CD Partnership has designed the interior of the new Fitzwilliam Hotel on St Stephen's Green in the heart of Georgian Dublin. The building was designed by architect Ashlin Coleman Heelan & Partners. cdp's luxurious interiors break new ground in a city that in the past decade has undergone a transformation from Joycean drabness to cosmopolitan glamour.
With the traditional Shelbourne Hotel a few doors away and Trinity College just down the road, James Soane, director of cdp, realised that 'it was important not to do something ersatz. It had to be of its time and of outstanding quality.' Describing cdp's solution as 'Baronial modern', Soane believes that modernism need not imply outright minimalism. Generous detailing and the richness of materials allude to Irish heritage and show 'that contemporary design does not have to be stark and unfriendly.' The reception or Great Hall, entered through a vast double-height 'shop-window', introduces the prevailing palette of black and white marble, green Barcelona Limestone, polished stainless steel and American walnut.
In the guest rooms (there are 137, including 13 suites) the rich dark wood is contrasted with simple off-white walls, and timber-floored lobbies are fitted with a luggage rack and coat hooks to give a dressing-room feel. Bathroom walls are finished in white mosaic with a grid of bronze tiles; the walnut wash stands have black granite tops. Ornate baronial bedheads, with monogrammed linen hangings, dominate the bedrooms but there are also fax, modem and multi-line telephones so that business can continue among the soft furnishings.
Corridors - always a potential problem in hotels - are divided into a series of bays and dimly lit, with dark-purple carpeting, in contrast to the brightness of the guest rooms. The hotel also has a roof garden - a novelty in Dublin.