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A London Hotel with a Sense of Joie de Vivre

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A London Hotel with a Sense of Joie de Vivre

June 28, 2017

There are certain things you can expect to find in a Dorothée Meilichzon–created hotel: A charmingly tipsy mix of materials and design references. Unexpected color choices. And some of the most memorable headboards around.

Meilichzon runs her own Paris firm, Chzon, and to date has performed top-to-bottom designs for four Paris hotels (go to Affordable Chic at Hotel Panache and Hotel Bachaumont’s Moody Blues for a sampling), along with a roster of restaurants. The newly opened 18-room Henrietta Hotel in Covent Garden—Meilichzon’s first London lodging—is owned by the Paris-based Experimental Group, a band of friends who she’s worked with many times before. Familiarity has granted Meilichzon the freedom to have fun: Acknowledging that she loves to experiment and to surprise, she says, “I want people to smile when they wake up in this hotel.”

Photography by Karel Balas, unless otherwise noted, courtesy of Henrietta Hotel.

located on henrietta street in covent garden, the hotel occupies \1874 and \187 9
Above: Located on Henrietta Street in Covent Garden, the hotel occupies 1874 and 1877 buildings previously occupied by a publishing house.

Among the challenges of joining the structures: “They had different levels,” says Meilichzon, “and, as is usual in London, the space on the ground floors was long and narrow.”

long and narrow no more. dubbed a &#8\2\20;bed and beverage&#8\2\2\1; e 10
Above: Long and narrow no more. Dubbed a “bed and beverage” establishment by its owners, the Henrietta has an eponymous 80-seat restaurant and cocktail bar on its first two floors with a new steel-framed domed skylight modeled after the arched glass ceiling in the Covent Garden Market.

Most of the designs are Meilichzon’s own—watch for her curved mirrors and other arched elements all over—but for the restaurant, run by Michelin-starred chef Ollie Dabbous, she used 40 of Vico Magistretti’s rush-seated Carimate chairs made in the 1960s.

 meilichzon&#8\2\17;s use of terracotta and green, she says, was inspired  11
Above: Meilichzon’s use of terracotta and green, she says, was inspired by the neighborhood’s brick buildings and vegetable market history. The glazed tiles are handmade in the South of France—”I wanted to play with the brick color in a new way; the diamond shape is simple and very graphic.”

The marshmallowy chairs with brushed aluminum bases are Meilichzon’s homage to French designer Pierre Paulin’s work in the 1970s. They appear throughout the hotel in a variety of upholstery fabrics, including jewel-toned mohair and a shagreen pattern, sourced from Italian fabric house Rubelli.

preserved old brick paired with gold tasseled lampshades by architect designer  12
Above: Preserved old brick paired with gold-tasseled lampshades by architect-designer Cristina Celestino.
to evoke an herbarium, meilichzon lined the walls with framed pressed flowers m 13
Above: To evoke an herbarium, Meilichzon lined the walls with framed pressed flowers made in her studio.
the guest quarters are done in four different color palettes. no two rooms are  14
Above: The guest quarters are done in four different color palettes. No two rooms are exactly alike, but all have playful brass lighting designed for the setting. Photograph by Paul Bowyer.
the beds are the big moment in every meilichzon hotel. at the henrietta, the ou 15
Above: The beds are the big moment in every Meilichzon hotel. At the Henrietta, the outsized, bas-relief headboards reference the surrounding pediments, capitals, colonnades, and porticos.
each bed frame is hand assembled from individual elements, painted, mirrored, 16
Above: Each bed frame is hand assembled from individual elements, painted, mirrored, or fabric-covered.
scalloped carrara marble and sawtooth edged tiles against shell pink walls in a 17
Above: Scalloped Carrara marble and sawtooth-edged tiles against shell pink walls in a fanciful—and spacious—bath.
a glimpse of the neighboring buildings that meilichzon looked to for design ide 18
Above: A glimpse of the neighboring buildings that Meilichzon looked to for design ideas.
 the tall brass bedside lamps have long stems that are planted into the bedsid 19
Above: The tall brass bedside lamps have long stems that are planted into the bedside tables.
trained as an industrial designer, meilichzon specializes in hotels and restau 20
Above: Trained as an industrial designer, Meilichzon specializes in hotels and restaurants. She opened her own agency in 2009, at 27, and was named the Maison & Objet Designer of the Year in 2015.
the guest rooms have brass edged carrara marble skirting and terrazzo patterned 21
Above: The guest rooms have brass-edged Carrara marble skirting and terrazzo-patterned custom carpeting. Photograph by Paul Bowyer.
to lighten the look of the rooms, many of the furnishings are wall hung, includ 22
Above: To lighten the look of the rooms, many of the furnishings are wall hung, including the brass-and-marble bedside ledges. And instead of the standard hotel pen, there are carpenter’s pencils. Photograph by Paul Bowyer.

For more details and reservations, go to Henrietta Hotel.

Go to our London City Guide to see more hotels and other design-oriented haunts, including:

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