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20 Mar 2018

Henry Chebaane brings humour to hospitality with quirky 'Hip Pop Britannia' hotel concept
BY Kim Megson

Hip Pop Britannia has been launched this week in three 'rockstar rooms' at The Megaro hotel in King's Cross, London

Hip Pop Britannia has been launched this week in three 'rockstar rooms' at The Megaro hotel in King's Cross, London
photo: Blue Sky Hospitality

Surrealist hospitality designer Henry Chebaane has completed his latest project: a hotel room concept that puts his expectedly unexpected twist on British popular culture.

The project, called Hip Pop Britannia, has been launched this week in three “rockstar rooms” at The Megaro, a colourful boutique hotel next to London’s King’s Cross station that is best-known for featuring the city’s largest graffiti mural over its 19th-century facade.

Chebaane’s rooms feature recurring motifs, such as the British bulldog, lions, the Union Jack, Winston Churchill and Harry Potter’s owl – all “revisited with humour and a dash of rock and roll.” Robot dogs don shades and a blue bust of Britain’s legendary former Prime Minister sports a Mohican.

“We are proposing a new paradigm in value to customers by actively seeking to entertain them across a variety of engaging layers in the design and curation,” said Chebaane. “We aim that each visitor will find at least one thing that will bring a smile to their stay through various tongue-in-cheek allusions to British culture.”

The individual colour schemes of the rooms are inspired by the fashions of nearby Camden. In a nod to the area's industrial heritage, walls are textured like graphite and raw concrete, floors are laid with a special 3D carpet evoking burnt rubber on asphalt and the ceilings are covered with metallic splashes of paint reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s silver factory.

Decorative metal boards and soft cushions feature more of the designer’s quirky artistic compositions and furnishings come from the Diesel Living range.

The bathrooms have also been created with “a warm industrial loft feel”, with corten metal flooring, polished concrete walls, dichroic lighting and, naturally, sculptures of skulls.

Chebaane and his studio, Blue Sky Hospitality, have previously designed the Megaro’s steampunk-themed lobby bar and a series of fashion-inspired bedrooms. Later this year, they will complete work on a new restaurant concept for the hotel, inspired by a Meccano set.

"I want to create a lifestyle destination like no other in London," said Chebaane. "I have been a resident of the city for 30 years and have always been a fan of British pop art, music, culture and fashion. I believe that the convergence of all this into hospitality spaces is a long-running idea, and its time has come.

“We’re at an opportune crossroads between a hospitality industry awash with brands looking for differentiation and a fashion retail industry with too many stores, too much stock and not enough footfall.

“Creating immersive experience blending fashion, consumer brands and pop arts within the design of hospitality environments is something that has been my credo for over 20 years.”

Blue Sky’s previous projects include an Indian restaurant in London themed around the botanists of the Victorian era and their explorations in the jungles of India; an Azerbaijani steakhouse inspired by the myths and legends of fire; and a mind-bending blend of bar, bistro, brewery and pickling lab in Baku that can "both create and cure hangovers".

Chebaane has also joined forces with pop artist Sean Danconia to create a hospitality brand called SupaPop Space, providing a platform for the duo to create, produce, develop and license characters and art into experiential concepts, hospitality spaces and retail products.



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