Sea Containers House – Jubilee Wrap unveiled

Sea Containers House – Jubilee Wrap unveiled

Scaffolding was erected on Sea Containers House ahead of its transformation into the 360-room Mondrian London, the first hotel project by designer Tom Dixon and his Design Research Studio

The final reveal of the biggest ever photograph of the Royal Family, was draped across Sea Containers this week,  in honour of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next week.

Measuring 100m x 70m and weighing in at around two tons the image was divided into seven sections, and every day this week  a team of eight people have dropped a new part.

Whilst there were a few few technical hitches, Her Majesty revealed herself, perfectly composed as ever,  to complete the iconic family portrait, taken by an unknown photographer  for the Silver Jubilee in 1977.

Photographer Jim Marks re-touched the image and extended it into areas that didn’t exist, ensuring that it would sit perfectly on the Sea Containers facade. He also made a time lapse film of the whole process.

The stage is now set for the 1,000 boat Jubilee Flotilla on the 3rd June, when the Queen, 35 years after the picture was taken, will sail past her own piece of history. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will travel down the Thames in the Royal Barge

In the video below Tom Dixon revealed plans for Mondrian London behind Jubilee wrap of Sea Container, whilst the reveals were occuring.

The time-lapse video video shows how the world’s largest photograph of the British Royal family was erected over 45 hours, measuring 100m x 70m and spanning the entire face of Sea Containers on London South Bank.

“When this Silver Jubilee photo was taken 35 years ago, the South Bank was an unvisited stretch of the Thames – not the centre of business, tourism and culture that it is today. It is the owner’s tribute for this very special occasion, when on Sunday 3rd June, the Jubilee Flotilla passes by and the country celebrates 60 incredible years of everything that makes Britain great”.

Situated on the banks of The River Thames, Sea Containers House holds a striking presence between the OXO Tower and Blackfriars Bridge. This is the first hotel for Design Research Studio and a new London venture for Morgans Hotel Group, also marking the first collaboration between the British interior design practice and the American hotel group.

Sea Containers House on London’s Southbank is set to become a luxury 358-room hotel managed by Morgans Hotel Group’s Mondrian brand. Mondrian currently operates two hotels in London – the Sanderson and St Martins Lane – while Modrian has existing properties in LA, New York and Miami.

The property was originally conceived as a hotel when plans were drawn up in the 1970s, but the building eventually became office space upon completion in the 1980s.

Archlane Ltd acquired the property in 2004, and started a public consultation process in May of this year, with plans to refurbish the building as a mixed space for offices, restaurants, bars and a hotel.

The Building

Built in the 1970’s, the 14-floor, Sea Containers House was designed by the American architect, Warren Platner, creator of Windows on the World.

Platner’s work, including cruise liners he also designed, acted as significant inspiration for the interior design of Sea Containers House while his furniture is featured in exclusive suites within the hotel.

Originally built as a luxury hotel, the building’s brief was never fulfilled and it instead remained occupied by offices. Among these was a shipping company ‘Sea Container’ from which the building now draws its name.

This maritime history and the Anglo-American relationship between Design Research Studio and Morgans Hotel Group, form the design inspiration for the project.

The Design

The hotel will embody the elegance of a transatlantic 1920’s liner combined with a healthy dose of 1980s post-modernism reference.

The main lobby will feature a giant, external and internal, copper clad wall inspired by the hull of a ship, running from outside the building and glamorously leading guests to the entrance hall within. The vast, 1500 m2, ground floor area includes 2 river-side restaurants and a breakfast bar.

Building on the extensive metal finishes already found in the building, a network of brass work will run throughout the hotel, feeding out to every corner, edging each bedroom door and eventually morphing into an oversized cocktail bar.

The hotel’s 360 bedrooms will be furnished with custom designed furniture from Design Research Studio featuring rich colour palettes contrasted against standout metallic pieces which will follow the theme embraced throughout.

Corridors will be smart and sleek, to create nostalgia for the cabins of a cruise liner. While bathrooms will draw on marine engineering featuring robust, exposed bolts with doors referencing the water-tight quality usually found on board a ship.

A roof-top bar will be edged with glass boasting views of the North and South of the city inspired by the top deck of a cruise liner. Designed with references to an ornate Art Deco-period ballroom, the bar will feature a custom-designed, statement lighting installation, adding an element of sophisticated glamour to the space.

Drawing from the signature colours of the Morgans ‘Agua’ brand, the spa architecture will graduate from white through to darker shades to encourage relaxation and calmly leading guests towards an exclusively designed secret water feature.  The spa aims to create a feeling of under-water tranquillity, taking inspiration from the cocooning nature of a submarine.

A 61-seater screening room, to be used for TV and film premiers, will continue the maritime theme using bold blue colours. The hotel will also feature a series of flexible break out and meeting rooms.

Obviously at this stage it is too early to see finalised ideas – Mondrian London isn’t scheduled to open till 2014 – but Dixon’s charming exuberance and obvious excitement at this brief was infectious; for instance the spa, which always is a point of interest in a Morgan Group hotel, is drawing influence from the signature colours of the Morgan’s ‘Agua’ brand, the nearby Thames and decadent Roman spas of yore intending to create both a super luxurious underwater world and also the cocooning nature of a submarine.

Dixon also spoke of combining American service and innovations with British quirkiness, of his intention to ensure that Mondrian London will be a celebration of Anglo-American relationships.

The Morgan Group has a track record of trusting designers who, albeit high-profile, haven’t had previous experience in doing hotels, such as Andree Putnam for Morgans Hotel and Phillipe Starck for the Royalton; in this case they were especially attracted to Dixon’s innovative approach to materials

Design Research Studio is an architectural interior design practice specializing in high concept interiors, large scale installations and architectural design. Based in London and under the creative direction Tom Dixon, the team realises a full and developed narrative to each project; whether in retail, hospitality or corporate interiors

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