A fashionable hotel opening in a global city like London can seem a dime a dozen these days, but the recently opened Bankside Hotel, which derives its name from its location on the South Bank of the Thames, is creating both local and international buzz for its gallery-like art installations, stylish furnishings, and impressive cultural-event calendar.
Powerstrip Studio’s Dayna Lee—a film-set art director who worked on Boogie Nights and Dances with Wolves—set the vision for the boutique property, which is brimming with carefully curated works that expose guests to up-and-coming artists from the UK and beyond. Some of the commissioned works incorporated in Bankside range from ceramicist Laura Carlin’s tiled murals to Malgorzata Bany’s side tables, which were inspired by architectural columns. The Galvin Brothers brought large, communal wooden tables to life around the hotel, which furthers its intention to become a dynamic coworking space for a creative hub. But Bankside is as equal part play as it is work, thanks to Timorous Beasties, who was tasked with creating a textured backdrop for one of the hotel’s statement pieces—a leather and metal rocking horse.
More recently, artists represented by Bankside curator Contemporary Collective, including Helen Gorrill and Victoria Heald, have been added to its roster of talent. The acclaimed Gorrill, who describes her work as “vandalizing old masters and reviving art historical portraits through photobombing and incorporating elements from contemporary subculture” submitted three portraits to Bankside’s gallery. In the works, Gorrill has drawn inspiration from the hotel’s South Bank ‘hood and the staff of the property itself, incorporating their features into the portraits that represent Mona Lisa, Shakespeare, and Sir Christopher Wren. For her residency starting this summer, the London-based Heald will host an artist talk about her experience in the industry and an event on using gold leaf as a technique in art, which she is well accomplished in.
Designed with an open-air, live/work feel that’s reminiscent of a comfortable, well-appointed home, the common areas and 161 guest rooms at the Bankside are the pinnacle of unfussy modern luxury. The spaces are defined by plush, comfy seating in tanned kid leather and gray fabrics, midcentury-modern influenced decor, and an abundance of butcher-block and rich-wood paneling. (See the mezzanine space at top.)
Some walls and floors are further filled with geometric patterns, a motif that spills over into Art Yard Bar & Kitchen, the handsome restaurant from chef Lee Streeton of 45 Jermyn Street and Brown’s Hotel.
On the upper floors, crisp white bedding and luxe quilted wool throws make Bankside a particularly cozy place to rest your head in suites that don’t feel suffocating in size for a big-city hotel.
And while art may be at the heart of Bankside, this stylish, design-driven hotel is filled with little luxuries that will impress even the most discerning of travelers. Case in point: Vending machines throughout the hotel are filled with ways to pamper yourself during a stay, including everything from Tom Ford’s Velvet Orchid Perfume to CBD drops, Charlotte Tilbury face masks, and even the wildly popular Fever Tree tonic you might need to mix into your favorite cocktail.