One to Watch
Showcasing the work and talents of design consultancy Holloway Li, founded in 2018 and providing architectural and interior design services
Words by Emily Martin
Alex Holloway, creative director, and Na Li, managing director, both studied architecture at the Bartlett School of Architecture in the mid-late noughties, but only met later on while employed at Michaelis Boyd. Their business Holloway Li, which they set up in 2018, is a design consultancy providing architecture and interior design to a growing network of international clients across the retail, hospitality and private residential sectors. ‘We specialise in the hospitality industry, operating at the forefront of a new wave of designers who blur the boundaries between historicism, decoration and digital process, to create intricate interiors that are comfortable in the context of contemporary design culture,’ they say. The practice has been shortlisted for a number of awards including the Dezeen Awards for Sustainable Interior category.
The duo explain: ‘We met while working together on the design of Soho Farmhouse when we were both employed at Michaelis Boyd. We formed a good working relationship during that time, before separately going on to start our own companies with other people. We started to collaborate informally together on a few projects before formally starting a company when things really started to take off for us.’ Their first project was an extension to a residential cottage set on a dramatic cliff that overlooks the sea in Pembrokeshire in South Wales. And while most of the practices, larger hotel projects are city-based, Holloway and Li say they would love to design one in a rural setting or by the sea. ‘We are also becoming increasingly involved in the creative strategy side of our projects – clients like to work with us because of the youthful mindset that underpins a lot of our work and we are helping more and more at the concept stage to assist clients with understanding how their projects can have cross-demographic appeal,’ they say. For every new commission the practice sets a reuse innovation target to ‘help drive the conversation and develop new techniques and approaches’.
1. The Market Building in Clerkenwell, London
Image credit: NICHOLAS WORLEY. An experience-led showroom and co-working space for Coalbrook is inspired by the forms of the industrial revolution. ‘The brand takes its name from Coalbrookdale, a town in the Midlands, the site of the world’s first iron bridge and cradle of the Industrial Revolution,’ explains Holloway. ‘Our design evokes industrial forms and materiality.’
2. Bermonds Locke in Bermondsey, London
Image credit: EDMUND DABNEY. In 2020 the practice completed Bermonds Locke for home-meets-Rooftop bar at The Hoxton in Shoreditch, London A ‘floating glasshouse in the sky’, as put by Holloway, offers an elevated dining experience atop The Hoxton hotel in London. ‘Our seventh-floor extension created an elevated dining experience submerged within London’s Skyline, complete with dazzling rooftop views and a minimal waste design approach,’ he adds.hotel brand Locke’s. It’s an urban retreat in the heart of Bermondsey and brought to life with repurposed materials. Li says: ‘Our innovative design transformed the 143-room hotel into a surreal, iridescent haven, inspired by California’s Joshua Tree and Mojave desert.’
3. Rooftop bar at The Hoxton in Shoreditch, London
Image credit: NICHOLAS WORLEY. A ‘floating glasshouse in the sky’, as put by Holloway, offers an elevated dining experience atop The Hoxton hotel in London. ‘Our seventh-floor extension created an elevated dining experience submerged within London’s Skyline, complete with dazzling rooftop views and a minimal waste design approach,’ he adds.