As hotel design continues to grapple with issues of sustainability and social responsibility, the 2023 Brit List Architects put all these concerns on the agenda, along with some uplifting and inspiring projects, which range from bold statements in some of the worlds most incredible hotels, to more considered solutions that are are statements in themselves. The diversity of the design which flow through this list, is surely indicative of the multi-faceted and exciting face of the industry as we step into 2024.
The Brit List Architects of 2023 are…
Alastair Shepherd, Director, Falconer Chester Hall
Following the completion of The Other House South Kensington, which opened in 2022, Falconer Chester Hall has been working to convert a cluster of buildings, steps away from the iconic piazza in Covent Garden, into the brand’s second aparthotel model. While the bold interiors are being created by Bergman Design House, the architecture feat of this project is about restoration as well as transformation.
“The approved scheme will help to transform this corner of Covent Garden, providing a distinct offer within a unique collection of buildings,” said Alastair Shepherd, Director, Falconer Chester Hall. “Proposals will blend modern interventions and historic assets, connected by a spectacular atrium acting as a vibrant heart to the city block. The scheme will also set an exemplar for sustainability, through re-use, adaptation, urban greening and energy efficiency. It has been a pleasure working with such forward- thinking owners and work is already underway to deliver the scheme.”
Arran Pexton, Director, Hopkins Architect
Arran Pexton has particular expertise in leading and managing extensive and dispersed consultant teams during the design and delivery of large-scale complex projects. This has been demonstrated through Pexton’s work leading the team on The Peninsula London. The hotel, which shelters interior design by Peter Marino, is a complex engineering challenge, with ‘top down’ construction facilitating super-structure and sub-structure works in parallel.
Hopkins is responsible for the design and delivery of the shell & core and back of house, as well as the delivery of the fit out for the hotel and residential elements. Whilst Pexton has a strong track record of delivering high quality projects, the client’s brief and end user considerations always inform the development of his work.
Christina Seilern, Founder & Principal, Studio Seilern Architects
Christina Seilern established the creative practice Studio Seilern Architects (SSA) in 2006. Applying her unique style across a range of building typologies, geographies and scales she re-engages in an approach that carefully addresses each project from an in- depth consideration of the detail to the overall massing strategy. Prior to establishing SSA, Christina Seilern was the Founding Director of Rafael Viñoly Architects (RVA).
Her diverse portfolio includes RIBA-award winning projects such as Gota Dam Residence in Zimbabwe, Ansdell Street in Kensington, a world-class concert hall in the Swiss alpine village of Andermatt, award-winning Wellington College Performing Arts Centre in Berkshire, and Boksto Skveras masterplan – a UNESCO heritage site in Vilnius, Lithuania.
David Chipperfield, Principal, David Chipperfield Architects
Following winning Outstanding Contribution to the Hospitality Industry Award at The Brit List Awards 2022, David Chipperfield, Principal, David Chipperfield Architects, set the tone this year by completing The Ned Doha. Sitting squarely on the renowned Corniche waterfront, the listed building – designed in the 1970s by Lebanese architect William Sednaoui – is a celebrated historical landmark of Doha (the former Ministry of Interior building). With its finely rhythmic façade and sculptural silhouette, the state building is considered an elegant demonstration of brutalism in the Middle East.
The existing architecture was refurbished, adapted for use as a luxury hotel and extended by an additional top floor. A 260-metre-long plinth forms its new podium, creating a green oasis with lush vegetation, art installations and basins.
Davide Bertacca, Associate Principal, Woods Bagot
Davide Bertacca, who joined Woods Bagot in 2014, is now an Associate Principal and hotel sector leader for WB Europe. His role within the London Studio started with the Sheraton Park Lane hotel project refurbishment. Following the completion of Hotel AMANO Covent Garden last year, his most recent project is Minthis, a stunning resort-style development located in a breathtaking hillside setting within a protected natural landscape. Woods Bagot is delivering masterplanning, architecture, interior design and branding services to create a truly unique retreat lifestyle experience.
The works include a major upgrade of an existing golf course and 12th Century monastery, as well as the creation of 44 residential villas, a contemporary clubhouse, a wellness spa with a pool and a village centre comprising restaurants, bars and retail.
*Davide Bertacca has since left Woods Bagot to join the team at Arcadis as Principal.
Emma Perkin, Director, Emil Eve Architects
Emil Eve Architects created a new wellness experience for St James’ Court London Taj Hotel, using the building’s foundations to carve a layered narrative into the design scheme. Located in the Victorian cellars of the luxury hotel, the new spa facilities include a glowing vitality pool which wraps around the hotel’s original brick walls, a steam room clad in continuous milled sections of Carrara marble and a sauna created from solid sections of thermally treated Alder wood.
