Recently opened Bermonds Locke in South London, by Britain-based laid-back-luxury hotel brand Locke, is remarkable for a number of reasons. First, its long-stay model allows its globetrotting business clientele to book both standard visits of seven to 10 days, say, and extended sojourns of up to three months.
The 143 rooms feature all the amenities of a studio apartment, while the common area (a generous co-working space in lieu of a typical lobby) invites hotel guests as well as members of the public to sit and linger, bridging the divide between an Airbnb and a hotel experience.
But the retreat’s biggest impact plays out on a more tactile level: Everywhere one looks, humble finishes are used in inventive ways. Holloway Li, the interiors studio run by Alex Holloway and Na Li, was inspired by California’s Joshua Tree: The two love all things psychedelic and iridescent, and also wanted to transcend London-heritage tropes.
But it’s the way they executed their vision — namely, with recycled construction-site materials — that truly impresses. With each project, the studio sets itself an innovation brief, an area of learning to inform its overall work. For Bermonds Locke, Holloway says, they asked themselves, “How can we develop a low-impact, low-cost approach to material use that gives the project a distinct personality?”
The firm found the answer in the beauty of the mundane. Insulated bricks, turned on their side to reveal their honeycomb pattern (“It looks like a Navajo print,” enthuses Holloway), edge the joinery junctions with the floors; the pearly finish employed on bar tops and wall panelling, meanwhile, was inspired by the oil-slick patina on the clamps used to secure construction scaffolding. In the suites, the bed frames are made of rebar, their original fluting — or “lugs” — reappraised as decorative flourishes.
Defying the wasteful “five-year fit-out cycle” of commercial interiors, the hotel is a case study in how upcycling can lead to longevity — an ethos complemented by the building’s robust operational model.
With generous, fully equipped rooms that allow guests to do less social mixing, as well as a collaborative workspace that enables physical distancing, Bermonds Locke is set to weather COVID-19 well — with a higher-than-anticipated occupancy rate.
Hotel brand Locke teams up with design studio Holloway Li to create a unique series of interiors boasting a warm palette of construction-debris materials.