Ornate cocktail corner debuts inside Claridge’s Landmark Hotel in London – SURFACE
Art Deco touches, an Iranian onyx bar, and a whimsical installation by British artist Annie Morris are some of the standout elements that make Painter’s Room shine.
By Nate Floor
September 29, 2021
Spatial Awareness is a column that focuses on a remarkable element of a new project that deserves a closer look. In this edition, we take a look at the intimate new Painter’s Room bar inside London’s historic grande dame, Claridge’s Hotel.
Joining the sensual Fumoir and the timeless Claridge’s Bar, the Painter’s Room is an ethereal cocktail bar with a French electro-pop vibe. Blushing hues, earthy materials, and a flagship installation by artist Annie Morris – which includes her first stained glass work and a free sketch of whimsical characters who are also monogrammed on staff jackets – set the stage for the director of mixology Nathan McCarley O’Neil creative menu inspired by European art and culture. (Drinks are broken down into four chapters: Light, Interpretations, Complex, and Clean.) Below, we ask interior designer Bryan O’Sullivan about the property’s new arrival.
Solidify: Studio Bryan O’Sullivan
name: Bryan O’Sullivan
Role in the project: Interior decorator
Practice place: Shoreditch, East London
What was the vision for the design of Painter’s Room?
The vision was to create an elegant and effortless piece that was both contemporary and as if it had always been part of Claridge’s rich tapestry.
How has the location inside Claridge’s impacted your approach?
Historical images from the early 1930s show the room had murals on the walls. We started working with the idea of murals in the existing oval shape and took inspiration from the decor elements of the ballroom: the central skylight, glass panels and scalloped lighting.
What stood out to you the most now that you have completed the project?
The sculpted pink onyx bar with a sculptural bronze portico overlooking it is a softly strong presence in the space. I also love Annie Morris’s gentle murals. They are so innocent yet mature and offer a subtle acknowledgment of the hotel’s history of hosting the Bright Young Things.
What colors and materials are at the heart of the visual identity?
By moving away from the monochrome corridor which leads you to the Chambre du Peintre, we wanted to create a cocooning space with soothing colors and striking materials. A palette of warm marshmallow shades envelops the interior, the composition of which is quite basic. We worked with Iranian onyx for the central bar, the floor and the walls. The seats are a mix of dusty, tactile blue leather hues with elements of pistachio and light pink; a striking stained glass mirror by the fabulous British artist Annie Morris.
What tools were essential 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 wants to push you to be as creative as possible. We are very fortunate to work with him.
Something pleasantly unexpected happened along the way:
We always knew we wanted to create a stained glass window for the bar and collaborate with an artist on the mural, so it was amazing for Paddy to suggest working with Annie. She has an incredible mind and vision. I hope we can work together again.
Our main references were those of Claridge and the historical images of the room from the early 1930s. For example, the skylight design was inspired by the main doors at the entrance to the hotel. We were also strongly inspired by the original murals on the wall.
I particularly like the bronze portico with its sculptural curves that blend into the light.
Next project on the horizon:
We have been working on a hotel in Monaco that is slated to open soon and we are on track with the renovation of the Maybourne Beverly Hills, which we are very excited about.