The creation of 45 Park Lane

March 11, 2019 Design & architectureIn conversation with

Our 45 Park Lane hotel opened in September 2011. Eight years on, we asked Thierry Despont, the designer behind the hotel’s distinctive look, to look back at the hotel’s exciting creation.

Designing a look

We stripped back the 1960s building to create a blank canvas from which we could construct a whole new concept. Everything was custom designed, right down to the door handles. The Penthouse was created as an exclusive private apartment, a special place that really makes the most the incredible views over London.

Standout features

I came up with the idea of adding aerodynamic ‘fins’ to the exterior for a more dynamic and lively aspect. They really made people take notice of the building and it soon became easily recognised. The ‘fins’ also have an important role in reducing heat in the summer and prevent heat loss in the winter.

The ripple effect

Along Park Lane you’ll notice a metallic waterfall effect on the side of the building. This is designed to be like a ripple of water, something to catch the light and give a sense of movement.

Creating a residential feel

The Library was an important communal space that I really wanted to get right. The simple act of settling down by the fireplace to read a newspaper or just enjoy a quiet moment in a busy city is what this hotel is all about. I believe it still has that relaxed club feel that we originally wanted to create.

The right light

The saying goes that 50% of an interior space is about the light, so I always like to make the most of natural light wherever possible. When it comes to artificial light, it’s all about making it seem as comfortable and welcoming as possible. At 45 Park Lane we filter and play with light in lots of ways including the exterior ‘fins’ and the louvres blinds that separate the bar and restaurant.

English influences

I incorporated what I feel to be the best of English Art Deco elegance. This theme was about being inspired by the past but moving design forward in my own individual way. I also selected a series of black & white photos of English actresses to display in the rooms and suites, something instantly recognisable as English for this London hotel.

CUT at 45 Park Lane

I have fond memories of working with Wolfgang Puck to create a fabulous new London restaurant. I remember him telling me that he normally designs his own restaurants and I said, “Me too!” We agreed that he would leave the design to me and I would leave the food to him, we’ve been firm friends ever since.

Our original artist

45 Park Lane was designed as an art hotel, so it was important to have a large piece of art in the lobby. I had the idea of creating a planet, hinting that entering the hotel is like visiting your own private planet. I painted the image first then used a computer programmed loom to transform it into a tapestry. I guess that makes me 45 Park Lane’s first artist!

As well as designing 45 Park Lane, Thierry Despont’s has also worked with us at The Dorchester, and Hotel Principe di Savoia.

Collect issue 25

Collect Magazine

View the latest issue of Collect, our bi-annual magazine featuring a curated mix of culture, art and lifestyle, together with the latest news from Dorchester Collection hotels.

Discover more