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The Londoner

The Londoner

Yabu Pushelberg crafts a journey worthy of the theater in London


November 30, 2021 | , , , , ,

By Alicia Hoisington

The Londoner bills itself as a “super boutique hotel”—a fitting theme for this hotel that effortlessly balances its large scale (the new-build boasts 350 guestrooms) with a sense of intimacy, all while nodding to its Leicester Square location. Indeed, Toronto- and New York-based Yabu Pushelberg designed each space to evoke its own point of view, adding layers of personality as guests move between spaces. “The Londoner is a nod to the art of performance. The hotel showcases this through eclectic color stories, textures, and materials, including the firm’s own furniture, lighting, and textile collections, that personify each space,” says cofounder George Yabu. “We crafted archetypes of a theater production’s cast and crew to personify spaces within the hotel.”

Take, for instance, the mirrored Green Room club and lounge that features waved walls and seating vignettes, reflecting rich mustard velvet upholstery and brass side tables. Art selections, many sourced from local artists and craftspeople, create another thoughtful layer, including a custom multistory chandelier with hand-etched crystals that creates connectivity and continuity between floors while also guiding guests through the hotel’s many programming zones.

Then, bound by intricate roping and knotting, rooftop izakaya 8 at The Londoner was inspired by the spirit of a performer, whose voice, appearance, and gestures are most clearly displayed and observed in comparison to the rest of the production’s crew, according to cofounder Glenn Pushelberg. “To navigate the intricacies of this character, we turned to the art of Japanese shibari to create a network of complex roping technique that sculpturally bind and frame the space,” he adds. “There is also an allusion of bondage seen through the design of the outdoor terrace, where a rope interweaves the space and meets in the center of the room above the outdoor fireplace.”

It’s clear that each F&B outlet was designed as a standalone destination, enticing its next audience. While the lounge, restaurant, bar, and speakeasy each offer a unique perspective, they all are rooted in the art of theater. To create cohesion, Yabu Pushelberg focused on transitions, activating the senses, and creating a personality that is not only seen but also felt.

Fine dining option Whitcomb’s nods to British design sensibilities with a contemporary twist, outfitted with bold plaid marble floors and tartan seating. Meanwhile, the lobby lounge is an intimate and plush space activated by warm neutrals and dusty pinks, with a metallic halo suspended above.

Cut to the Whiskey Room, a speakeasy accessible through a secret doorway found within a guest-exclusive floor’s opulent, green-lacquered public restroom. Designed as a jewelry box, its purpose is to exhibit and offer an intimate venue to indulge. Everything here is a treasure: Bottles are displayed within a glass cabinet of individual vestibules behind lock and key. Interiors are alluring and seductive, with a tufted green velvet banquette lining the wall and a mirrored ceiling that provides direct views to the whiskey. Though the new-build structure presented some challenges—namely how to draw guests from its four stories located below ground and up through its above-ground levels, “by imbuing each space with a unique personality molded by a production’s cast and crew, there is always something new to discover, drawing guests further inward and onward,” Yabu says.

Photos: Andrew Beasley

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