Curtis kitchens cook up a storm at Ember Locke

Locke’s first West London aparthotel will open this summer complete with top-spec bespoke kitchenettes by specialist hotel furniture manufacturers Curtis. The Leeds-based company manufactured more than 100 fully fitted kitchens in 15 design types and five different sizes for Ember Locke, the group’s sixth site in London, ninth in the UK and 13th in Europe.

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Ember Locke is bookable for stays from July 3rd when guests will be transported to a bygone time, with distinctive and eclectic designs echoing Kensington’s decadent heyday, including references to local icons such as the former Kensington Roof Gardens and the swinging 60s fashion brand Biba.

The interiors in the new aparthotel, in an imposing mansion block on Cromwell Road, marks the first collaboration between creative and interior design houses Atelier Ochre and House of Dré, with many of Ember Locke’s quirks coming from the original South Kensington Victorian building itself.

These quirks quickly became apparent as Curtis designed and manufactured the kitchenettes for the retro boudoir-style serviced apartments, including studio, twin, family, duplex and suited rooms. Many of the units required a completely bespoke design due to, for instance, the eaves in the attic rooms.

Curtis supplied the drawers and cupboards of the kitchen carcasses to fit-out specialists County Contractors to install on seven of the eight floors.  Their classic forest green shade complements the colour palettes of deep and tonal reds with pops of yellow and gold. The six-phase contract took over four months, to spring this year.

“We have worked with Curtis on many hotels and I am pleased to say that, yet again, they performed well on our latest project for Ember Locke in Kensington. They manufactured 120 kitchens for our project, all with paint finish doors and drawer fronts. Curtis were a great support in engineering and designing kitchens which worked across the many challenging room types in this beautiful period building. The deliveries were communicated by a dedicated project manager and the furniture arrived on time for what was a challenging multi phased programme.” County Contractors director Mark Heathman

Large parts of the original building were retained and worked into the design story, including the arched windows and private garden. The partnership between Atelier Ochre and House of Dré chose to work with local craftsmen and makers, from as much a sustainable factor as a sentimental one.

The carpets and bedheads use 100% recycled plastics and can be recycled if disposed of, while the heavy recycled-cotton claret curtains, custom-created by a local textile company, track around the walls and create a flexible room divider, separating the bed and kitchen areas when needed.

Re-using and re-working was a key aspect of this project. Vintage furniture, retained and re-framed architectural aspects and a curated collection of furnishings and accessories, including sumptuous use of velvet and fringing, give the building a new lease of life.

Curtis recently supplied another South Kensington venue – the exclusive residents club The Other House, redeveloped from 11 historic townhouses. Working closely with award-winning interior designers Bergman Interiors, Curtis manufactured the case goods and seating in red, green and teal colourways to complement the interior themes for the bedrooms, club flats, club vaults, and club collections comprising turret rooms, mezzanines and courtyard apartments.

“Ember Locke was a challenging but deeply satisfying project, especially following as closely as it did its neighbouring South Kensington project, The Other House. At Ember Locke, our kitchenettes bring a semblance of classic practicality to the glamour of the golden era of South Kensington.” Curtis’ head of projects, Tracie Blakeney-Patton 

Ember Locke’s on-site coffee shop opened in July, with the restaurant and bar due to open later this month.

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About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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