This is a project by ReardonSmith Architects and it is located at London, United Kingdom. Project's program: Restoration of hotel. There are fifteen images for The Savoy Restoration.
The Savoy reopens after a four-year restoration project by ReardonSmith Architects.
Taken back to her early structure, stabilised and given an entirely new services infrastructure, spaces rationalised, existing architectural and design gems carefully restored or replicated, a new lift and new kitchens, rooms returned to look just as they did before, other areas “re-discovered” to become glamorous new spaces. These were just some components of the rebuilding of The Savoy – the most ambitious hotel restoration project ever undertaken in London. The architectural practice on the project was ReardonSmith who, for over four years, provided a dedicated, senior team of architects and technicians, many of who were permanently on-site to oversee the re-birth of this great hotel tradition.
Working closely with the planners and heritage bodies, as well as with interior design company, PYR, and structural engineers, Buro Happold, ReardonSmith has handed over a building fit for the 21st Century which is also spectacularly glamorous and beautifully groomed. Importantly, it remains every bit The Savoy with its spirit and design heritage intact, since the Edwardian age - when the hotel was originally built - and the Art Deco period - when it was significantly extended - are now clarified and celebrated to their full.
The first architectural milestone in the restoration was the stabilisation of the riverside façade. In 1911, an extension to this elevation had made The Savoy London’s first all en-suite hotel and had involved the construction of massive steel trusses on the roof overhanging the existing façade from which the new frontage was suspended. A feat of engineering in its day, the structure had inevitably moved and corroded over the intervening years, calling for a new and innovative solution. This was also the opportunity to rationalise the space within the riverside guestrooms, removing some of the internal structure so that bathrooms could be totally re-organised and more space released into the bedroom. Temporary steels were driven into the building to support it while the façade was inched upwards over a period of weeks – monitored by infrared beams from across the River Thames - so that remedial work could be undertaken.
The beautiful and rare faience – produced by firing and glazing terracotta – which clads the building was restored by specialists where water damage had caused cracking, and was then cleaned. The roofing pantiles were all replaced. On the riverside, the porte cochère with its signature 1950s glazed canopy has been refurbished and many of the guestroom windows are new, but to the traditional crittal steel frame design. On the other side of the building, the iconic Strand entrance is now fully resplendent with a new granite forecourt graced by a Lalique crystal fountain, a restored Art Deco roof and cleaned marble columns to the façade.
Inside, the Front Hall - while familiar in so many important details - now benefits from several significant interventions that lend the sense of arrival appropriate to this grande dame of a hotel. The reception desk has been removed, making the space less busy than before and giving guests the chance to absorb the pristine beauty of the renovated marble columns and the new marble floor – all in black and white - the restored flame mahogany panelling, the new Boodles boutique designed to look as if it has been there since the beginning and the restored sylvan frieze now re-painted in sophisticated grey and white. Reception has been removed to the elegant Reading Room beyond the Front Hall behind which the architects used the volume above a storeroom to create an intimate addition to The Savoy – a discrete cashiers room.
Several major structural works were undertaken inside the building. The Savoy originally had just one guest lift; a second lift has now been introduced in the same lift core and both new and old lift cars have been fitted out in the same style. Guests will not know the difference. In the Thames Lounge that sits in the heart of the building, there is now a stained glass dome 7.5 metres in diameter that restores natural light into the heart of the building, and adjacent to this area is the new Beaufort Bar.
This is a lavishly theatrical space decked out in black and gold leaf with soaring gold leaf wall niches. The old stage on which, during the 1930s, Carol Gibbons and the Savoy Orpheans used to entertain and broadcast nationwide, has been brought out of retirement and restored, this time as the staging for the barman to perform his act behind a magnificent onyx bar.
The legendary American Bar has been totally stripped out to make way for new services and then rebuilt to look virtually as it did before, although extra space captured from a redundant light well behind the bar now adds valuable elbow room in the butler’s pantry. The Upper Thames Lounge has been re-designed to include a new Edwardian-style shop selling luxury teas and cakes and the dining room on the riverside of The Savoy has taken on a new significance as an all-day dining venue replete with extravagantly styled Art Deco features. The Ballroom has been refurbished and the Gilbert and Sullivan meeting rooms have all been rebuilt, including the Pinafore Room where 41,000 brass studs have been applied by hand to the oak panels.
The Edwardian and Art Deco partnership continues in the guestroom floors. Of the 142 Art Deco rooms before the restoration, only 12 were original and the rest had been re-interpreted and diluted over the years. The authentic bedrooms have been faithfully restored; the others have been totally refurbished in a style highly sympathetic to the spirit of the original Art Deco and the listed vitralight ceilings in some of the bathrooms have been removed, cleaned and replaced. Attention to detail is everywhere to see – in the book matched sycamore veneers, the huge new geometric headboards and the setting out of the marble floor in the bathrooms to perfectly line up with fixtures and walls – whatever the overall dimensions of the area. On-going maintenance was a key issue and ReardonSmith has introduced a single access point in each bathroom for ease-of-use; the paint is water-based, so dries quickly permitting quick remedial work when the room is unoccupied.
There are 180 Edwardian-style guestrooms, including 38 suites on the riverside providing some of the most definitive views of London. The majority of the rooms needed total rebuilding; the others, in a better state of repair, were refurbished, but in both cases, Room 208 played an important part. It was here that the architects found the most well-preserved original ceiling moulds so “squeezes” were taken from them for replication across all the rooms. The marble fireplaces were removed, cleaned and reinstated and, where possible, the original lights were also restored and returned. The corridors were quite an architectural challenge since they were curved and the designer had specified a pale and vertically striped wallpaper. Lasers were therefore used to ensure a perfectly smooth plaster finish before the wallpaper was applied.
The Royal Suite is a new addition to The Savoy and spans nearly the entire length of the hotel at fifth floor level. It is a procession of richly ornate rooms such as is found in traditional stately homes, each room accessed from one long corridor – in this case providing an unparalleled vista over the Thames. The Suite includes the room where Monet once famously painted his view of the river.
“Virtually every square inch of the Savoy is imbued with historical association; it is the stuff of legend and we were very conscious of acting as custodians of this while creating a hotel for the 21st Century,” says Conrad Smith, managing director of ReardonSmith and head of the architectural team on the project. “She was a very special old lady but, as you might expect, once you start ruffling her petticoats, you uncover a lot of her hidden past, both good and bad. As a result, and because the decision was taken to substantially increase the extent of works, the scale of the project doubled in size. This means that the team has had the opportunity to achieve what was needed and the hotel we have returned is one of the finest in the world, now equipped for another great era.”