Case study: ME Hotel

Now open in in the heart of London’s West End, the ME Hotel has been entirely designed by Foster + Partners, from the shell of the building to the bathroom fittings.  It combines a new 157-bed hotel with the restored 1904 Marconi House, refurbished to contain 87 apartments.

Arriving guests pass through the ground floor lounge, public restaurants and bar, and ascend to a dedicated hotel lobby and champagne bar on the first floor. The lobby is housed within a nine-storey high pyramidal space, and clad entirely in white marble.

The site
The new hotel building occupies a triangular site and completes the grand sweep of buildings that make up the Aldwych Crescent. Repairing the urban grain, It is clad in Portland stone, corresponding in height and scale to its neighbour Marconi House.

An elliptical tower on the corner of the hotel defines the end-point for the Aldwych Crescent and marks the main entrance at street level, which is sheltered beneath a wide glass fan. The corner tower is topped by a glass cupola, containing the living space for the penthouse suite.

The concept
Giles Robinson, partner, Foster + Partners, said: “By designing the hotel inside and out, down to the last detail, we were able to maintain a high level of quality and continuity. Inside, the bold black and white interior palette establishes a strong identity.

The experience draws on the idea of yin and yang, as guests move from dark to light spaces – the crisp white bedrooms, with clean and minimal lines, are reached by reflective black marble corridors, sculpted by the angled walls of the central pyramid.

The details
The glazing of the triangular bays in the hotel rooms features an invisible joint, while ensuring acoustic and thermal insulation. Internally the windows can be screened by two layers of opaque glass sliding panels, rather than curtains, in keeping with the minimal and elegant design.

Full-height triangular bay windows project to reveal long views of the Strand. On the tenth floor, the hotel’s rooftop terraces are an urban oasis – the Radio Rooftop Bar offers spectacular views of the river and Westminster skyline with a light, white interior.

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