Although initially intended to be a luxury hotel when it was designed by the 20th-century US architect Warren Platner in 1978, Sea Containers House became offices instead. While transforming it, British designer Tom Dixon found inspiration in the golden age of transatlantic travel.
“Platner is best known for creating the ill-fated Windows on the World restaurant at the top of the Twin Towers and a very famous wire chair for Knoll,”
“He also designed for Stena Sealink – you could say he’s a naval interior designer. When we saw the building’s proximity to the river, we thought there was already a strong narrative there and it’s really about the Anglo-American relationship.”
“The building is a bit like ship,”
“We’ve emphasised this by mucking about with the top line of the building to make it more like a cruise liner. It feels like a transatlantic liner that’s just docked.”
Guests who check in from the landlocked south side Upper Ground entrance of the building, are greeted by a beaten copper hull that pierces the glass facade. This sculptural element snakes from the hotel lobby, leading through to the restaurant and bar on the riverside of the hotel.
Its best feature, however, is the art deco-inspired reservation-only rooftop lounge. Dixon described it as “a bit titanic”, and it comes with an outdoor terrace overlooking the Thames.