Designed in the spirit of its artistically evolving terrior, the interiors of a new London hotel express the creative inclinations of narrative-driven Powerstrip Studio
That the interiors of the Bankside Hotel, a new high-rise on the banks of the Thames in London, would offer cinematic scope was always assured: Dayna Lee, who co-founded Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary design practice Powerstrip Studio with her husband Ted Berner, helmed its exuberant interiors. Former Emmy Award-nominated art directors, Lee and Berner bring their background to bear on projects across the world.
But just across the pond, Lee served as principal designer for the gleaming, glass-walled Bankside Hotel. Showing a focused, considered verve, Lee approached the project like an auteur, conceptualizing a mise en scene on a large scale: one with cosmopolitan drama, an extravagance of character and a plotline that dates back to the 1700s, when the hotel’s Blackfriar’s enclave was at its most fashionable. Recent times have given rise to a resurgent interest in the area so that it was not necessary for Lee to look far for inspiration.
She walked three minutes down the street and there it was: the Tate Modern. The lauded repository for international contemporary art influenced Lee’s style direction, a kind of art-school aesthetic that has shaken off the dust to reveal a modern polish characterized by mid-century furnishings, black line drawings, and graphic punch.
“I wanted to create spaces that support creative thinkers,” explains the holistically-minded Lee. “I believe people can feel, without narration, when an object or a composition is solid, cared for and embodies the thinking process of the craftsmen, artists and manufacturers.
The experience becomes a bit more full.” And vibrantly of its time. Bankside is best understood as a physical manifestation of the studio’s broader intent to “evoke cinematic stories with architecture, lighting, flow of passage, eye lines, culture with a sense of place and belongings.”
Lee’s interior design is one of eclectic refinement with creativity as its nucleus. To wit, a boatload of interesting art throughout that complements the hotel’s Maker in Residence program and speaks to a key Powerstrip Studio tenet: creating art and community.
Bankside is a product of this ethos; always distinct but whose spaces somehow cohere into a sophisticated yet whimsical whole.
Consider: the vibrant Art Yard Bar & Kitchen featuring a tangle of overhead lighting reminiscent of a Hollywood set; the book-towered mezzanine library; and the clean-lined, mid-century toned rooms with walls of tweed.
Works from British makers—custom side tables by Malgorazata Bany, handcrafted furnishings by the Galvin Brothers, and sculpture that divides sitting areas, among them—populate the place. The material palette of leather-lined shelves, butcher-block timber floors, unpainted concrete pillars, raw exposed ceilings and pieces that are “essentially studies of different design periods,” offers Lee, complete a layered and dimensioned tableau.
All support a stunning aesthetic richness for creative thinkers exactly like Lee. In this spirit, the space presents as equal parts gallery, artist studio and social hub, a bastion of 21st-century artistic patronage in an evolving South Bank neighborhood where yet another renaissance is underway.
Mostly, though, Bankside Hotel reflects a strong sense of identity. Of place, of people, and of a story that animates both.
Photographs: Courtesy Of Bankside Hotel