Jestico + While's polished Andel's Hotel Prague is a far cry from bohemian
Monica Geran -- Interior Design, 1/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
Jestico + Whiles's cutting-edge work on One Aldwych and the Hempel, favorites of the design crowd and celebrities alike, helped to make London the hip-hotel destination of the '90s. Now the firm delivers a bit of the same flash to Eastern Europe, with interiors for Andel's Hotel Prague, owned by Immo Future 6 and operated by Vienna International. Completed in collaboration with the building architect, Tomás Prouza of Prague-based D3A, the design combines a restrained yet innovative materials palette with an eye for the local vernacular. "It's a style that's new for Prague but still acknowledges Czech traditions," says Jestico + Whiles associate James Dilley.
Located in trendy Andel, a former industrial neighborhood being reinvented as a retail and residential destination-its name means "angel" in Czech-the hotel is reached from the street through a glass-walled walkway. In the 3,000-square-foot lobby, ottomans covered in red mock suede and couches upholstered in black leather or taupe suede are positioned to take advantage of sweeping city views. Separating and defining the low-slung seating clusters, gauzy voile draperies, mounted to a recessed ceiling track, are animated by the movement of passersby. The effect, explains Dilley, "plays upon and exaggerates the periods of animation and tranquility that characterize the hotel-lobby experience."
The reception desk is a design feat in its own right. Made of honed limestone, which also covers the floor and core walls, the unit is 8 inches below standard height. This discrepancy is meant to be an inviting gesture, overturning the traditional notion of reception desk as barrier. (For check signing or note penning, raised blocks of layered blue glass offer support.) Behind, the rough-hewn limestone wall is detailed with oblong decorative niches lined in bright red glass, a use of glazing that salutes Bohemia's famed glass artistry.
Leading to the second floor's conference facilities and restaurant is a contemporary interpretation of the grand-entrance staircase, with a "runner" of limestone slicing through the middle of lighter-hued limestone treads and risers. On the upper landing, a secondary reception desk serves the dining facilities, the conference rooms, and the pre-conference areas. The latter, says Dilley, are "populated by small groups of witty yet comfortable leather club chairs."
The restaurant seats 200 at blue leather-upholstered Antonio Citterio chairs that pull up to custom teak-topped tables. That figure includes room for 66 in three private central areas walled with clear and etched glass. A glassed-in 20-seat function venue called the Crystal Room, reached by a flying glass bridge, juts over a courtyard between the hotel proper and the neighboring building.
In the 280 guest rooms on the hotel's four top levels, Jestico + Whiles's design scheme reiterates the materials and color palette of the public areas, with leather-upholstered seating and jolts of red and yellow against a neutral backdrop. And desks with lacquer-finished bases feature glass tops that rotate to take maximum advantage of the first-row city views through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
PROJECT TEAM: MICHELLE LE MASURIER; JOHANNA STOCKHAMMER; FRANOIS BERTRAND; TOBY WARE; SNIEZ TORBARINA. SOFAS, CHAIRS, OTTOMANS, TABLES (LOBBY, RESTAURANT): BB ITALIA. CARPET (GUEST ROOM): HTW DESIGN CARPET. DRAPERIES, BLINDS (LOBBY, GUEST ROOM): INKU INTERNATIONAL. BUILDING ARCHITECT: D3A. GENERAL CONTRACTOR: PORR PROJEKT UND HOCHBAU.