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Elevating the Circle to Olympic Heights

This Sunday sees the closure of a rather belated Summer Olympic Games, held in Tokyo. As ever the amazing display of athleticism has had the world enthralled and we love seeing so many nations coming together to compete.

Musing over the iconic design of the Olympic flag had us thinking about how we incorporate circles, spheres and ring motifs into our own designs.

Circles are endless. Their completeness suggests infinity, unity and harmony. In design there are a number of ways to harness the power of the humble circle and give a room the balance it needs.

Circles and rings in lighting create an inviting canopy beneath which people can meet and connect. The Prince private event room at Crosby Street Hotel showcases this beautifully.

Here we’ve used a fabulously large circular pendant in the centre of the room to create a natural focal point. By using mirrors on the walls opposite, the round design of the light is repeated and the room feels as if it’s doubled in size and luminance.

In the Reading Room at The Whitby Hotel, we’ve taken the concept of circular lighting and reworked it to create a playful and elegant installation.

Many delicate, tulip shaped glass pendants have been hung in a ring surrounding the central table from above, almost draping the seating area. This gives the space a wonderful versatility – it can be transformed into a sumptuous private dining space or a fabulous setting for an intimate cocktail party. There’s something quite immersive about sitting beneath these lights, it almost feels as if they’ve come down to greet you.

Over in London, the Sandra Blow room at The Soho Hotel celebrates the humble circle throughout its design. Lining the room is my ‘Egg and Dart’ rug, which appears monotone but upon closer inspection you will find smaller circles in primary colours. Sitting in the centre of the room are two white round side tables and flanking the sofas are two spherical, mirror ball lights. These lightweight yet robust lights project downward ambient light and reflect their surroundings. The soft curves of the circular furnishings are a beautiful contrast with the ‘Himalaya’ walling, with its depiction of obelisk-like mountains.

Looking through the Sandra Blow Room into the Indigo Room, we’ve used a seemingly unassuming, oversized light in the shape of a ring.

It holds its own amongst the many layers of the room, working to harmonise the space. We love the way the opening between the two rooms frames the pendant, inviting you to explore a little further. Sometimes simple can be the most striking.

Lighting is not the only way to introduce something round to a room. In the Drawing Room at The Soho Hotel, the simple silhouette of the globe shaped sculpture adds a powerful layer, whilst drawing subtle parallels with the china behind.

In the Spring private event room at Crosby Street Hotel, we’ve played with scale by exaggerating the rays of this round, burnished gold, sunburst mirror.

The differing lengths of the rays give the piece a more organic feel, which looks magical against our Andrew Martin ‘Pear Tree’ wallpaper.

We are not ones to constrain ourselves to the interiors of our hotels. The innate liveliness carried within a circle makes it a wonderful shape to integrate with natural surrounds.

In the sanctuary of the Sculpture Garden at Crosby Street Hotel, we’ve placed an impressive sculptural piece of petrified wood on a round metal plinth. The juxtaposition of the smooth, cool, inorganic metal against the warm tactile wood is wonderful to take in, aided in no small part by the use of the circular plinth to keep things continuous and balanced.

One of my favourite sculptors, Tom Stogden, created this impressive piece entitled ‘Stone Circle, 2010’. It is truly captivating and I often find myself lingering over it and the view of the river beyond that is perfectly framed. Tom’s pieces have a contemporary feel to them and I especially love his 3D stone and slate circular sculptures which have a wonderful sense of calm about them.

Finally, the courtyard at the entrance to Ham Yard Hotel contains another tribute to rings in design with the circular bench built around the base of one of the beautiful Oak trees we planted.

It’s a wonderful place to gather with friends or to reflect at the end of the day. Our little piece of serenity in amongst the hustle of the big city.

The circle is the oldest symbol known to man and with its universal representation of balance, completeness and harmony it’s no wonder the symbolism of the Olympic flag resonates so widely around the world. The next time you’re looking for some balance in your interiors – think round!

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