Architects: Jestico + Whiles
Location: London, England
Project Manager: GVA Second London Wall
Client: Excel London (part of Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company)
Photographs: Tim Crocker
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has opened the first Aloft Hotel in the UK at ExCeL London. The Aloft London Excel has been designed by Jestico + Whiles, the architects behind the highlysuccessful W London‐ Leicester Square which opened earlier this year.
Developed by London ExCeL’s parent company, ADNEC (Abu Dhabi National ExhibitionsCompany) and constructed by McAleer&Rushe, Jestico + Whiles’ innovative design for thearchitecture and interiors provides 252 guest bedrooms; an exciting ‘w xyzSMbar’; are:chargeSMfitness suite with gym and SplashSMpool; re:fuel by AloftSMa one‐stop, 24–hourgrab‐and‐go food and beverage area; five ‘Tactic’ meeting rooms; together with a newrestaurant concept restaurant ‘FEDE’ separately operated by Elior.
The plan of the building has a convex central spine containing bedrooms and the verticalcirculation, flanked by two concave wings which house further bedrooms and corridors.These wings are clad in thousands of specially treated, highly reflective stainless‐steelshingles creating the extraordinary effect of constantly changing colour with the passing of the day.
The central spine of the hotel has been finished with a bespoke, double‐glazed cladding, which features a translucent ceramic frit pattern and solid back‐painted spandrel panels. Inspired by the illusion of depth seen in some of Bridget Riley’s paintings, abstract horizontal stripes fritted onto the glass have been designed to emphasise the flow of the building. Thiscreates an unusual interplay of movement and depth when combined with the undulatingcolours of the crescent wings.
The building’s ‘serpentine’ layering reduces internal corridor lengths and brings natural daylight into the central lift core lobby whilst addressing the site restrictions generated bycomplex service infrastructure surrounding the exhibition centre. The form also enables thevariety of room sizes demanded by the client’s brief to be elegantly accommodated.
In response to the split‐level access requirements of the hotel, with the main pedestrianroute emerging from ExCeL on the first floor and the vehicular access on the ground level,Jestico + Whiles has designed a spacious, double height atrium reception in the centre of the building with a bespoke, sculptural spiral stairway linking the two levels.
Jestico + Whiles’ treatment of the internal spaces continues the linear, multi‐coloured motif of the external design. Innovative finishes and bespoke coloured light panels, reminiscent ofthe façade treatment, decorate the guestroom corridors, creating cohesion between theinternal and external spaces. The interiors have been furnished with a carefully selectedpalette of timber, Corian®, glass, porcelain and textured wallpaper, with selected artworksdecorating the public spaces. The firm has specifically tuned and developed the interiordesign to evolve the Aloft guidelines into a site‐specific design.
John Whiles, Director of Jestico + Whiles said: “The opening of Aloft London Excel is an exciting moment for the practice. The building continues our challenge to the acceptednorms of hotel design through the integration of the theatre of materials and activity wherethe architecture and interior design become one holistic treatment. The hotel clearlyenhances the experience of the location to create an iconic sense of place at this importantentrance to the International Conference Centre, so vital to the future of London.”
Located on the Royal Victoria Dock, the hotel is served by the Prince Regent Station on theDocklands Light Railway and has achieved a BREEAM rating of Excellent. Aloft London Excelis the latest project from Jestico + Whiles’ award‐winning Interiors and Hotels Studio whichhas built a reputation for producing high quality design for a prestigious client list. Recentlycompleted projects include W London ‐ Leicester Square and the Playboy Club in Mayfair.