Martin Goddard

The renowned hotel designer is moving into the residential market

If you are a connoisseur of five-star hotels, you will have no doubt admired the work of Martin Goddard. He has been quietly engineering excellence in hotels worldwide for the past 16 years and has worked on some impressive projects, including the St Pancras Renaissance, the Berkeley and various projects for the Four Seasons group. His most recent project, for GA Design, is the Corinthia Hotel, just off Whitehall in central London, which claims to be ‘the first, new truly five-star hotel to open in London in a century’. Goddard was lead designer of almost the whole project, including 300 guest rooms, suites and 12 luxury residences.

After such a sustained period of distinction, Goddard’s career has recently taken a new direction. He left GA Design earlier this year after 10 years, and had a brief spell as the creative design director of Anouska Hempel Design. Goddard was reported to have been appointed because of his experience of hotel design and is still acting as a consultant to Lady Weinberg’s company on a hotel project with Baccarat in Rabat, Morocco, which is due to complete in 2013.

The most recent addition to Goddard’s CV was the launch of his own design practice earlier this summer, which also coincided with a very new challenge. He hopes soon to be in a position to take on his own in-house staff but for now is working with a team of about eight tried-and-trusted collaborators. He was recently named the interior designer for the Berkeley Group’s Ebury Square project in Belgravia. Berkeley is a major player in London residential property development but Ebury Square will mark its entrance into the super-premium sector of the capital’s market. ‘One Hyde Park has set a new benchmark,’ says Goddard, ‘and it is our ambition for Ebury Square to be mentioned in the same breath.’

It is not surprising that Berkeley chose to court one of the respected names in hotel design for this landmark project. ‘Ebury Square promises new levels of luxury and distinction,’ purrs the Berkeley website and such promises can only be delivered by a small group of professional designers. Asked what a hotel designer can bring to a residential project, Goddard cites a particular level of experience and practicality, working to tighter budgets and tighter deadlines than those of a typical high-end interior designer. Also, the scope of Goddard’s previous projects will stand him in good stead as he plans the 71 residential units that will form the Ebury Square portfolio. Architect Squire & Partners has already delivered the design of the two new buildings that will replace the two council blocks currently occupying that corner of the square.

Sadly, Goddard’s passion for spas will not be experienced by the Ebury Square residents as the project plans only allow for a gym and areas for personal training and massage. This is in contrast to the four floors of spa facilities (including a pool) at the Corinthia. ‘I really enjoy designing spas,’ confesses Goddard. ‘It’s a total sensory experience — I want people to have something that pleases all their senses.’

Goddard’s other passions are for joinery and materials, particularly stone. He personally supervises the choice of stone and draws the joinery details to make sure they are exactly right. Such high-level detailing will be a feature at Ebury Square and the master bedroom suites will be the focal point of the two-, three- or four-bedroom lateral apartments. Goddard is no stranger to pressure but he will need to keep on top of some tight deadlines — the first projects are expected to be ready for viewing in February or March next year.

This article was first published in idfx Magazine.

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