We start our hotel focus looking at recent projects with the racetrack-side Escapade Silverstone, and the Kimpton Vividora Hotel in Barcelona
Edited by Toby Maxwell
Few industries have been hit as hard by the pandemic as the hospitality sector. Restrictions on international travel have cut off much of the normal flow of customers, while social distancing and hygiene requirements have raised huge logistical challenges in how to adapt spaces and facilities that simply were not designed with such requirements in mind.
As 2020 draws to a close, attention has to turn to the future – a future that almost certainly involves Covid-19 being around for a while longer yet. The obstacles that remain for hotels mean considerable responsibility rests on the shoulders of designers and architects, who now need to ensure their projects meet a whole new set of very important requirements. Making a building Covid-safe is one thing, but creating a space that visitors are prepared to put their own ‘travel reluctance’ aside for in order to stay is arguably an even bigger task, and one that demands even more of the clever, creative solutions that hotel design has become known for.
For some inspiration, we take a whistle-stop tour of a varied bunch of recent projects. From a completely reinvented former council offices in north London and an eco-friendly Milan hotel for sustainable stays, to a trackside pit stop for true petrolheads, these projects demonstrate the myriad creative paths that can be chosen to help lead the hotel trade out of the darkest of times.
Part One: The racetrack-side Escapade Silverstone, and the Kimpton Vividora Hotel in Barcelona
The Kimpton Vividora Hotel, located in Barcelona’s 'Old City', aims to offer a genuine Spanish experience. Designed by El Equipo Creativo, the spaces, rooms and restaurants try to reflect the Barcelonian lifestyle, with a chic, cheerful and fresh atmosphere.
Kimpton Hotels are boutique hotels with no uniform brand design. The briefing for this location was to create a hotel with a local approach, including unique spaces that reflect the city’s lifestyle and architecture. The design strategy was to create a dialogue between the hotel and the city, and, more specifically, a close connection with the neighbourhood where the property is located. Ciutat Vella, meaning Old City, is a district distinct from much of Barcelona, with a slow pace and artsy atmosphere characterised by small pedestrian streets, museums, street art, small shops, traditional bars and cafes, and improvised skate parks.
The idea for the scheme was to create different and unique spaces, inviting both guests and locals to stay, enjoy, meet and interact. The design brings handcrafted elements, local brands and art together, with reinterpreted references to the past mixed with a contemporary look.
One of the challenges was organising the public programme, as the street level was especially small. The solution was to use this street level exclusively for the bar. Café Got acts as a connection between the city and the hotel: an active space with a long facade facing the street, inviting guests and locals to enter and interact.
The lobby area is located on a mezzanine level. A double-height space connects it with the bar while bringing a watery effect to the space through a cascade of glass lamps. Three stones perform as reception desks, referencing the stone fountains in the Gothic patios. The lobby space is completed with a lounge area and a co-working table.
Barcelona – and especially the Old City that is in contact with the sea – is a place full of contrast and contradictions. The designers wanted to reflect this in the rooms, using colour, temperature and materiality as the main ingredients to emphasise these contrasts.
In terms of colour, the design team honed in on just two of the multitude of colours on display in the city: the warm terracotta tones of its architecture, and the fresh blue tones of the Mediterranean Sea. As in an abstract art composition, the team brought together two colour blocks to the Vividora rooms, with warm leather headboards in the sleeping area contrasting with the colder, blue, crafted ceramic dividers of the bathroom area.
The bathroom area is a key component as it is visually connected to the rest of the room. This strategy helps to broaden the sense of space and also extends natural light into the washbasin and the shower area behind the glazed wall.
Continuing the theme of contrasts, the warm, wooden flooring and surfaces serve as a counterpoint for the colder, stony, elegant surfaces of the water area, while black orthogonal metal structures frame mirrors and lamps.
In the suite rooms, the designers bring a similar colour, temperature and material strategy, based on playing with contrasts and opposites. Here, upgraded features include a living room area or a bathtub facing the private balcony, and views of the city from the highest floor of the building. en.elequipocreativo.com | kimptonvividorahotel.com
Escapade Silverstone, Silverstone
The properties feature cantilevered terraces, allowing spectators to be close to the racetrack
Escapade Silverstone, comprising 60 residences and a clubhouse, will give guests the chance to live out their racing ambitions while offering striking sightlines of the famous Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire. In operation from May 2022, the development received planning consent at the end of 2019.
Up to now, those seeking higher-end accommodation when track events are held have been forced to stay in London and travel to the circuit for events. Escapade Silverstone aims to change that, offering a clubhouse and facilities including simulator rooms, briefing rooms, a driver-focused gym, oxygen swimming pool and sauna, restaurant, bar, and private dining room.
The residences themselves have cantilevered terraces, allowing spectators to get even closer to the racetrack. Light-filled and with high acoustic specifications, they have underfloor heating, comfort cooling and en suite bathrooms. A limited number will be made available for sale: two, three, and four-bedroom residences will be priced between £650,000 and £1.65m. When an owner is not staying in their residence, it will form part of the wider accommodation available to guests at Silverstone, allowing owners to gain a return on their investment.
Escapade Silverstone will also separately provide climate-controlled car storage, allowing owners to securely store vehicles when not in use. This facility will offer full pre- and post-use preparation and inspection, allowing guests to turn up and make the most of their time on the track.
Escapade Living CEO Will Tindall says: ‘We’re delighted to be working with such a world-renowned venue as Silverstone for our first development. Escapade Living creates destinations that are entirely of their surroundings, while also providing owners with the opportunity to make a return on unique world-class property. The residences overlook arguably the most exciting complex of corners on all of the F1 calendar.
‘In our opinion, real luxury doesn’t feel expensive; it feels comfortable and natural. That’s what Escapade Silverstone provides. It is completely integrated with the circuit – an authentic experience borne out of the world’s foremost racetrack and, as a finished product, baked into it.’
The Escapade Living team combines the work of Twelve Architects, interior design firm Michaelis Boyd, and project management consultancy Tower Eight.