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London’s Urban Villa Hotel by Grzywinski+Pons


Urban Villa is a 100 room hotel in west London designed by New York-based practice Grzywinski+Pons. The property is unique in that it is a hybridization of a boutique hotel and an aparthotel — two programs that generally are mutually exclusive.


On the ground floor architects designed the reception to double as a full bar, taking both cues and inspiration from traditional English public houses — pubs — where historically there were rooms to let and the barkeeper doubled as an innkeeper. They chose a palette that is bright and welcoming yet robust and functional — an environment where it felt just as natural to ask for extra towels as it would to order a cocktail.


The lobby also hosts a cafe designed for the same day-to-night mutability. A series of communal tables and more private breakout spaces sit between screens and under ceiling rafts. Grzywinski+Pons wanted to balance the abundant glazing and high ceilings with vertical breaks, warm and authentic materials, lush vegetation and texture. The space, while legible, light washed and convivial, is subtly apportioned into varying degrees of public and private space though void of any walls.


In the guest rooms architects adopted the same design theme, adding sofas upholstered in pale fabrics and brightly colored mismatched furniture. “We had less latitude to reveal the bones of the building so we focused on designing custom furniture and a finish schedule that would be congruent with the aforementioned public spaces,” said the architects.

“We managed to create an atmosphere that belies its shell and injected some heterogeneity into an otherwise uniform environment,” the architects conclude.

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all images © NICHOLAS WORLEY