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Mather & Co recreates ‘the Wentworth of the North’ golf club
The 18-hole Mere Golf and Country Club designed by Open champions James Braid and George Duncan in 1934, has entered the 21st century relaunching itself as a hotel and leisure resort, in Cheshire, UK
Owner, Mark Boler hired Pochin Construction to convert an existing stable block into a five star-spa and pool and later added an 86-bedroom hotel to the main building with the interiors designed by Mather and Co.
The design consultancy is formerly known for its work in the museum, visitor attraction and sports sectors. Clients include Chelsea FC, Cadbury’s, The British Olympic Association and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC.
It worked on three aspects of the project; all of the interiors at the health club and spa, completing the interior design of the hotel and project managing refurbishments and enhancements to the existing golf and country club, including a new restaurant, bar, conference suites and the Club Lounge and Bar.
The brief was to create a fresh, contemporary design whilst reflecting and retaining The Mere’s traditional Victorian architecture and the venue’s rich history going back over 75 years. It had to produce a robust and flexible style which catered towards the hotel and conference guests whilst appealing to existing golf club members.
“The colours and materials were of paramount importance to respect and accentuate the original stone and brickwork fabric and this is reflected throughout in the choice of design schemes in a range of earthy, rustic tones and warm woods,” said Chris Mather, managing director, Mather & Co.
“Golf has, naturally, been another inspiration. Signage and branding has been kept minimal and discreet but the hotel walls and corridors are decorated in images that reflect The Mere’s golfing heritage and paintings by renowned local artist, Harold Riley.”
Given the scale of the refurbishment, lighting, temperature stability and acoustics presented the main design and build challenges on the project. Within the main atrium and in the bar and restaurant areas, leather panelling has been used to assist acoustics, whilst glass balustrades and timber screens are used to subtly compartmentalise the space.
“All of these elements were pre-fabricated off-site and assembled like a jigsaw puzzle on-site for increased ease and speed of installation. The introduction of a new fully glazed soffit ceiling helps with the temperature control as well as the lighting levels, and fewer but higher quality light fittings create a distinctly different day and night time atmosphere within the building,” added Mather.
“Other challenges were the tight timescale, which saw an original 16-week schedule for the refurbishment of all areas reduced to 11-weeks, and the fact that the golf club, spa and offices all had to continue operating normally with minimal inconvenience to conference delegates or golf members.”
The design consultancy recently secured its first deal in Brazil with Lisbon event management company MUSE Museums & Exhibitions to design a hall of fame, museum, stadium tour, commercial hub and retail for Grêmio club’s new ground in Porto Alegre.
It is now looking to start discussions with a further eight Brazilian clubs for similar projects. Mather said it presents a strategic opportunity with the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympics due to be staged in Brazil.
The company generates 10% of its turnover overseas. Other projects include a visitor attraction at the Volvo Ocean Race headquarters in Alicante, Spain, and a museum and visitor attraction at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California.