Leading British design studio Kinnersley Kent Design has completed the multi-million-dollar refurbishment of one of London’s most iconic hotelsThe Athenaeum Hotel & Residences – remodeling the interiors and adding new layers of warm and subtle glamour to this family-run, five-star, thoroughly-independent jewel in the heart of Mayfair.

“The Athenaeum has a fabulous, under-the-radar, entertainment history. We have refurbished all of the public spaces including The Bar, added the new Galvin restaurant, in addition to undertaking the brand strategy, positioning and identity work responding to an extensive graphic design brief,” explains Mark Leib, Design Director at Kinnersley Kent.

The 156-room Hope House was originally built in 1850 as a private residence by Henry Pelham-Clinton, the 6th Duke of Newcastle. Around 1864, the house was bought by the Junior Athenaeum Club – a high Society gentleman’s club. The house was redeveloped in the 1930s as an art deco apartment block. In 1971, the Rank Organisation purchased it, opening it as The Athenaeum Hotel after a two-year refurbishment.

Through Rank’s direct links to Hollywood, the hotel attracted guests including Steven Spielberg, Marlon Brando, Harrison Ford, Lauren Bacall, Liza Minnelli, Warren Beatty and Kim Kardashian. Rank encouraged its stars (including Elizabeth Taylor) to take up residence at the hotel whilst working on film projects in England. The Hollywood Reporter observed that there were more movie stars to be seen in London’s Athenaeum than in the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel. For over twenty years, Sally Bulloch was the legendary Executive Manager.

In terms of the design approach for the project, Kinnersley Kent Design Partner, Jill Higgins, explains:“Above all, we were looking to open the hotel up in terms of light, space, circulation and visibility. The building’s original art deco nature has also been brought back to life by replacing the ground floor elevation with an elegant bronze façade with brass details referencing the 1930s modernist style.”

Kinnersley Kent Design’s Brand Director, Lindie Kramers, said of the agency’s approach to brand refresh and positioning: “Our thinking was based on the brand’s core strengths – its heritage, attitude and location. Located in the heart of Mayfair, the brand is delightfully English (in all the right ways), independently-owned, with an art deco spirit. And they’ve always done things differently.”


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[Photography by Kate Berry & Chris Tubbs.]


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