Dezeen Magazine

EPR Architects transforms historic prison into NoMad London luxury hotel

Architect Mark Bruce of EPR Architects describes how the studio created a luxury hotel in the shell of an 18th-century London prison in this video produced by Dezeen for the AHEAD hospitality awards.

NoMad London is located in the former Grade-II listed Bow Street Magistrates Court and Police Station in Covent Garden, London. It is the first overseas outpost of American hotel brand NoMad.

NoMad Suite
NoMad is a luxury hotel in central London

The project was named the winner in the Hotel Conversion category at the AHEAD Europe awards 2021.

The AHEAD Awards celebrate striking hospitality projects from across the world and is split into four different regions: Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia and the Americas.

"Interpretation of luxury is a really interesting topic, especially when you come to a project like NoMad London," Bruce told Dezeen. "How do you turn a magistrate's court and a police station that had prison cells into a luxury environment?"

The prison's historic inhabitants included the Kray Twins, Oscar Wilde and Emmeline Pankhurst.

Vintage interiors take inspiration from the building's historical past

"From an architectural point of view, we worked very hard in terms of how the building was laid out," said Bruce.

"Where the hotel's main door is now used to be an entrance into a courtyard, where all the defendants would have been brought in."

"Now you walk into a stunning lobby, and the first thing you see is this three-storey atrium."

The atrium acts as the central space of the hotel 

The central chamber was transformed into a glass-domed dining hall. Each storey is landscaped with overhanging plants and painted with a soft sea-foam green.

"You get a real feeling of energy from the buzz, and the chatter and the clatter. It just creates the beating heart of the hotel," said Bruce.

Interior design studio Roman and Williams furnished the space, creating eclectic and vintage-inspired interiors.

"[Roman and Williams] brought in this stunning layering of rich materials, from new beautiful timber wall panelling to some exquisite wallpapering in really theatrical colours," said Bruce.

Bold interiors breathe new life into the Grade-II listed structure

The historic magistrates' court was renovated into a formal ballroom, featuring wall murals painted by French artist Claire Basler. Rustic tableware and classical art pieces create a secluded atmosphere.

Other spaces, like The Fireplace Room, feature hand-painted custom wallpaper set against velvet upholstery in jewel tones.

Roman and Williams made use of rich jewel-toned wallpaper in many of the rooms

"It's been curated in a way that you rarely see in a hotel - it's been curated in a way that feels like you're walking into your fantasy house," said Bruce.

Images courtesy of AHEAD.

This video was produced by Dezeen for AHEAD as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.