The Beaumont Hotel, which opened a year ago, is the first hotel from the restauranteurs Corbin and King who are the inspiration behind such London restaurants as the Wolseley and the Delaunay. The art deco-façade of the original 1920’s building has been retained and provides the inspiration for the rich art-deco interiors inside. An artistic addition is a huge sculpture near the top of the building by Antony Gormley which is in fact the bedroom of a suite (rumoured to cost £2,500 per night). Made of stainless steel and fumed oak, the sculpture perches like a sinister creature from Ghost Busters overlooking the adjacent, and recently refurbished, Brown Hart Gardens.
The giant crouching figure is, as to be expected from Gormley, modelled on his own body. He describes the inside – which is taller than it is wide – as “a cave, a tomb, a womb or a padded cell”, hoping that the guests will use it for thought and contemplation like a monastic cell. ‘I take the body as our primary habitat…..the room contrasts a visible exterior of a body formed from large rectangular masses with an inner experience. the interior of room is only 4 metres square but 10 meters high: close at body level, but lofty and open above. shutters over the window provide total blackout and very subliminal levels of light allow me to sculpt darkness itself. my ambition for this work is that it should confront the monumental with the most personal, intimate experience.’ (Antony Gormley).
Well done to Corbin & King and to Antony Gormley for taking the bold decision to create public art with a purpose, rather than just decoration on the outside of a building and to Westminster planners for agreeing to this contemporary and thoughtful addition to the historic 1920′s façade.