Spatial Awareness is a column that hones in on a standout element of a new project deserving of a deeper look. In this edition, we train our lens on the intimate new Painter’s Room bar inside London’s historic grand dame, Claridge’s Hotel.
Joining the sultry Fumoir and timeless Claridge’s Bar, the Painter’s Room is an ethereal cocktail lounge with a French electro-pop vibe. Blushy hues, earthy materials, and a showpiece installation by artist Annie Morris—which includes her first stained glass work and a scribbly free sketch of whimsical characters who are also monogrammed onto the staff’s jackets—set the stage for mixology director Nathan McCarley O’Neil’s creative menu. (Drinks are inspired by European art and culture divided into four chapters: Light, Interpretations, Complex, and Clean.) Below, we ask interior designer Bryan O’Sullivan about the project.
What was the design vision for Painter’s Room?
The vision was to create an effortlessly elegant room that feels both contemporary and as if it had always been a part of Claridge’s rich tapestry.
How did the location inside Claridge’s impact your approach?
Historic images from the early 1930s show that the room used to have painted murals on the walls. We began to work with the idea of painted murals in the existing oval shape and we took inspiration from the ballroom’s deco elements: the central skylight, glass panels, and scalloped lighting.
What stands out to you the most now that you’ve finished the project?
The carved pink onyx bar with a bronze sculptural gantry running over it is a softly strong presence in the space. I also love the soft murals by Annie Morris. They are so innocent yet mature, and offer a subtle acknowledgement of the hotel’s history of hosting the Bright Young Things.
What colors and materials are central to the visual identity?
Stepping away from the monochromatic corridor that leads you to the Painter’s Room, we wanted to create a cocooning space with calm colors and striking materials. A pallet of warm marshmallow hues envelope the interior, which is made quite elemental in its composition. We worked with Iranian Onyx for the central bar, flooring, and walls. The seating is a mix of dusty blue and tactile leather hues with elements of pistachio and light pink; a striking stained glassed mirror by the fabulous British artist Annie Morris.
What tools were indispensable from ideation to actualization?
We are very fortunate to have such a passionate and involved client in Paddy McKillen. He is a true patron of the arts and really just wants to push you to be as creative as you can be. We’re very fortunate to work with him.
Something pleasantly unexpected that happened along the way:
We always knew we wanted to create a stained glass piece for the bar and to collaborate with an artist on the mural, so it was amazing for Paddy to suggest working with Annie. She has an incredible spirit and vision. I hope we get to work together again.
References of inspiration:
Our main references were Claridge’s and the historical images of the room from the early 1930s. For example the skylight design was inspired by the main doors at the hotel’s entrance. We were also heavily inspired by the original murals on the wall.
I particularly love the bronze gantry with its sculptural curves that mold into the light.
Next project on the horizon:
We’ve been working on a hotel in Monaco that is due to open soon and are well underway with the refurbishment of The Maybourne Beverly Hills, which we are so excited about.