Project name: Fairmont Rey Juan Carlos I Hotel
Category: Lobby/Public Areas
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Date completed: May 2016
Interior designer: Brime Robbins (Formerly GSR Interior Design)
Architect: BETARQ
Hotel Group: Accor (Formerly FRHI)

Brime Robbins (formerly GSR Interior Design) were challenged with the complete gut renovation of the prestigious Juan Carlos I Hotel, transforming this iconic property into a modern and elegant destination spot. The brief was to take the 14 storey high lobby space, that housed a dysfunctional reception, relics of an unusable bar and precarious lounge platforms in the dead centre of the lobby. By creating a crystalline bar in the vacant retail side of the lobby, the designers were able to open the lobby floor, level it, and install various conversation nooks and places to meet.

Intimacy in a lobby with virtually no ceiling was achieved by reinterpreting Spanish ‘pergolas’, which dropped diamond-like lighting from their champagne-mirrored beams over dining and lounge areas. Elongated, high marble communal tables anchor the different seating arrangements in front of the bar and help create connection points for guests who want to experience the bar without sitting at it. New concierge and reception islands clearly designate where hotel guests can find the information they need, while re-designed store fronts foster the urge to spend a little while they wait.

The custom furniture mimics some classic pieces in order to give this lobby the feeling that has always been there since the glory days of the hotel. Working with local fabricators to create tailor-made items, which together give you a real sense of place and comfort. The design works because now there are cosy and inviting reasons to visit the lobby and discover numerous experiences. The flow and operation of the space provides guests with a place to eat, drink and shop, all within a chic environment that feels a classic modern at the same time. The project was a true labour of love for Brime Robbins.