A reclaimed timber redesign shapes the evolution of this historical hotel

By Elise Bousquet

“It had to be sympathetic to what the building was saying, something that can be transitional as it grows,” says Geeta Defoe, director of sales and marketing for Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green.

The five-star establishment recently embarked on its latest collaboration with South London-based furniture designer Jan Hendzel Studio, to reimagine two of the hotel’s suites.

Hendzel and his studio team designed not one, but two of the hotel’s suites, giving them a little room to experiment, he says. “It’s a lovely thing to try slightly similar, but different kinds of approaches. For two rooms, you have the same kind of feeling, experienced in two different ways.”

It was important for Hendzel to incorporate nature into the suites. Using reclaimed timber from the greater London area, his sculptural wood pieces will allow guests to experience the space through texture, colour and smell. Henzel says he hopes that visitors will feel conscious of the space, in a “soft and sensual kind of way”.

Having completed projects for One Hundred Shoreditch, Jigsaw and Japan House, to name a few, Jan Hendzel Studio’s approach to circular design was a perfect match for the historical Bethnal Green hotel.

While the former town hall retains much of its original Edwardian and Art Deco detailing, the hotel’s contemporary design elements offer guests a stylish retreat in the heart of East London. “Like the timber, it will cure and continue to change and it will evolve,” says Defoe on the collaboration with Hendzel.

“It is very much what Town Hall has done over a period of time,” she continues. “It evolved from being a town hall, through two World Wars, into what it is today – an amazing five-star hotel with contemporary elements, but one that still looks back to the past. With Jan Hendzel Studio’s designs, these elements come together in the two rooms.