The brief was to transform the hotel’s Victorian cellar into a new spa and wellness setting. “Due to the total lack of natural light and the inherent low ceilings, a concept and material palette was developed which aimed to create an atmospheric and richly textured interior,” explained Emma Perkin, Director, Emil Eve Architects. “This complimented and celebrated the existing character and history of the space.”
Geoff Hull, Director, EPR Architects
Winner: Architect of the Year 2023
Geoff Hull, Director at EPR Architects, has completed many hotel projects during his time at the practice, including refurbishments such as The Waldorf, Kimpton Fitzroy, Rosewood London and Home Grown, along with four new-build hotels for the Devere Group. In 2023, Hull completed several conversion and new-build hotel schemes including The BoTree, The Audley and The OWO.
The OWO was, without a doubt, Hull’s largest project to date, which involved sensitively restoring the Grade II* listed architectural shell that once sheltered the headquarters for Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill during the second world war, and where he broadcasted many of his public announcements – into a 120-key luxury hotel and 85- key private residences. In the process, the architect extended the already monumental building by 31 per cent
James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles
Following the completion of Mandarin Oriental Palace Luzern in 2022, Jestico + Whiles has recently completed a mixed-use development project closer to home, in Nottingham. The Island Quarter is set to become a new landmark for the city. James Dilley, Director, Jestico + Whiles, works as both interior designer and architect on hospitality projects, allowing him to balance practical aspects of a project with creative and innovative solutions.
Dilley has led teams on hotel projects both in the UK and internationally, including in territories such as Malta, Berlin, Amsterdam, Tbilis, Kyiv, Switzerland and Zanzibar. Dilley and his team are currently working to complete the long-awaited arrival of W Edinburgh, which is slated to open in Q4 2023.
James Walsh, Creative Director, Studio Anyo
The future of hotel design is modular – and perhaps carbon- positive. James Walsh has, for years, been exploring the value of a modular approach in hotel design and architecture. Founder of Studio Anyo, bringing his wealth of experience from an impressive portfolio of projects, particularly in the hotel and leisure sector, Walsh was lead designer on a number of modular hotels, including 396 bedroom hotel at the Tower of London, 196 bedroom hotel at Shoreditch for CitizenM and the CitizenM hotel at Bankside.
The architect has worked on a number of large key developments including work on the planning application for a 103,600 square-metre central London office development and achieving planning permission for the office development within the Heart of Slough masterplan, circa 106,700 square metres.
Jen Samuel, Associate & Head of Hotels, 3DReid
Jen Samuel, Head of Hotels at 3DReid, is an experienced architect, working closely with hotel brands, operators and owners throughout all stages of a project, from feasibility and concept design to the production and co-ordination of construction information, ensuring the guest experience and operational efficiencies are the key focus throughout the design process.
Samuel was responsible for the reinstatement and refurbishment of Cameron House Hotel, Loch Lomond, following a devastating fire in 2017. Renowned for its timeless style and refined Scottish culture, the hotel featured 140 bedrooms complemented by elegant function rooms and inspiring event spaces, with views of Loch Lomond. Following its re- opening in 2021, Jen’s focus turned to the completion of the Lomond Wing, a new-build extension comprising 68 bedrooms and a 350-person loch-facing ballroom.
Jonathan Comfort, Senior Architect, Studio Moren
Jonathan Comfort, Senior Architect at Studio Moren was the lead architect (fit-out architecture) on the recently opened 1 Hotel Mayfair, delivering the design, created by G.A Group. The hotel is part new-build and part conversion of an existing building, thereby making large savings of embodied energy and carbon and site waste. The two new-build floors accommodate guestroom suites with views overlooking the Ritz Hotel and Green Park. The existing building presents complexities including a variety of different forms of construction and disparate floor levels that required clever solutions to become workable.
The design of 1 Hotel Mayfair echoes the brand’s nature-inspired ethos by bringing the outdoors in. The nine-storey hotel will house a ‘farm-to-table’ restaurant with garden seating and a bespoke fitness and wellness centre. A communal lobby bar is designed to bring people together with a relaxed social energy.
Jonny Sin, Board Director, ReardonSmith Architects
Jonny Sin, Board Director of ReardonSmith Architects, joined the practice in 2011. Since mid-2019, Sin has led the architectural and design team on one of London’s most prestigious hotel schemes – the renovation of The Dorchester, the largest such project at the hotel for some 30 years. Key to the success of the new design is a thoughtful, sensitive and informed approach so that the result appeals to both The Dorchester’s loyal clientele and to future guests. Therefore, the goal is an enhancement, with the addition of several new spaces, without in anyway compromising the soul of the hotel.
Speaking of the project, Sin said: “The first phase is complete and two more are to come. In the course of these, we will be re-affirming the building’s relationship to the street and enhancing the guest and visitor experience with newly glamorous and refined interiors, supported by a modernised infrastructure.”
