Photography courtesy of Ian Schrager Company •
November 28, 2018
In its heyday, the Berners Hotel attracted the likes of Virginia Woolf and Thomas Hardy. The historic, early 20th-century Fitzrovia property, comprising five circa-1835 Georgian townhouses, was overhauled as the London EDITION in 2013, marking the brand’s debut property and Ian Schrager’s first project in the city in 15 years since his successful Sanderson and St Martins Lane hotels.
“It’s a hotel that can only be in London,” Schrager says, “because it has a sophisticated aesthetic” that is truly British. The gracious atmosphere relished by those literary greats was conjured thanks to a collaboration between ISC and Yabu Pushelberg, which purposefully highlighted the Edwardian era with a sumptuous and lavish design. “We wanted to create comfortable, chic public spaces—a series of rooms that unfold,” says Glenn Pushelberg, cofounder and principal of the Toronto- and New York-based firm, along with George Yabu. “With the building’s old bones, of course we were going to put in contemporary furniture.” Meantime, the 173 guestrooms are a lesson in simplicity, fusing past and present with oak floors and wood-paneled walls that recall a cozy cabin.
In the lobby, Donald Judd-inspired green velvet sofas and wingback chairs marry arched, backlit antique mirrors, a blackened steel bar, and an oversized, suspended polished silver sphere by Ingo Maurer—an art solution of sorts because “we didn’t want to put a chandelier in that room,” quips Pushelberg.
This animated, grand space seamlessly flows into Berners Tavern, where taupe-hued walls are covered with a mélange of still-life, landscape, and photographic portraits, as well as the reception area. Here, a reproduction of Gobelins tapestry hangs above a cantilevered check-in desk, while a chandelier inspired by New York’s Grand Central Station suspends above the tables.
Just beyond is the fumed oak-paneled Punch Room craft cocktail lair, with a fireplace and tufted banquettes informed by London’s 19th-century private clubs. “I like the patchwork quality of London,” points out Yabu. It’s only natural, then, that the London EDITION is “an intervention of different styles moving side by side.”