Travel By Design: an exploration of The Berkeley’s ever-changing design story, as told by three unique interior designers

“David Collins always had an affinity with the colour blue, stemming from growing up by the sea in Dublin. His love of the colour, especially the lavender-hued part of the spectrum, was instilled in David Collins Studio and its team. When asked to design the bar in 2000, David Collins used the Edwin Lutyens-designed wall panelling taken from the original 19th-century Berkeley Hotel on the edge of Mayfair. The design studio developed a custom blue-coloured gesso, selected because the material could be applied and, if needed, removed without damaging the highly detailed and historic Lutyens panelling – the important panels feature a cornucopia of motifs and details, including cherubs, vines, and flora. This specific blue was carefully applied in 50 layers to achieve just the right depth and finished with a dusting of red mica, which gives the panelling its famed iridescence, making it ‘Lutyens Blue’.”

What inspired the studio to choose convex mirrors for the space?

“David Collins Studio added the convex mirrors to allow people discreet visibility around the room and reflect the lighting throughout the room.”

What is the key to creating such a timeless design?

“Creating projects with a singular and exacting vision and bringing the client on the journey with you always results in an exciting project. Also, layering materials and textures that reveal themselves to the guests over time mean there is always something new for people to find as they continue to use the space.”

The Berkeley BarJames McDonald

Bryan O’Sullivan works across his interior studios in London and New York and was commissioned to create The Berkeley Bar in 2019.

The pink-hued snug is an already iconic feature of The Berkeley Bar. Could you share how the brief and your inspirations shaped the concept?

“Within the brief was the direction to create an intimate space, and because of that, we felt drawn to a colour palette of soft corals, creams and pinks. While this gives a feminine touch, I think the space feels elegant and timeless. In terms of inspiration, we looked to Paris’s compelling, glamorous and romantic design in the 1920s and 1930s and Italy in the 1960s, translating these eras through our own contemporary lens. The Grenadiers were also a source of inspiration in our initial moodboards, as their stables were originally located on the grounds where the hotel lies today. As the barracks today are very much in the brutalist style of architecture, we have referenced this with repeat arch forms which run throughout the space.”

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