Jan Hendzel uses ‘special’ timber from London to renovate Town Hall Hotel

Reclaimed architectural timber and wood from a felled street tree form the furnishings for two hotel suites that designer Jan Hendzel has revamped for London’s Town Hall Hotel in time for the London Design Festival.

Suites 109 and 111 are located on the first floor of the Town Hall Hotel, which occupies a Grade II listed former town hall in Bethnal Green dating from 1910.

Each of the apartment-style suites has a living room with a kitchen next to a bedroom and a bathroom, which Hendzel has outfitted with custom furnishings. Like all pieces from the furniture maker, these are made exclusively from British woods.

Jan Hendzel renovated Town Hall Hotel suites 109 (top) and 111 (top)

But for his first interiors project, Hendzel took an even more hyper-local approach with the aim of sourcing all the necessary products inside the M25 – the highway that circles the UK capital.

“We started with the idea that we could buy everything in London,” he told Dezeen during a tour of the suites.

“Some wood is from Denmark Hill, some is salvaged from Shoreditch. And we used Pickleson Paint, which is a company just around the corner, literally two minutes from here.”

City Hall Suite 111 living area
Suite 111 living room features green upholstery by Yarn Collective

The salvaged wood came in the form of pine roof joists and columns, which Hendzel found in an architectural salvage yard.

These had to be scanned with a metal detector to remove any nails or screws so they could be machined into side tables and brushed touch domes used to decorate the coffee tables in the suites.

Kitchen with corrugated wood cupboards
Wavy wooden fronts complement the kitchen of both suites

In Suite 111, the dining table and the undulating fronts of the kitchen are made from one of the many plane trees that line the streets of the capital, giving them the nickname of London’s plane.

“This plane from London is very special because it came from a tree that was salvaged outside Denmark Hill station in Camberwell,” Hendzel explained. “We couldn’t find any wood from Bethnal Green, but this is the closest thing to it.”

Dining table with wavy bench by Jan Hendzel
The dining table in suite 111 is on a plane from London

For other parts, materials had to come from further afield – although all were made in the UK or by UK-based brands.

Hendzel used British ash and elm to make mirrors and benches with intricate hand-carved grooves for the suites, while the patterned rugs in the living areas come from West London studio A Rum Fellow through Nepal.

“People in the UK don’t make rugs, so you have to go further,” Hendzel said. “Same for upholstery. You can get it here but if it quadruples your budget, it’s out of reach.”

Hendzel’s goal for the interior design was to create a calm, uncluttered version of a hotel room, removing all the “extra stuff” and instead creating interest through rich contrasts of textures.

This is particularly evident in the bespoke furniture, which will now be part of his studio’s permanent collection.

Among them is the Wharf coffee table with its reclaimed wood domes, worked with a wire brush to expose the intricate graining of aged wood and offset by a naturally wavy tabletop.

“It’s a genetic defect in the wood, but that makes it extra special and grabs your attention,” Hendzel said.

Wavy mirror in the hotel room of City Hall Suites by Jan Hendzel
Grooves have been hand carved into the surfaces of the mirrors and benches featured in all suites

The coffee table, like the nearby Peng dining chair, is finished with knife-worked faceted edges reminiscent of traditional stone carving techniques. But while the table has a matte finish, the chair is finished with beeswax so its facets reflect light.

Unexpected details such as loose tongue joints, typically used to make tables, set the Mowlavi sofa and armchair apart, while circular dowels draw attention to the corner joint that holds their frames together.

Chunky wooden side table in City Hall Suite 109
Reclaimed architectural wood was used for the bedside tables in room 109

In addition to bespoke pieces, Hendzel has incorporated existing furniture such as the chest of drawers from its Bowater collection, presented at LDF in 2020. Its distinctive corrugated exterior has also been translated into headboards for bedrooms and wardrobe fronts for bedrooms. kitchens.

These are paired with crinoid marble worktops from the Mandale quarry in Derby, with roughly hewn edges offset by a perfectly smooth surface that reveals the calcified fossils within.

“It’s a kajillion years ago and there are all these creatures from many moons ago that fell in the mud and died,” Hendzel said. “But then when they’re polished they kinda look like Ren and Stimpy.”

Bed with corrugated wooden headboard by Jan Hendzel at LDF
A wavy headboard is present in both suites

Going forward, the Town Hall Hotel plans to hire other local designers to renovate its remaining 94 rooms.

Other installations featured as part of LDF this year include a collection of rotating public seats made from blocks of granite by designer Sabine Marcelis and an exhibition featuring “nice repairs” of sentimental objects like the V&A museum.

The photograph is by Fergus Coyle.

London Design Festival 2022 takes place September 17-25, 2022. See our London Design Festival 2022 guide on Dezeen Events Guide for more information on the many other exhibitions, installations and talks taking place throughout the week.

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