words Gordon O'Connor-Read
Gallery owner and interior designer Rabih Hage has opened a hotel, Rough Luxe, in King's Cross just next door to his Mews gallery. As the name suggests it has an innovative take on luxury.
In transforming the Georgian grade II-listed building into a design hotel, Hage wanted to keep true to the area's gritty qualities. "It's a way of life," he says. "No artificial environment, adding no false aesthetics just to make it look funky. I took an anti-design approach."
Hage says the interior is based on "urban archaeology", and the result is striking. Decrepit walls are juxtaposed against lush furnishings throughout the building. "My intention was to rough people up while allowing them to experience luxury," says Hage. "What is luxury today? It is the uniqueness of the material. The walls started to tell the story of the house."
The original 14 rooms have been transformed to nine larger ones, some with en-suite bathrooms, others with shared ones. The small size of the hotel is contrasted by large photographic prints on the walls by Jonathan Root and Massimo Listri among others. With the rooms being so narrow, says Hage, the large prints added an architectural design element.
Rabih Hage's adjoining Mews Gallery, opened two years ago, is located behind the hotel and both now form part of the ongoing face-lift for King's Cross. "The gallery became an intellectual extension of the hotel. Some hotels have ballrooms. It's just that this one has a gallery," says Hage
top image The breakfast room table is made from reclaimed timber from Brighton Pier. The plaster chandelier is by French designer Patrice Gruffaz and the photography on wall and ceiling by Massimo Listri.
images by Marcus Peel
image The lobby is decorated with a handwoven felt rug from Portugal, a black limited edition of one chair by London-based designer Karen Ryan, a metal table by Patrice Gruffaz and a photograph of artists Gilbert and George by Jonathan Root.
image The bathroom has a copper bath from Turkey and the walls reveal some of the original nineteenth century wallpaper.