A MODERN, DARING, creative design HAS BREATHED new life INTO THE BUILDING’S BONES
atrium; filters through the intricate metallic screens that define the entrance hall and public spaces; and is reflected via gleaming glass and mirrored ceilings and panels. Most impressively, the filigree-like metal grid installation that is suspended over the hotel’s restaurant BistrEau casts intriguing shadows and bounces light to mesmerising effect. A tranquil central courtyard, the Mimosa Garden – designed by landscape architect Beth Figueras in collaboration with Urquiola – also ensures that even within, the sense of light and airiness can be appreciated: in dramatic contrast, however, the spa, down in what was once the bank’s vaults, is dimly lit and enveloping, with dark wood and granite stone providing a minimalist aesthetic. Everything from the decor to the furnishings, artwork and finishes have all been carefully chosen by the designer. Bespoke pieces, or furniture especially adapted for the hotel in partnership with the likes of B&B Italia, Molteni, Flos and Morosa, have a fascinating background or concept behind them: in the signature
restaurant, an early 20th-century French ironing table now serves as an unexpected centrepiece; the lobby sofa has been adapted from a traditional Chesterfield, while a tartan carpet in the bar is an evocative nod to yesteryear’s gentleman’s clubs. Luxurious materials – leather, wood, metallics, velvet, silk – together with ceramics and art, have been used extensively in both the public spaces and in the 120 guest rooms and suites where Urquiola has combined contemporary furniture with oriental details, including wall screens inspired by oriental paravents, and wardrobes designed with lacquered Chinese boxes in mind. Stand-alone pieces, geometric tiling and splashes of rich colour in the soft furnishings add unexpected detail, all combining to create sophisticated but comfortable spaces. For Urquiola, a final flourish is the creation of the Mandarin Oriental Group’s signature fan emblem: for this hotel’s version, she cleverly incorporated an element of the bronzed aluminium latticework into the fan’s design… creating a unique version of a well-recognised and valuable motif. Very much like her creative interpretation of this hotel, in fact.
Clockwise from left This Terrace Suite’s private patio has been designed to complement the interiors with elegant furniture and beautifully lit planting. The rooftop pool and Terrat bar enjoy wonderful views. The Penthouse Suite’s bathroom is the epitome of luxurious glamour. In contrast to the rest of the hotel, the spa’s decor is dark and moodily dramatic, offering a sense of meditative calm.