For decades, the Baglioni Hotel in London has been one of the meeting points for upper-class Londoners and the recent renovations of the entrance lobby, the spa and above all the restaurant, have showed how the introduction of certain concepts of Italian style in an environment with its own deeply-rooted history can help win over even the most traditional British.
The restyling project was entrusted to Milan-based firm Spagnulo & Partners, which has designed the interiors of the group’s hotels for ten years. The group has developed an understanding with this firm that goes beyond a typical client-designer relationship.
The designers were instructed to carry out a bold intervention: the culture relating to the history and art of the Milanese firm, combined with meticulous design, has produced a tasteful cameo in London, an innovative step forward for Baglioni Hotel.
The construction of the project began with a clear architectural concept for the spaces, in which the lines of the flooring are reflected in the design of the ceiling and its grooves, while a fireplace partly divides the reception and restaurant creating a partially visible effect. There is an overriding sense of order and hierarchy of spaces: the elements are often not visible, but you can sense their presence, which gives linearity and harmony to the interior.
Inspiration for the new restaurant comes from the old Milanese taverns from the ’50s and ’60s, historic cultural venues and meeting places, with colors that match the brand identity of the Italian chain. The result is fascinating: foreign icons from the past are modernized and inserted in a setting that is rich in history and tradition, replete with dark colors, high-value leather and wood, and brass.
The large central bar dominates the scene, dignified by the use of brass (in place of the brushed aluminum used in the past), in harmonious contrast with a floor that – also inspired by Milanese taverns – presents a modern version of the old majolicas in black and white with a finish that makes them truly stylish. Prints and paintings that depict Milan during that period complete the furnishing.
The furnishings are all made in Italy (with the exception of the large chandelier by Tom Dixon): the furniture and fittings are by Gabana Arredamenti, the glass is by Omnidecor and the ceramics (not the majolica tiles) are by Porcelanosa.
The project is complicated and ambitious, but the final result is brilliant: traces of Italian style have been included that are simultaneously bold and soft, the content is highly recognisable, it never slips into clichéd classical style and everything is subtly thought-out and presented with elegant discretion.
Interior Design: Spagnulo & Partners
Custom furniture: Gabana Arredamenti
Company: Guisa Costruzioni
Lighting: Tom Dixon
Photo: Angus Pigott