Enlivening art-deco extensions to this 18th-century building sees the practice also adding in a warm and welcoming ambience with contemporary features
Client: Lansdowne Club
Architect Jestico + Whiles
Lighting designer StudioFRACTAL Lighting Design
Size 400 sq m
Duration December 2014 – May 2016
Words by Emily Martin
Images by James Newton
With the Landsdowne Club management seeking to update the club’s facilities to meet both existing and prospective members’ evolving expectations, it commissioned Jestico + Whiles to produce a long-term masterplan. The architecture and interior design practice has restored the dining room and piano bar spaces at the club, in Mayfair, spectacularly bringing them back their former art-deco glory, after considering how the club’s spaces might be better utilised within the historic building.
The now Grade-II* listed building was built in 1763, to a design by Robert Adams, and was transformed into the Lansdowne Club in the Thirties. Then a complete overhaul of the building was seen, supervised by Charles Fox, and included a four-storey extension over the ballroom to house a new dining room and piano bar. These new spaces are regarded with great significance, with the original interior design completed by White Allo – a firm associated with the interiors of the ocean liners Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.
A newly installed partition of clear glazing and brass detail allows the dining room to be divided
The tired spaces, as they eventually became, have been transformed to relive the splendor of their art-deco heyday. Original features have been reinstated, including the concentric silver leaf detailing in the ceiling, while the fluted vents, coffered ceilings and a columned lobby are all restored.
‘Our design responds to the club’s brief to create a dining room that retains its grandeur, but is warm and welcoming,’ says Ben Marston, director at Jestico + Whiles. ‘Members can unwind and enjoy both formal events and informal dining.’
Jestico + Whiles worked closely with StudioFRACTAL Lighting Design to enhance the original period features through subtle emphases on new materials and a new colour palette, which features typical period colours.
The dining room’s choice of materials and colour scheme have been chosen to be sympathetic to the historic context while adding a contemporary twist.
A new glazed brass screen now subtly divides the main dining room, allowing the space to condense to half the size in less busy periods without compromising on ambience.
The piano bar now features a standout antiqued and rose-mirrored cocktail bar
A temperature-controlled glazed wine room glows like a jewellery cabinet, putting the club’s fine cellar on display, and a showpiece Verde Guatemala marble buffet unit provides a luxurious counter space at breakfast.
The piano bar features a piano that once entertained passengers on the Queen Mary and an antiqued rose-mirrored cocktail bar – a magnificent addition to the space. A rich combination of other period finishes, including burr walnut, antiqued mirror, and brass, complements the selection of inlaid stone and broadloom carpet with custom motifs.
Instrumental to Jestico + Whiles’s design scheme is StudioFRACTAL Lighting Design’s ambient lighting scheme, which showcases many of the interior’s original features and sensitively emphasises an art-deco elegance using the latest lighting technology. It updated the spaces’ existing lighting, such as the original cove lighting, which has now been replaced with LED strip.
Custom-designed miniature LED spotlights provide subtle highlighting onto the bar, tables and a new dividing screen, while controlled highlighting was integrated into the new wine room shelving, bar and original wall carvings.
Subtle background illumination was added to the window treatments and original roof lights.
The entrance lobby features a custom-designed wall lighting scheme, based on the original liner-inspired features. All lighting is by 3000K LEDs and operates through a dimmable control system, allowing a range of lighting environments to match breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktail-hour settings.
Choice of materials and a period-colour palette in the dining room adds ambience, aided by a range of time-appropriate lighting through an LED dimmable control system
The key challenges of the project were around the building’s listed status and required detailed heritage assessments. Jestico + Whiles had to conceal new services by ‘weaving it in to the existing fabric’ as part of the modernisation plan for the spaces. All was carried out while the club continued to operate, with as much fabrication done off-site as possible.
The work has resulted in refreshed and contemporary spaces while encompassing the splendour of the art-deco period. ‘We are delighted that the restoration has been so well received by the club’s members,’ says Ben Marston, director at Jestico + Whiles. ‘We have evoked a classical ambience, overlaying contemporary features that complement and enhance the building’s rich heritage, creating a space that changes its character throughout the day and into the night.’
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