Superhotel design gets green light

Silken Group, the hotel business behind the extravagant 275m (£52m) Puerta America Hotel in Madrid, has received planning permission to construct a luxury hotel and apartment complex in London, due to open mid-2007.

Foster and Partners is designing the development and will be creating ‘all of the interiors’ but has not ruled out working with a consultancy on graphics and signage.

The architect will be collaborating with consultant Claude Engle on lighting and UK designers are hopeful for additional opportunities as the scheme evolves.

Silken’s London complex will be located in the old Citibank House building, at the intersection of the Strand and Aldwych. It is the group’s first UK venture as it seeks to ‘build the best hotel in London’. It will comprise a café, restaurant, 90 apartments and a five-star hotel with 170 bedrooms.

The concept is to zone the hotel and apartment accommodation vertically over 14 levels, with the hotel contained within a new external Portland stone façade and the apartments contained within the existing Grade II-listed façade of the Marconi House site. There will be a ‘dramatic’ 11-storey atrium that will create a focus for the collective activities of the hotel.

The interiors will be designed in ‘response to the exteriors, taking clues from the surrounding building and architecture to influence the scheme’, says Giles Robinson, partner at Foster and Partners and project architect.

‘This is a fantastic space and a really exciting project,’ he adds.

Foster and Partners was appointed to the project last March. Robinson anticipates that construction will be completed by mid-2007.

Foster and Partners worked on the second floor of the Hotel Puerta America, which opens in May. Other designers involved include Ron Arad and Zaha Hadid.

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