Kate Sandle, Associate, Studio Moren
Kate Sandle, Associate, Studio Moren, was the lead on the ambitious project to create a 164-key hotel inside Battersea Power Station, London. The landmark art’otel Battersea Power Station is the brand’s first hotel in the UK. It features a variety of bars, restaurants, gym and spa, an infinity pool and function rooms. A rooftop pavilion bar has panoramic views of the river Thames and the Grade II* listed Battersea Power Station.
The iconic building which art’otel Battersea Power Station is housed in has been designed to achieve BREEAM ‘Excellent’ status. “The project really played to our deep understanding of what makes a hotel work,” Sandle said. “We carefully planned the layout of guestrooms, F&B and other spaces to produce a workable hotel design which meets operational and guest needs.”
Lorraine Stoutt Griffith, Director, Twelve Architects
Highly Commended: Architect of the Year 2023
Escapade Silverstone, the new trackside residences at Silverstone race circuit, the globally recognised home of British motorsport, is scheduled to open next year – and when it does, it will mark a significant milestone for Twelve Architects, led by Lorraine Stoutt Griffith, following years of planning and work. The development being designed will accommodate 60 high- spec residences and a clubhouse for short-term rental.
The development has spectacular views of the track, to attract visitors with a passion for motorsports from all over the world. In addition to this incredible project, the architect is constantly and consistently being recognised for pioneering a new era for women in architecture.
Luke Fox, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners
Luke Fox, who joined Foster + Partners in 1998, has led one of the six design studio teams with architects in London, Hong Kong and Beijing on a wide range of different projects around the world since 2010. Among the studio’s recent projects is Equinox Resort Amaala hotel, which will feature a circular ‘floating’ canopy and be located on the west coast of Saudi Arabia. The property, which will be developed with luxury lifestyle brand Equinox, is the first hotel to be announced as part of the Amaala Marina Village, also designed by Foster + Partners for developer Red Sea Global. It will have 128 rooms, including two luxury penthouses, and a design that draws on ‘the stunning natural landscape and traditional architecture style’.
Manuela Mannino, Founder & Creative Director, THDP
Manuela Mannino is an Italian architect who graduated from the Turin Polytechnic in 1993. She has led key projects in product design, interior refurbishments and conversions for private clients. Mannino has focused on residential development projects, such as Riverside Quarter and Albion Riverside. Currently, Mannino works with Nick Hickson who heads up the London studio, curating and leading the team in THDP’s Milan base.
Mannino, who has recently worked on projects, such as The Hilton Cologne, a short rental accommodation project in Venice and RG Naxos, among others, brings her contemporary eclectic approach to THDP projects, combining her skills in concept building design. She takes care of the aesthetic link between architectural function and decorative detailing.
Mark Bruce, Director & Head of Hotels, EPR Architects
Mark Bruce, winner of Architect of the Year at The Brit List Awards 2021, understands the hospitality industry and possesses a contagious enthusiasm for every project. One of those projects, among many others that the team at EPR Architects are working on, is BoTree London, consented scheme that transforms a site at the intersection of the affluent Marylebone and Mayfair neighbourhoods to create a new luxury hotel that will capture the local area’s ‘village’ like feel.
The 199-key hotel, complete with 29 suites, will boast exclusive bars, two destination restaurants, a live music club, a boutique screening room and a fitness centre. The BoTree London has opened as a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ prestigious Legend Collection.
Murray Levinson, Partner, Squire & Partners
After completing the interiors on Ruby Zoe – Ruby Hotels’ second home in London – the next hospitality project that Squire & Partners is working on completing is the art’otel Hoxton, which towers over Shoreditch. The 340-key hotel, arts hub and cinema space will be sheltered inside a cylindrical form of the building that has been evolved into a fractured cogwheel form in plan, rising and adapting in response to its context and interior functions.
Each section of the cogwheel is extruded over two floors, separated by a horizontal aluminium shelf, which allows each cog to read individually within the overall composition. Double-height floorplates are then rotated to give the illusion of moving components. Leading the team at the studio is Murray Levinson, who has more than 25 years’ experience in leading and delivering projects in the commercial, residential and hospitality sectors.
Nick de Klerk, Head of Hospitality, Purcell
Nick de Klerk joined Purcell in 2023 as Associate Partner with more than 20 years’ experience designing hospitality, retail, residential and workplace projects in the UK, the Middle East and South Africa. Before Purcell, de Klerk ran a small architectural studio – during which he completed two comprehensive hotel refurbishments. Prior to this, the architect led the hotel sector team at Aukett Swanke, working on numerous hotel projects in the UK, UAE and Qatar, with values ranging between £20m and £500m.
