Beaumont Hotel, Mayfair, London

Wimperis & Simpson
Converted by Reardon Smith
Date Built
1925 - 26
8 Balderton Street, Brown Hart Gardens
The Beaumont Hotel is a luxury 5 star hotel in fashionable Mayfair.  It offers visitors a choice of 73 rooms of which 23 are studios and suites.  The hotel's website adds that, "... The Beaumont is superbly located on a quiet garden square, close to the luxury shops, galleries and museums of Mayfair, St James's and the West End. Grand in style yet intimate and welcoming, its design is inspired by the great Art Deco hotels of the 1920s."

However, the Beaumont's history is much different than you might expect.  Far from being a luxury hotel it staterd life in the 1920s as multi-storey car park that was given Grade II listed status in 2009.  It was regarded as worthy of listed status because of its, "... Special architectural interest: the fa├žade is remarkably ambitious for a car park of this date   - Special historic interest: for its importance in the evolution of the multi-storey car park as a distinctive C20 building type  - Group value: with the listed electricity generating station opposite in Brown Hart Gardens, together representing how utilitarian structures can be afforded an ambitious architectural treatment in this prestigious area."

When listed the building was described as having an, "... Open-fronted ground floor carried on two columns with stylised capitals; over-sized egg-and-dart frieze above. Above this, the 3 central bays are separated by broad pilasters into three 1-window bays divided by pilasters with stylised capitals. End bays slightly set-forward, flanked by plain pilasters; each has projecting 2-storey pavilion: that to N has paired round-arched entrances; that to S has single with small window to eitherside; both have first-floor window set in round-headed recessed arch, and paterae ornament to either side. The forecourt between the pavilions always accommodated a filling station..."

It was built for Macy's and it was, "... one of the first garages to cater principally for shoppers, offering free parking to the customers of nearby Selfridge's department store."  The side wings of the building apparently contained facilities for customers and their chauffeurs.   "The garage changed hands several times, the longest occupant being Dagenham Motors Ltd from c1932 to the 1980s."

One of the unique features of the building in its new guise as a hotel is the robot like creature that sits squatting on top of one of the wings.  This is "ROOM" an architectural sculpture by Anthony Gormley that, as he points out, were it stand up would be 22 metres high.  Gormley explains that, "... In both its title and form, the work treats the body as habitat: our primary dwelling place, while still being a resolute object commanding space. The house-sized sculpture is made of large rectangular steel volumes that apply the syntax of architecture to the body.  Inside ROOM there is no furniture apart from the bed covered in white linen. The internal surfaces of the hollow blocks provide ledges and niches. The wood is left untreated with finger joints at the corners left slightly proud. The walls are made of wooden planks of different widths of a dark, reddish-brown colour with the figuring of the oak modulating the surface.  I want the room to be both in the city but absolutely removed from it, giving a feeling of enclosure within and exposure without. I want it to be a safe-haven, a retreat, a place of peace, with a feeling of being fully enclosed but not cut off from outside. The window above the bed is high and gives a view of the sky and can be opened. At night, the shutters allow total blackout."

For visitors to the hotel ROOM is the bedroom of a luxurious suite.

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