Project Of The Week – The Avon Gorge Hotel
This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features the refurbishment of a historic hotel, located in Bristol, boasting 71 bedrooms and six suites. Offering spectacular views of the famous Grade I listed Clifton Suspension Bridge, the project aimed to enhance the unique character shaped by the architecture, history and location of the building as well as providing comfort, relaxation and a sense of luxury for guests to experience. Classic period features are retained yet interpreted in a contemporary manner to offer a unique twist on timeless interiors with an intriguing story inspired by the location’s history alongside the Hotel du Vin brand, with touches of irreverent British humour.
Company: Dexter Moren Associates
Project: The Avon Gorge Hotel
Project Location: Bristol, United Kingdom
What was the client’s brief?
Dexter Moren Associates were selected for the refurbishment and interior design of the Avon Gorge hotel, including the 72 bedrooms and 6 suites. The historic hotel, set above the site of a listed pump room and spa, first opened in 1898. Located in Bristol, it has spectacular views of the famous Grade I listed Clifton Suspension Bridge. The client, Hotel du Vin, requested a design that would enhance the unique character shaped by the architecture, history and location of the building that would also subtly incorporate the essence of the Hotel du Vin brand while giving the hotel an identity of its own. Bedrooms and suites should have a residential feel: comfortable, relaxing and luxurious. Classic existing features should be retained yet interpreted in a contemporary manner and provide a timeless interior and intriguing story.
What inspired the interior design of the project?
The initial concept was inspired by the building itself and the surrounding areas: the intention being to bridge the old and the new, the brand story and the locale. Dexter Moren Associates took the central concept of wine inspired by the Hotel du Vin brand and looked at the factors involved in making it: nature, represented by flora and fauna such as local birds, and time. Inspiration came from the views of the Gorge, the history of the Clifton suspension bridge and modern Bristol city.
An understanding of the hotel’s clientele was of utmost importance to the design. Hotel guests include business travellers, meeting attendees and those on weekend getaways. The hotel is also popular as a wedding venue so it was also important that the guestrooms and suites were designed with this in mind.
Nine different schemes were designed for the guestrooms: six standard and three suites. Dark-coloured walls act as a backdrop for feature wall coverings and bright splashes of colour in headboards and upholstery. All metal work is in slick satin brass or matt black. The bathrooms have bright white metro tiles lifted by a flash of turquoise green. Many rooms feature a luxury roll top bath either in the room or ensuite; the Laurent Perrier suite has two baths within the bedroom, ideal as a bridal or honeymoon suite. Workable desks in all rooms lend themselves well to the business traveller while tourists will be charmed by the retention and highlighting of the original architecture. Lighting is used as a practical tool to enhance the guest experience – as the lighting changes so too do the focal points of each space. The inside of each wardrobe is painted a feature colour to add an element of surprise for guests. The pièce de résistance is the artwork adorning the walls. Beautiful classical paintings at first glance, upon closer inspection they reveal irreverent modern elements: a man dressed for a formal occasion holds an iPod; a well-dressed lady wears a heavy gold chain adorned with a dollar sign instead of more typical diamond or pearls. These give the rooms a finishing touch of quirky British humour to appeal to locals and tourists alike.
What was the toughest hurdle your team overcame during the project?
In terms of designing it was a challenge to bridge the old with the new. The intent was to maintain existing features wherever possible in order to celebrate the building’s history, and this created challenges along the way as they were discovered during opening up. The concept of time was translated by way of laying contemporary design over a classic backdrop.
What was your team’s highlight of the project?
Memorable moments include discovering original stained glass in the reception, grand stair and basement areas which we managed to restore and incorporate into our design. Another highlight was the successful opening of the White Lion Bar which has been received really well by the local residents.
Why did you enter the SBID International Design Awards?
SBID Awards are prestigious, world renowned, and enable global recognition among our peers and the design industry as a whole. Recognition for the team on the project for their talent, passion and hard work.
Questions answered by Neil Andrew, interior designer and Partner of Dexter Moren Associates
If you missed last week’s Project of the Week featuring a modern-day luxury home that combines both old-school opulence and contemporary cosiness, click here to see more.
We hope you feel inspired! Let us know what inspired you #SBIDinspire