Alongside Hospitality design, de Klerk has a particular interest in working with existing buildings and improving their performance, efficiency and sensitively modernising them through refurbishment or adaptive reuse.
Patrik Schumacher, Studio Principal, Zaha Hadid Architects
Earlier this year, Patrik Schmacher, Studio Principal at Zaha Hadid Architects, unveiled that the studio is using AI text-to- image generators, such as DALL-E 2 and Midjourney, to uncover new design ideas for projects. These tools generate an image in seconds from text prompts. Since emerging within the last year, the softwares have gained attention and sparked debate on AI’s role in creative industries.
This follows the studio’s forward-thinking and progressive decision to become one of the pioneering companies to design in the metaverse. Unhindered by technology’s barriers, Zaha Hadid Architects, founded by the late Zaha Hadid, has always been known for working at all scales to create transformative cultural, corporate, residential and hospitality spaces that work in synchronicity with their surroundings – whether that be a bridge, a museum or a new hotel.
Paul Gallacher, Associate Director, EPR Architects
With over a decade of hotel design experience, Paul Gallacher leads a talented team who are designing some of the most innovative and captivating hotel buildings and concepts in the marketplace. Gallacher was notably the lead designer for The BoTree London in Marylebone, a building that the architect designed, both developing a brand-new building and new concept for Shiva Hotels.
With a challenging existing site, the team carved six floors of bar and restaurant space, members areas, 200 guestrooms and an infinity pool, showcasing the studio’s ability to blend creativity, efficiency, beautiful design and functionality seamlessly. Furthermore, Gallacher is the lead designer of The Other House in Belgravia concept.
Polona Pirnat, Design Director, Bogle Architects
Polona Pirnat, who was appointed Design Director at Bogle Architects in 2022, studied architecture at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. Her final thesis was awarded a national design award at the Month of Design in Ljubljana. As part of an exchange programme, she also studied at Politecnico di Milano, Italy, where she focused on interior and exhibition design.
She was Project Architect for 140 Fenchurch Street, a CAT A office refurbishment in the City of London. The project was shortlisted for the Surface Design Award. She has recently led the design and completion of a 6,500sqm office/laboratory at The Oxford Science Park – The Schrodinger Building, which was a finalist in the 2019 BCO Southwest Awards. Her current focus is on the design and co-creation of an equestrian centre scheme in Asia, and various future-oriented commercial and life science developments in the UK and worldwide.
Rebeca Aguilera, Associate, Studio Moren
In 2013, Rebeca Aguilera’s journey brought her to Studio Moren as an ARB architect, where she embraced opportunities to learn and contribute, eventually earning her position as an Associate. Aguilera’s experience varies from intricate heritage restorations to ambitious modern developments, she has demonstrated an uncanny ability to navigate complexities and deliver outstanding results.
One notable project is the conversion and extension of Ditton Park Manor into a hotel, in which the proposed development has been guided from a heritage perspective, aiming to bring back to life this remarkable Manor House. This is an ambitious scheme which will restore and revive the Estate and ensure its long-term viability.
Richard Holland, Director, Holland Harvey Architects
Following Richard Holland and Jonathan Harvey’s social approach to leadership, Holland Harvey Architects has achieved B-Corp status, which is a strong reflection on how the company is prioritising the wellbeing of people, as well as the planet, to make a positive impact. What the industry may not be aware of is that, as part of its commitment to making a positive environmental and social impact, the studio donates one per cent of its time annually to help third-sector clients.
The team at Holland Harvey Architects share a common belief that the best idea should always win, and together they explore ideas to find elegant solutions to complex design challenges. This has led to the design and development of Inhabit Hotels, which has two properties in London, as well as Shelter From The Storm, a project that saw the architects create a welcoming homeless shelter in London that feature 42 bedrooms.
The studios work results from the layering and texturing of individual influences, skills and talent.
Simona Miron, Associate, Gensler
Simona Miron, an accomplished Associate and architect, has successfully led an extensive portfolio of projects for independent owners and international brands spanning the entire hospitality spectrum. From the initial concept to the final touches, she immerses herself in every aspect of the design process, ensuring a seamless and captivating experience for guests. This unwavering commitment to excellence has earned her accolades, including being listed in Hotel Designs’ 30 under 30 in 2019.
Miron’s passion for hotel planning and design has propelled her to work on a number of esteemed brands, including Four Seasons, Marriott brands such as W Hotels, The Luxury Collection, JW Marriott as well as Good Hotel, Fairmont, Hilton and IHG.
Following this editorial series, the Brit List hoteliers of 2023 will be unveiled next. The Brit List 2023 has been published, and references the top 75 interior designers, architects and hoteliers in Britain. Entries will open for The Brit List Awards 2023 in the summer of 2024.
Main image credit: The Brit List