HLM interior team designed the concept for this ambitious retrofit scheme, transforming a Methodist chapel into a 4* boutique hotel.
HLM’s interior design concept breathes new life into the building and preserves it for future generations.
The Wesley Camden Town Hotel provides a highly sustainable BREEAM Excellent rated hotel in the centre of bustling Camden. Designed to reinvigorate the former Chapel to provide a new lease of life on what was a derelict and run down building.
The existing church brings a rich history, with a façade dating back to the 1800s, it was in need of extensive and comprehensive refurbishment. Working closely with the client, HLM’s interiors team set out to sensitively transform and renovate the church, carefully retaining elements of the original building to create a scheme that is contemporary but also has a sense of history and complements its surroundings.
The design of the Wesley Camden Town Hotel has been inspired and driven by the idea of locality and community with the aim being to reflect the true-identity of Camden in a Hotel environment whilst providing a new worship space to allow the chapel to become part of the local Methodist community again.
The building is of unique heritage and exceptional design and many of the original features and assets were retained. All furniture, fixtures and fittings were sourced within the UK wherever possible. The railings were reused within the new worship space; the parquet flooring was painstakingly lifted, re-fitted and refinished to allow it to sit within the building for another two hundred years. The stained-glass windows which were in poor condition were removed, restored and framed to provide artwork in the new worship space and the reception desk itself is formed from the old altar, it’s curves and panelling lacquered in a vibrant colour to bring it in-line with the new lively look and feel.
Camden is a place like no other and is famous for its vibrancy. Taking inspiration from Camden Councils motto – ‘Not for one but for all’ the hotel draws inspiration from many different areas of the borough from the bustling streets full of colour and the famous Bodymap fabric designs that begun on Camden market to the local artists and creatives who make Camden different.
Monochrome patterning is highlighted with bold colours and local art decorates the walls with a unique gallery style hanging system in the public areas to facilitate community art shows. The clashing patterns and colours emanate the vibrancy and diversity of the local area.
The Hotel itself sits within the old chapel facade, placing an additional floor within the old building using a complex steel structure. This created a challenging design for our team who had to create 39 functional and welcoming guestrooms with ensuite, church office, plant room, store rooms, staff welfare areas, reception and worship spaces. Clever design and space planning allowed the creation of 6 room types with the smallest footprint being only 13m2.
Creativity, Originality & Impact
Working to create a new design style and a flagship hotel, HLM formulated a way of making the Hotel combine the updated brand, unique building and local community in one package which is bespoke to the Camden site but transferable across the wider hotel portfolio. A simple equation of Brand, Colour, Building & Community.
Brand Influence is implemented through shapes and texture within the spaces identified in the Wesley brand guidance. The interior concept uses bright tones of the brand guide colours taking inspiration from the vibrant Camden Markets mixing patterns and colours. The original parquet flooring was retained and refurbished then used again throughout the Worship space. The pattern was then replicated in LVT throughout the entrance and guestrooms as well as onto the bathroom wall tiling, replicating the basket weave throughout.
The Community was brought into the design scheme using influence from Bodymap fabrics which started out on the Camden markets before rising to fame in major fashion houses of the 80s. Clashing monochrome patterns and bright colours creating a bold environment throughout the hotel, from coloured corridor ceilings and black and white carpets to geometric wallpaper and mustard yellow headboard cushioning.
The incredibly tight footprint of the guestrooms proposed a challenge for minibar provision. As an alternative a large pantry was created in the Reception area, which houses tea and coffee facilities, cold drinks, pastries, sandwiches etc for all guests. This pantry space also allows community groups to host small gatherings or art shows when needed.
One of the key focuses for this Hotel was guest experience, the idea that a whole range of travelers can use the space as they see fit. The target audience was a 1.5 night stay with a mixture of business and leisure users. This meant we had to assess the rooms from a functionality and comfort standpoint. All desks include workspaces despite the challenging building footprint and comfortable seating and task lighting is provided. Within the rooms Hypnos beds are provided to ensure a good night’s sleep with bespoke wall mounted TV units providing a wealth of entertainment. Every room has bespoke storage to make the most of the space, with under-bed storage for bags and larger items.
Despite the small room all en-suite bathrooms provide over-sized showers with high quality fixtures to ensure every guest can relax after a long day or refresh ready to explore Camden. Particular consideration was given to storage and toiletry space to ensure every type of visitor has room to spread out.
The entrance space is designed to welcome guests in, with the Reception desk deliberately placed to the side to encourage guests to check in at their own pace and take time to explore the art, use the pantry facilities or take a seat at the community table. A large window down to the worship area connects the space with the building’s dual use as a church and ensures the heritage of the building is at the forefront of the space.
Achieving the Client’s Business & Design Objectives
The Wesley group are looking to expand across the UK following the success of their Euston hotel. The first step in this was converting Camden with their core principles at its heart. Camden serves as the inspiration for the rest of their portfolio and has informed the new Brand Guidance documents which will be used in the development of other sites. HLM’s key equation of Brand, Colour, Building & Community will serve as the cornerstone for all other buildings.
Design decisions made throughout have been in unison with the client and we are now advising them on other areas of their portfolio. The Camden site opened in January 2023 ready to welcome guests and reviews so far are really positive with guests particularly pleased with the high quality fixtures and fittings.
"We're delighted to open the doors to The Wesley Camden Town, as London's newest boutique hotel. The hotel will perfectly complement the vibrancy of the neighbourhood and builds on the ethical credentials established over the years at The Wesley London Euston…we're so pleased to be able to safeguard the future of this wonderful listed building…”
James Barr, Manager
"This project has a positively unique story and it has been a pleasure to witness the beginning, engage with the middle and be a part of the ending. It has been excellent to work with a client who has community at the forefront of their values. Camden Town is a neighbourhood full of personality and it has been a privilege to deliver a boutique hotel that will continue to be a part of its community. The interiors team have approached this listed building with care and sensitivity, ensuring that its historic charm is celebrated alongside the modern features that tie in to the vibrancy of its surroundings. It is a joy to see this luxury boutique hotel open it’s doors for visitors and congregation to enjoy and relax."
Caitlin Cadman, Interior Designer