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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 lobby at Bermonds Locke (here and top image) instantly conveys the hotel’s rich palette of upcycled construction-site debris and iridescent, Joshua Tree–inspired surfaces.

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.

The lobby doubles as a co-working space. Its long study tables are built with reused concrete blocks and screened with lush plantlife.

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.

Clay brick with a honeycomb pattern, concrete block and steel bar are among the materials that come together to give the hotel’s interiors their eclectic warmth. Photo by Sophie Percival

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?”

Bespoke furnishings — such as the rebar-framed bed — help to delineate the different micro-zones in each room.

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.

Modelled on studio apartments, the suites are larger than typical hotel rooms and feature kitchen, living and laundry areas.

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.

The hotel features a terrace furnished with rustic-seeming furniture.

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.

A London Hotel that Revels in the (Upcycled) Details

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.

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