Crittall and Ace Hotel, Shoreditch

ACE Hotel London occupies the original site of the Shoreditch Empire and its successor, The London Music Hall. The newly created 258-room hotel – taking an existing building and refashioning it into a distinctly boutique environment – is just a few minutes’ walk from Brick Lane, faces a conservation area and inhabits an urban landscape that over the centuries has featured grain warehouses and industrial buildings that housed many skilled trades from silkweaving to metalwork, ship building to shoemaking.

The façade as well as the interior of the hotel was conceived by Universal Design Studio for clients Ace Hotel (Starwood Group) to reflect not only the urban character of the area but also the skills, crafts, artistic and cultural influences that imbue Shoreditch with its East End vibe.

It was the local metalwork tradition that led to the appointment of Crittall Windows – the Essex-based manufacturer with more than 160 years’ experience in crafting metal windows – to furnish a number of the building components, not merely Corporate W20 fixed lights and cold form entrance doors to the ground floor entrance and lobby area but also internal partitioning screens that divide the lobby space from the hotel’s bar and restaurant – the Hoi Polloi – and also a florist, Hattie Fox’s the Flower Shop, which specialises in sustainable, medicinal, and culinary plants.

The lobby screens also come from Crittall’s Corporate W20 range, glazed with half height insulated panels and textured Georgian wired glass above. The company also supplied screens that were used to clad the existing structural columns to maintain the theme of the rest of the internal glazing.

The Flower Shop is indicative of the hotel’s design ethos, locating within the hotel a typical High Street shop which is very much part of the local community. The choice of Crittall fenestration also means a traditional steel framed system that references the articulation of traditional shopfronts in the surrounding area.

Being continuous with the lobby and en-route to the restaurant the Flower Shop and adjacent spaces act as a hub for hotel guests to mingle with local community. The full height Crittall screens also create a number of room-like, furnished zones where people can meet, chat or do business.

The Crittall contract was valued at £115,000. The contractor was County Contractors. Cost consulant: Turner & Townsend; delivery architect: EPR.