伦敦的心脏梅菲尔，以格罗夫纳花园广场为核心，聚拢着一片全伦敦最为昂贵的地产。走在其中每五步即是奢侈名店，十步就能邂逅米其林餐厅，稍稍留意便能捕获最顶级的豪华酒店。位于心脏之心脏的卡洛斯广场上，由安藤忠雄设计的水景装置⸺Silence（寂静），如同一片巨大的镜面，像静止一般氤氲在一片轻盈细密的水雾之中，与四周的繁华街景形成巨大落差。这片水景是凯莱德酒店⸺The Connaught 2007 年大举重修的一部分，于 2011 年完成落于酒店门前，是安藤忠雄的代表性作品。
Silence为凯莱德酒店在密集的街区中辟出了一片绝妙的“隔离区”。建于 1897 年的凯莱德，最初名叫Coburg酒店，二战后以Connaught公爵为名改为凯莱德酒店，是伦敦酒店中的传奇之作。历经一个多世纪，至今仍保留着最初的结构并藏有3000件艺术作品。它经由几位大师设计，包括David Collins，Guy Oliver，India Mahdavi等，分别在不同时期为酒店增添了不同的风格，最终呈现出一个经典与现代并存的艺术空间。它总能成为设计界的话题，如“风向标”一般为寻找“style”的人们带来启发和灵感。如果你也像我一样，只在伦敦短暂停留又觊觎它丰厚的艺术佳品，住在凯莱德绝对值回票价。
爱尔兰鬼才设计师David Collins大卫・柯林斯在凯莱德翻修时受到委托，为它设计了整个酒店最为特别的一间顶楼跃层套房，柯林斯希望将其设计为一个“家”，而非酒店客房，于是把它命名The Apartment。这间套房一开放，便成为了众名流们的梦想居所，传闻有女明星因为太爱这间套房甚至在自己家复制了同样的家具。 The Apartment 是柯林斯设计风格的灵魂体现，更是凯莱德酒店品质的极致表达。
在Guy为凯莱德设计的众多房间中，Prince‘s Lodge王子套房尤为特别。Guy与阿富汗的公益组织绿松石山基金会携手合作，以喀布尔老城19世纪的孔雀宫 （Peacock Palace） 为灵感，到阿富汗亲自教授喀布尔当地贫困人民木刻技巧，将他们手工刻制的作品运用其中，把凯莱德的一间阁楼房打造成为美轮美奂的王子套房，展现了惊人的手工细节。
由Tom StuartSmith打造的Moon Garden月亮花园，将凯莱德的旧翼和新翼分隔。这处15米长3.5米宽的空间并不是传统意义上的花园，它是设计师将极简和诗意共同融合设计的概念体现。黑色大理石雕刻成的曲线被石灰石包裹如同一条蜿蜒的河流，一颗苏格兰松树立于中心，呈现出典型的日式园景。设计师解释说：“我想要一些非常英国的东西，将它们变化成蜿蜒曲线般地摩登。”月亮花园正是设计师对画家赫加斯18世纪美学理论Line of Beauty的实践。
Be an Artistic Londoner
Mayfair, the heart of London, is centered on Grosvenor Square and is home to the most expensive real estates in London. Within a few steps, you will fnd either luxury shops, Michelin restaurants and the top luxury hotels.
In the heart of the area is Carlos Place, where Silence, a water feature designed by Tadao Ando,is located. It looks like a huge static mirror lying under a light mist, forming a huge contrast to the surrounding bustling streetscape. This water feature is part of The Connaught‘s 2007 redevelopment, which was completed in 2011. It is one of the representative works of Tadao Ando.
Silence has created a wonderful ”isolated zone” for the hotel in the dense neighborhood.Founded in 1897, The Connaught was frst named The Coburg . After the Second World War, it was changed to The Connaught in the name of Duke of Connaught.After more than a century, it still retains its original structure and contains 3,000 works of art. It was designed by several masters, including David Collins, Guy Oliver, India Mahdavi, etc., which added different styles to the hotel at different times and fnally presented a classic and modern art space. It is always the subject of talk in the design community, acting as the “weathercock” that brings inspiration to people looking for “style”. If you are like me, only in London for a short stay but still covet its rich art works, staying at The Connaught will absolutely be worthwhile.
