Von Essen Hotels unveils Hotel Verta plans

Von Essen Hotels this week unveils the identity and interior design plans for its first metropolitan development, Hotel Verta.

The multi-million pound mixed-use development, due to open next to London Heliport in Battersea, south-west London this autumn, will feature a 70-room five-star hotel, conference facilities, a spa and a dining venue. It is currently being designed by a team led by Von Essen’s in-house creative director and chief architect Andrew Onraet.

The branding and the website, www.hotel-verta.co.uk, designed by North East consultancy Robson Brown, will be unveiled this week.

Von Essen Hotels has, up until now, developed existing sites in the English countryside and has a portfolio of country houses. This is its first new-build in an urban environment, says Onraet, and it is part of the design challenge for him and his team.

He explains that Von Essen, which owns London Heliport, ‘did a deal’ in 2007 with residential developer Weston Group, currently working on a residential development beside the hotel, which enabled it to start work last year.

The heliport, which heavily influences the strategic positioning of the hotel – its accessibility, transport links and riverside location will be promoted as selling points – also informs the identity for Hotel Verta.

This takes its cue, says Onraet, from the ‘golden age of aviation’.

Onraet explains that a number of creative options focusing on an aerial photographic style and aviation imagery were explored, leading to a strapline of ‘London’s vertical gateway’.

The name, Hotel Verta, and logo follow on from this, with the ‘V’ forming what Onraet hopes will be an ‘instantly recognisable’ graphic device that will be applied to touchpoints from ironmongery to lift buttons and vehicle livery.

The interiors for the hotel, which will include a mezzanine-floor bar, a ground-floor restaurant and a business centre, will feature bespoke furniture and reclaimed and redesigned pieces including mirrors, glassware and lampshades, referencing ‘timeless’ venues such as London’s The Wolseley and the Mandarin Oriental.

‘The idea is to create an environment where period pieces look as good alongside contemporary ones,’ says Onraet. ‘We’re trying to be as inventive as possible with our sourcing.’ Onraet remains positive about the prospects for the luxury development sitting among Battersea’s social housing estates, despitethe current economic climate and opposition from neighbouring residents about aviation noise. ‘What Terence Conran did for Butler’s Wharf, we want to do for Battersea,’ he says.

The Hotel Verta Team:

Architect – Richard Daniels Design, Kay Elliot Architects
Branding – Robson Brown
Lighting consultant – Light Bureau
Design consultant – Sherliker Design
Handmade furniture – Ben Whistler

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