Client McAleer & Rushe Group
Location London, UK
2012 WAN Awards - Highly Commended
2011 FX Award
2011 Business Traveller Award
2011 MIPIM Award
2011 European Hotel Design Award Finalist
W London is a landmark 192-bedroom, 5-star hotel providing a focal point to Leicester Square in London. The complex building also houses retail, restaurant and residential uses, each with their own demands. The scheme comprises 200,000 square feet on 10 floors, with two storeys of high quality retail space, a spa, and 10 penthouse apartments with views across London. The design cleverly integrates the many complex and conflicting demands of the different uses in a hardworking envelope that appears deceptively elegant and minimalistic.
The location, on the most prominent corner of Leicester Square, is at the geographical and cultural intersection of London’s most vibrant districts: Soho, “Theatre land”, Leicester Square and Chinatown, at the epicentre of the West End prime leisure and retail zone. This building was specifically designed to marry the theatre that is a W hotel with the theatre of London’s West End. The design responds to the immediate cultural and historical context of the conservation area in a wholly contemporary way, with a façade that consists of a fine, fritted, translucent veil suspended over the face of the inner working shell.
By day, this veil is cool, calm and restrained, gently reflecting the surrounding buildings. When dusk falls the transparency of the building changes, giving it a different quality of light. At night the veil becomes a digital canvas upon which guest artists can stain the etched glass with tinted light to create a range of dynamic performances. The theatre continues across the face of the building as dramatic double-height atria reveal the spectacle of the lively activity within the hotel. This deliberate interplay between interior and exterior is fundamental to the performance of the veil, and its part in the continuing intrigue and entertainment of this part of the West End.
‘In the daytime it’s quiet and understated’, says head of hospitality and interior design, James Dilley, ‘and then it puts on its glad rags by night.’
W London was referred to by JLL as ‘Soho’s most valuable hotel.'