Opened in October 2019, Bankside is a new design-forward hotel located in one of London’s hottest and most culturally dynamic districts on the south bank of the River Thames in SE1. Just a stone’s throw away from Tate Modern, British Film Institute and Borough Market, the 161-room hotel connects guests to the vibrant local community through its art-filled interiors, neighborhood restaurant and bar, ‘Maker in Residence’ program and immersive programming and partnerships.
ART & DESIGN
The interiors of this chic six-story building, designed by award-winning architect Ian Simpson, was led by Dayna Lee of Los Angeles’ Powerstrip Studio, who subtly embedded the historical ethos of its South Bank surroundings within the aesthetic. As a film set art director-turned-hotel designer, Ms. Lee took a light-hearted and laid-back approach to the hotel’s design, noting: “The design of Bankside has an art-school style with added polish, an appreciation for mid-century collection and black line drawings.”
Drawing on British Heritage, Dayna commissioned several British craftsmen and makers to create key features within the hotel that pay homage to the location. These include Laura Carlin, a ceramicist and illustrator from London, who producedtwo wall murals composed of illustrated tiles that bring the cultural narratives of the South Bank to life, and Malgorzata Bany a London-based artist and designer who has created a series of side tables cast from Jesmonite inspired by the architectural language of columns used historically to raise buildings above ground or water.
Reflecting the hotel’s commitment to its creative surroundings, Bankside has partnered with Contemporary Collective, an online gallery featuring emerging artists, to manage and curate the space, as well as run the hotel’s ongoing ‘Maker in Residence’ program. This permanent space offers emerging artists the opportunity to create and showcase their work. Located on the ground floor with direct access onto a communal courtyard space, the Makers Hub is a dynamic new addition to the vibrant Bankside art scene. A schedule of rotating makers, a series of talks, previews and events throughout the year offers guests and passers-by a new experience with each visit. The first ‘Maker in Residence’ is London-based urban landscape painter Luke M Walker, a contemporary artist and interior spatial designer, who holds a Master of Arts from City and Guilds of London Art School.
Founded in 2006 by Elinor Olisa and Isobel Beauchamp with a mission to champion the careers of new and newly-established artists internationally, Contemporary Collective allows collectors inside access to the most promising talent that exists today. Bankside has also commissioned three pieces from Helen Gorrill, a portrait artist represented by the Contemporary Collective, to create three portraits of iconic people who have had a connection to the area.
ARTFUL DINING & DRINKING
In addition to showcasing SE1’s vibrant locale throughout the hotel’s inspired interiors, Bankside features Art|Yard, a neighborhood restaurant and bar. Chef Lee Streeton, formerly of 45 Jermyn Street, heads up Art|Yard’s kitchen, an informal design-focused all-day restaurant with its menu celebrating seasonal British produce with European influences, alongside classic cocktails, local beers and an unexpected selection of wines.
For a fun twist on the mini-bar, located on each guestroom floor is a carefully stocked vending machine that sells a small collection wine, spirits, pre-blended cocktails, soft drinks and snacks. It is accessed with a room key and charged to the room. Water bars with sparkling and still water taps can also be found on each floor.
IMMERSIVE LOCAL PROGRAMMING
Bankside guests can explore the area with two different guided walks designed exclusively for the hotel by historical expert and a former director of the Museum of London, Mr. Londoner, aka Antony Robbins. Heading off the beaten track,each trail celebrates the cool, the quirky and the unexpected in this exciting and evolving district and reveals a secret city only accessible through the eyes of a local. The first,”Bankside Darkside,” takes guests on a journey to the area’s hidden history and exposes stories of insurrection, prostitution, murder, disease, execution and The Blitz. The second trail, “Chaos” uncovers Southbank as London’s original center of bawdy and outrageous entertainment with its historic playhouses – including Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, taverns, bear-baiting and brothels.
For those looking seeking a more adventurous and rigorous sightseeing experience, the hotel has teamed up with StreetGym® to offer guests an hour-long urban circuit training that turns the neighborhood into a gym. Led by a trainer, the excursion follows a two-mile circular route highlighting some of the area’s most iconic landmarks where guests stop to perform exercises that utilize architectural features and street furniture. Founded by John Allison, an Army veteran with 24 years of service, StreetGym® is all about teamwork, improvisation and overcoming obstacles in your path.
Opening rates at Bankside start from USD $375.00 on a B&B basis and includes VAT. Visit www.banksidehotel.com.