Urban Villa is a 100 room hotel in west London. The property is unique in that it is a hybridization of a boutique hotel offering and an aparthotel — two programs that generally are mutually exclusive. Our brief was to bring a design-led bespoke hospitality feel to a product that is traditionally anything but. An even bigger challenge for us was to attempt to do this within a portion of a newly built and largely residential tower (not of our design) that we found to be rather prosaic and sterile. We had to look hard to find any character within the existing environment and, where possible, we tried to peel back the layers that were at odds with our intentions. The first step of our intervention within the existing building was subtractive — revealing structure and services where we could. On the ground floor we designed the reception to double as a full bar, taking both cues and inspiration from traditional English public houses — pubs — where historically there were rooms to let and the barkeeper doubled as an innkeeper. We chose a palette that is bright and welcoming yet robust and functional — an environment where it felt just as natural to ask for extra towels as it would to order a cocktail.
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