The Lounge at The Runnymede has always been hugely popular and is used by a diversity of people visiting for business or leisure – so we’ve built on this popularity to make The Lounge feel like a really welcoming destination. There’s a curated and eclectic range of tables and chairs, an incredible 360-degree fireplace, plus bespoke tables and art. Inspired by the River Thames, The Lounge is now more closely connected with its beautiful surroundings too.
We’ve really focused on the idea of The Runnymede being a place that combines modern riverside character with an independent spirit. The design is full of personality and playfulness to reflect this in an abstract way – and although it doesn’t feel corporate, it’s a place where business and leisure visitors feel equally comfortable. It definitely feels like more than just an extension of the reception area!
We felt it was really important to create a heart and something you’re drawn to in the centre of The Lounge. We looked at hundreds of different fireplaces and mulled over artificial and gas options – but realised it had to be a real fireplace that made a statement. We also felt it was important to create a fireplace that was inclusive – to be enjoyed by as many people as possible. So we chose a 360-degree fireplace in a bespoke rusty red colour by the French company, JC Bordelet. It’s like a sculpture in the core of The Lounge, which can be seen from almost every chair in the space.
The design process was not about throwing everything out and starting from scratch, so we have repurposed or reupholstered some tables and chairs to bring a refreshed character to The Lounge. Added to this are new pieces and statement chairs. This creates an interestingly curated selection of seating – everyone will find a chair they like here. We’ve also really embraced the diversity The Lounge is so loved for. People visit for a quick coffee and to work on their laptop. Others gather with a large group of family members for lunch or afternoon tea. Some host informal business meetings here; others sit for a drink in the evening. In response to this, we have included everything from higher tables to low lounge chairs.
We felt it was much more powerful to include one statement piece of art instead of many smaller pieces, so we commissioned Stephanie Ho to create a bespoke diptyque painting for the space. It’s a piece of art that you look at, like, and study a little bit more every time you see it. You notice something new each time you look at it. It’s a really exciting addition to The Lounge and quite an eye catcher.
Most of the reception area has a natural oak finish with some elegant darker details. We picked up on the darker wood and added this to the woodwork in The Lounge through French polishing and adding dark wooden tones to the columns. The carpet is an abstract version of water with different shades of blue, grey and rusty red tones – which really connects The Lounge to the riverside location. Two chandeliers by the Canadian sculptural designers, Bocci, also make quite a statement by the skylights in The Lounge. And finally, we worked with an illustrator throughout the project, who designed some new table tops and wallpaper for the corridors that captures the blue hues of the river and the spirit of the hotel’s natural surroundings.
This space at The Runnymede really is the definition of diversity, with visiting business and leisure travellers, groups and solo travellers, families and couples. Everyone feels welcome here. The design and the new menu both express the idea that there is something for everyone in The Lounge. A quiet corner for a coffee or to get some work done, sociable tables for friends or family to share lunch, relaxing chairs for an aperitif or nightcap…plus more!