Birch Community (Crafted.Experimental.Curated)
Birch Community (Handle.Silk.Comet) was a full renovation of a Grade II* listed building in Hertfordshire, UK, completed in 2020. The 146-bedroom hotel, with its two full-scale restaurants, three bars, bakery, pottery studio, wellness centre, co-working space, lido and a myriad of other public areas was an exercise in resourcefulness and reimagination.
As Lead Interior Designer for the project, we sought to interrogate the traditional expectations placed upon a hotel. A limited budget gave us parameters to think laterally, seeing that which could be restored, that which could be left as existing, and that which could be repurposed and reinterpreted.
We moved away from the idea of standardisation and turned towards craft and reuse, as well as the Hotel’s mission of providing a space to rest, relax, work and play.
As a studio, our entire ethos is focussed on modern and sustainable design, underpinned by artistry and craftsmanship, to create sensory and playful spaces. Birch provided an opportunity to realise our passion to work with honest and natural materials.
Collaborating with craftspeople such as Emma Louise Payne and Jan Henzel to create bespoke pieces for the space, we sought to push materiality and reuse as a design ethic, as opposed to a budgetary constraint.
The result is a dynamic, adventurous hotel that was recently named the Times Hotel of the Year.
Designed whilst working at Red Deer.
Photos by Inna Kostukovsky, Adam Firman and Fergus Coyle.