is well-crafted, and graceful in its simplicity. The rooms have minimal, low level bed frames, backed by a serene fusuma inspired headboard. The lighting and FF&E introduce elegance to the guest rooms, through the use of blonde timbers, simple geometries and neutral tones.
Throughout the design thinking process, teams worked to find solutions to strike a balance between traditional Japanese design elements, and the modern traveller’s aesthetic expectations. nuances of Japanese concepts were incorporate, whilst celebrating the old Georgian building and transforming it into an experience in line with the brand.
The Malt Lounge and Bar transforms seamlessly from a Japanese tea room during the day, to a whisky bar at night. The space hosts an array of Japanese whiskies that are concealed during the day and effortlessly slide into position in front of the Georgian windows, to present an illuminated display of whisky bottles in the evening.
The choice of hues reflecting those of both tea and whisky – dark stone, bronze countertops and traditional prayer panels installed throughout the space with minimal wall lights, have been an important element in ensuring the design works well.
This project’s challenge, located in an old Georgian building, came from the fact that half of the structure has heritage status. This had to be kept in mind when designing the various spaces. With The Malt Lounge & Bar, it was made sure that is was designed to not affect the fabric of the existing shelling.
In the TOKii restaurant, timber is dominantly used throughout, with the juxtaposition of light and dark carved timbers complemented by the basalt brick sushi counter front and concrete countertop. TOKii has a bespoke oak table, designed in-house and made by Forest to Home. In The Malt Lounge and Bar, the panels have Japanese letters that have been painstakingly hand-painted by an artisan sign writer – Luminor Sign Company.