The University of Nottingham’s first four-star hotel venture has launched, with stylish, contemporary interiors designed by Graven Images. Set in 330 acres of lush landscapes and adjacent to the East Midlands Conference Centre, the Orchard Hotel is an eco-friendly purpose built venue designed for both business and leisure visitors.
The £20 million hotel is equipped with photovoltaic panels and energy-efficient systems to help reduce carbon emissions and maximise the use of natural sources of energy.
Throughout the interiors, Graven Images has introduced a contemporary design, which complements the bold exterior by RHWL Architects. Features and materials used reflect the immediate natural surroundings, with extensive use of timber, a warm colour scheme of earthy tones across all furnishings, and wallpaper produced from photographs taken of the neighbouring woodland.
Highlights of the 202-room hotel include a spacious and multi-functional lobby housed in an impressive atrium flooded with natural light. Within this space are several geometrical pieces of furniture; a reception desk made of English oak; a library; and a freestanding bar situated between the reception area and the 140-seat brasserie-style restaurant.
Public areas across the ground level have been embellished with art and crafts designed by independent artists discovered at an exhibition held at Nottingham’s Lakeside Arts Centre. Along with various objects, such as books and plates, several collections of intricate pieces were especially commissioned to represent the hotel’s ethos, natural surroundings and location.
Among the selected works for the hotel reception area are 25 illustrative ceramic and photographic pieces designed by award-winning Nottingham artist Anna Collette Hunt. Her work for The Orchard Hotel includes unique wall plates and dishes, some of which are inspired by natural history. These pieces are complemented by a series of hand-made plates and jugs with nature-themed motifs by Ken Eardley, a ceramics specialist with a background in textiles.
Finally, Sarah Thirlwell’s hand-turned wooden pieces complete the selection of commissioned artwork on display at The Orchard Hotel. Placed in the library, her vessels and vases are made of recycled yoghurt pots and reclaimed materials. The traditional methods implemented, the materials used, and the contemporary aesthetic fit particularly well with the hotel’s style and sustainable context.
Founding Director Ross Hunter commented:
“Our vision for The Orchard Hotel was to create a contemporary, upscale venue suited to the social and working needs of the nearby East Midlands Conference Centre, located at Nottingham University.”
“The main concept of the design was to relate the interiors to the surrounding parkland of Nottingham University campus, one of the largest and most attractive in the country, and to complement the sustainable architecture of the hotel. At the same time the interiors needed to be accessible and hard-working, supporting the social and functional needs of this most international of Universities.”
“For the final touches, we worked with a selection of artists to produce decorative pieces reflective of Nottingham’s longstanding arts and crafts culture”.
Photography: © Martine Hamilton Knight 2013 (www.builtvision.co.uk)