Finding David Collins
Irish genius designer David Collins was commissioned to renovate The Connaught and designed the most exclusive penthouse suite in the entire hotel. Collins hoped to make it as a ”home” instead of a hotel suite, so it was named The Apartment. When this suite was opened, it became the dream residence of the celebrities. It was rumored that an actress loved the suite so much that she even copied the same furniture in her own home. The Apartment is a reflection of the spirit of Collins‘s design and is the ultimate expression of the hotel‘s quality.
The most iconic design language of Collins, ”Blue”, is seen everywhere throughout the space. The carved gates are inspired by the style of the gates commonly used in the Mayfair mansions to introduce customers to this ”private home”. The whole suite consists of a light palette of heather blue, lavender violet and ocean grey. At the same time, the metal, silk and handmade details enhance the level of the whole atmosphere. From lilac leather cabinets to custom tables, antique brass and blue leather upholstery, to a custom white marble fireplace, every detail in the room reveals the fine taste of art and literature as if carved carefully by a private collector for years. The immense area of 285 square meters is a palace among the suites. In The Apartment, one can find 20th century novels, niche art history books and rare scrolls, selected antiques and contemporary works of art. Staying here not only allows one to enjoy the toplevel services of The Connaught, but also bestows the much soughafter artistic nectar.
Having a drink at Connaught Bar is one of London‘s most seductive invitations. This prestigious bar on the ground floor of the hotel is also designed by Collins. Inspired by the Cubism of England and the Irish art of the 1920s, Collins showed modern interpretations of the architectural style of the Edwardian period. Toned with greypink, light green and pinkviolet colors, the space is dotted with platinum silver leaf, handdyed leather, and metalframed mirrors, reflecting the unique Irish style. In order to highlight the bar‘s famous ”Martini Trolley”,Collins also designed a ”runway” for display and to facilitate the movement. Here, one can watch the white gloved bartenders perform the ceremony of making the perfect martini, or savor 007‘s favorite recipes; the classic charm is always fascinating.
Getting Close to Guy Oliver
The hotel has 121 rooms and suites, of which up to 90 are designed by designer Guy Oliver. Guy is adept at bringing ideas and techniques into highend luxury spaces and objects in an approachable manne, with unexpected results. Guy has been working with The Connaught for 20 years. He was once stationed in The Connaught for three years and worked in the hotel every day, which made him an almost regular hotel resident. He was not only responsible for the interior design, but also carefully restored the hotel‘s massive amount of antiques and artwork, tending to every detail in the room. The rooms he designed all showed a lowkey and beautiful home atmosphere in an intimate manner.
Of the many rooms Guy designed for The Connaught, the Prince‘s Lodge is particularly special. In this project, Guy has teamed up with Turquoise Mountain Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Afghanistan. He was inspired by the Peacock Palace in the 19th century in Kabul and went to Afghanistan to personally teach the woodworking skills of the poor people in Kabul and use the handcarved works they made to create a beautiful Prince‘s Lodge in the attic of The Connaught, showing amazing carving details.
To build the Prince‘s Lodge, Guy transported all the parts from Afghanistan to London by air. The room retains a wide vaulted ceiling and original old oak house beams. In the center is a fourposter bed carved in Kabul more than a hundred years ago. It is surrounded by finely carved furniture with fine and detailed patterns made by exquisite
craftsmanship. Two handwoven couches with peacock patterns on it by the window create an exotic space for relaxation. It is a wonderful experience to sit here and enjoy the Mayfair streetscape.
Admiring the Contemporary Hogarth
Moon Garden, created by Tom StuartSmith, separates the old and new wings of The Connaught. This 15meterlong, 3.5meterwide space is not a garden in the traditional sense. It is the embodiment of the designer‘s concept that combines the minimalist with the poetic designs. The curvy carved black marble are covered with limestone as a meandering river, with a Scots pine tree standing in the center, presenting a typical Japanese garden landscape. The designer explained: ”I want something very British, and turn it them into something with modern curves.” Moon Garden is the designer‘s practice of the 18thcentury artist Hogarth‘s aesthetic theory Line of Beauty.
Thousands of pieces of furniture and art works in The Connaught are all unique and oneofakind, and each one has a story to tell, and contains the designer‘s ideas. To indulge in this, time is never enough...