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to achieve a modern Four Seasons hotel within the constraints of a 1970’s building envelope. We were adding an entirely new rooftop level to provide space for a spa and lounge with unparalleled views of London and a new lift core to better service the hotel operation as well as a two-storey extension to the North elevation to create a unique restaurant experience with street entrance together with an executive meeting room above with garden views. These interventions were all planned in order to achieve our prime objective but they demanded a carefully thought-through planning consent process. Consent gained, they then necessitated the reinforcement of the existing slab with carbon fibre to take the additional load. Today, of course, the issue of sustainability in design is crucial and we worked rigorously to achieve a ‘Very Good’ BREEAM rating, which is noteworthy in the case of an existing building. In addition, a particular challenge was the planning of the guestroom floors to achieve the very high percentage of flexibly designed one, two and three bedroom suites that were specified by the client. In so doing, we believe that we have significantly increased the value of the building as a luxury, revenue-generating hotel.” Conrad Smith, MD, ReardonSmith Architects


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The Architect ... he key


challenge overall was


refurbishment of the Savoy hotel and it becomes obvious, as you walk around the public spaces of the Four Seasons, that they share a love of style and quality. The Savoy was something special, a beautifully restored treasure, but the intention there was to recreate a period piece and retain as much of its inherent charm as possible. At the Savoy evidence of 21st century modernity is pretty much hidden whereas at the Four Seasons it is embraced and integrated within an inspired theme of early and mid twentieth century excess. There is no doubt that this is a thoroughly modern hotel although the link to a more decadent age is never far away. The ground floor public spaces set the scene.


Here you walk freely from reception past the warm and cosy arrivals lounge, through to the dramatic


triple height tea lounge, into the snug bar and beyond to the restaurant and garden. Every space has its own character but all are connected by the opulent use of fine materials and exceptional art. Much of the art features wild animals, perhaps to remind guests of their proximity to Hyde Park. In the tea lounge a full height art deco style sculptured wall depicts wild deer leaping through a forest, this low relief in ivory-white plaster is magnificent, seen from the lounge and from the first floor balcony that looks over the lounge. The relocated stairs (formerly to the front of the property) are enhanced by a 1930’s inspired brass balustrade that curves and rises up and along the viewing gallery above. At the foot of the stairs is a beautiful commissioned statue of a horse’s head, made by sculptor Jonathan Knight


GS MAGAZINE 17


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