As one of London’s most iconic hotels, the Café Royal is perhaps the most famous landmark of the capital’s social scene. Founded in 1863 by a French wine merchant, the hotel has been established as a five star cultural icon for over a century. Now it has enjoyed an artistic makeover from art advisors, Atelier 27.
Classic Yet Modern
Atelier 27’s styling aims to pay tribute to the exceptional identity of the hotel and continue to reflect its loaded history. Through the variety of 600 art works and 2000 decorative objects, the redesign promises to allow the hotel to remain with its iconic design, yet steeped in modern aspects of contemporary art.
Atelier 27 collaborated with British artists in order to enhance the classic atmosphere of the hotel with a modern twist. They did this by proposing a range of British talents such as Rosie McGuinness, Luke Edward Hall and Kit Agar.
Created by Josephine Fossey and Florence Lipszych, Atelier 27 has previously styled Lutetia in Paris, The Royal Atlantis in Dubai, Hotel de Paris in Monaco, St Regis Astana in Kazakhstan as well as many private villas in Hong Kong and palaces in Saudi Arabia.
Inspired By The Past
Inspired by the rich history of the hotel, Atelier 27 delved into archives and displayed vintage photographs of the times when St James aristocrats, Soho artists and ladies of Mayfair would meet for parties and reunions.
The lobby, perhaps the most important part of the hotel as the creator of first impressions, was considered as a key area in Atelier 27’s design. They wanted to create a generous and ambitious floral decoration which included a vase composition as the central element. This space also includes books and decorative objects displayed in the libraries of the area.
Italian artist Sara Ricciardi played a key role in designing the lobby. Based in Milan, she draws inspiration from life and nature. She designed the central vase piece of the lobby which is provided with a new flower arrangement every week.
Alicja Podforska Birkner’s work also features in the lobby, with her sculptures which appear to reflect different feelings of the artist. Birkner’s work is unique as she does not see herself as a ceramicist, but a mediator where her thoughts take form in her sculptures. The aim here is for her work to give a spiritual presence within the hotel.
Having provided rooms for some of the most influential people in London throughout the years, the rooms at the Café Royal aim to reflect the personality of the guests and the people of Britain.
As the British are known for their off-beat humour, Atelier 27 took this into account when considering the personalities of the faithful guests who come to stay at the iconic hotel.
In the guestrooms, Atelier 27 pays tribute to Britain’s eccentric identity, while still incorporating a chic and distinguished environment. This is done, for example, by including a series of portraits which depict classic style, yet incorporate a playful stroke of paint over the face, as a gesture of bringing together the old and new, juxtaposing tradition with the modern.
The rooms centre around atypical artworks and aim to be unexpected. There are also archive artworks in the guestrooms to reflect on the hotel’s elite history.
Chloe Cheese is a British artist who contributed to the artwork in the guestrooms, known for depicting scenes of London that illustrate her own observations and sensibility of the city.
London based photographer Anthony Gerace makes collages which recall the avant-garde movement of the ’30s and ’40s, reminiscing on the history and memories of the hotel’s past.
The Meeting Rooms
Many professional gatherings take place at the Café Royal, so it was important for Atelier 27 to consider the design with this in mind. The aim for these spaces was to incorporate playfulness and structure, yet always tricking perception.
London-based artist Luke Edward Hall has a love of history and his artwork incorporates playfulness into this. His work is mainly influenced by dusty country houses and mid-century architecture. His drawings feature on the walls of the Meeting Rooms to add colour and an eccentric quality.
Paul Bik also has work featured in the Café Royal’s meeting rooms. Bik likes to play with the viewers’ perceptions through geometric structures and a restricted colour range.
The Laurent Restaurant was used in the re-decoration to tell the story of the Café Royal’s role through the ages. The hotel welcomed royalty, celebrates and creatives, making it the iconic landmark of London’s social scene. Atelier 27 decided to make the restaurant the central place to pay homage to its past, and display archive images from those times.
Famed people such as Oscar Wilde and David Bowie feature on the walls of the renowned restaurant.
Other works featured in the restaurant include pieces by Victor Cadene, a French artist specialising in themes surrounding interior design. The unique creations of Victor Cadene invite the guest to discover an intriguing scene and details inspired by British interiors.
The Corridors reflect the luxury image of the hotel. Atelier 27 focused on providing elegant compositions and bespoke artworks. Claire Pestaille created colleges for Café Royal that show silhouettes and photography of the buildings interiors, and other artists such as James Outbridge creates minimalist and contemporary sculptures that sit well in sophisticated settings.