Qbic London City Hotel — London, UK
The Qbic London City Hotel represents a step change in the world of hospitality. Each of the 171-guestrooms is dominated by a pod-like structure, the Cubi, which partially encloses the bed and also integrates a stylish bathroom component. The genius idea of the Cubi is that it can be ’inserted’ into former office buildings, giving them and their neighbourhoods a new lease of life. Following the launch of the first property at Schipol airport five years ago, this version is smaller, with each Cubi featuring integrated TVs and changeable mood lighting. Tim Mutton of Clerkenwell-based agency Blacksheep is the mastermind behind the handcrafted interiors, featuring a flexible continuum of dining, living and working areas furnished with flamboyant colour contrasts and a clash of patterns. An open fireplace is surrounded by an assortment of refurbished Scandinavian furnishings, while lamps and seating are fashioned from a re-purposed garden hose by non-conformist Rotterdam designer Sander Bokkinga. The hotel also offers rent-free space in its basement to creative start-ups and there is a well-lit staircase for use as an artistic exhibition space. Such unconventionality tallies with the fundamentally different concept behind Qbic.