When we hosted last month’s design event at The Hoxton hotel in Holborn, we couldn’t have chosen a more fitting location. From the moment you walk into the lobby, you feel at home (if home is a very stylish mid century style mansion!). From the striking brass and white pendant lighting to the cleverly zoned lobby areas offering the perfect opportunity for informal meetings or tucking in an hour of remote working, the space is a triumph.
The group’s flagship hotel in Shoreditch reaches its tenth anniversary this year and with Holborn and Amsterdam already open, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the team had their hands full. But with plans to open numerous new locations over the next few years, as well as launching a new budget brand for millennial, NoCo, the team behind The Hoxton’s success are constantly at the cutting edge of hotel and interior design.
We meet the Design Director, Charlie North, to discuss how flunking an A-Level led to a career in interior design and what sets The Hoxton hotels apart.
How did you start your career in interior design?
It started when I flumped my Product Design A-level because my “product” was a bespoke scale model of an interior design scheme I created! I went on to study Interior Design at University and had the lucky break of a year-long internship at David Collins Studio. I returned after I graduated and from there I worked for two other prestigious design studios and completely engrossed myself in my projects and my career. I live it, and I love it!
How does the design process work for a new space or hotel in the Ennismore group?
Find an amazing building, or patch of land… We pull together a design concept with inspiration imagery from places we’ve seen and been, and then we start scribbling. By reviewing a space without limitations, we unleash new ideas, that would not have presented themselves to us otherwise. Then we get serious, and look at what’s possible.
How would you describe The Hoxton aesthetic and what sets it apart?
The Hoxton has always been about making a residential environment. We just create places where people feel at home, and a place they want to stay.
How does this complement or contrast to your own personal style at home?
It’s not dis-similar. However, every time I move house my taste changes. I feel strongly about having furniture that suits the building. I’ve ended up lending / giving away all my shabby vintage pieces and distressed rugs.
Maybe soon I’ll get a period property and I’ll have to start again with my furniture selection!
Do you have a favourite era of furniture design?
Mid century, Art Deco, Postmodern – I actually think any of these eras are timeless. If it’s well designed it will never look bad – but I do have a soft spot for Deco design.
Do you have a favourite preloved furniture piece?
Contrary to my previous answer, my Butterfly Chair. More comfortable than it looks, but also a sculpture in its own right.
If you could have one piece of furniture from Layer, what would it be and why?
I’ve actually got my eye on the Pink Shell Back Sofa. It’s a classic Deco shape and I think it’s beautiful. I also love a punch of colour from time to time, within a neutral scheme. It would have to take prime spot in my living room. (But I might have to sacrifice another piece!).