citizenM London Bankside by Concrete Architectural Associates
Arriving in London, guests will be surprised when they see how much more refined the brand’s look and feel has become. Alongside architectural firm concrete, citizenM has infused the hotel’s aesthetics with new sophistication, and what used to be a playground for design enthusiasts has evolved into a stage for endless inspiration. The ground floor, with its open-plan lobby, is “styled to look like the living rooms of a very well-travelled person,” according to CMO Robin Chadha. Every detail is thought through in delineated spaces that now mix elegance with the old exuberance, all in cooperation with furniture design giant Vitra.
Also new is the group’s sharp focus on contemporary art (the hotel is, after all, just south of the Tate Modern), with a text piece rightfully claiming “Another World Is Possible” by Turner prize-nominated artist Mark Titchner mounted on the exterior facade, as well as interior works by Gavin Turk, Mario Testino, a video by Belgian artist Hans ob de Beeck and a jaw-dropping floor to ceiling mural by the hyper trendy artist collective Assume Vivid Astro Focus (AVAF). The Titchner and AVAF works are absolutely original, having been commissioned by citizenM specifically for this hotel and its guests. There’s even “art” to take away: citizenM has launched a new service in partnership with acclaimed Amsterdam bookstore MENDO, friends of citizenM since the very beginning: Guests literally walk into a big black book (the shape of the display) and buy their favourite photography, architecture, fashion, and travel books to take with them or have sent to their home addresses.
Another highlight on the ground floor is the self-serve canteenM, which beckons to the hungry and thirsty. It was designed to feel like a home kitchen arranged around a red wooden coffee bar, along with an adjacent bakery-style open kitchen with fare that shifts from delicious baked goods in the morning to light lunch and simple dinners and cocktails later in the day. Guests can grab a variety of food and drinks, then work at one of the four Macs near the kitchen or hang out at a marble-topped table in the cafe. All of this is situated around a dramatic new interior space. The lively hotel is built around an atrium whose tranquil atmosphere offers an urban oasis for guests and visitors; birch trees add a flash of green, hanging lanterns offer soft and magical light, and AVAF’s 35-meter mural, with its eye-popping shapes, frames the space. A wooden deck extends into this peaceful outdoor space from the first floor.
Leaving the ground floor behind, a striking spiral staircase connects to a series of seven meeting rooms arranged around the courtyard on the first floor. Here “business nomads” can meet in groups of 2 to 24 people for meetings or workshops. Further upstairs, the already super-efficient and functional guest rooms now have an expanded vanity, more room to hang clothing, a small refrigerator and enlarged in-room work surface.