When it came time to remodel the interior atrium of the prestigious London, England-based Claridge’s Hotel, the design team sought something visually stimulating and unique. After some consideration, it was decided to use three-dimensional, pyramid-shaped mother-of-pearl white tiles with a glossy finish from Italian tile manufacturer Ceramica Senio. The tiles were in a 2 1/– x 10-inch format.  

“[We wanted to reclad the Victorian 1920’s facade to provide a seamless link with the new four-story extension,” said Derek Whetton of DW Consultancy Limited, who worked in collaboration with Arups and Blair Associates. “The tile was chosen to reflect the natural light and to add a shimmering effect with the refraction through the water on the glazed roof.” 

Prior to installation, there were several necessary points to consider. There was a very tight tolerance on the tile (1mm) that allowed for a lightweight facade to be designed without any visual expansion joints -- allowing the system to move due to heat without the risk of delamination. “The tile and system have very tight tolerances and the 100-year-old building had moved during its life,” said Whetton. “We had to adapt the system to make it work while maintaining a perfect wall. Installing the system in a working hotel while residents and guests were literally on the other side of the wall also had its challenges.” 

The renovation was completed in less than a year. “It was installed on the four-story extension initially that took four months and then onto the original building after the tower crane was removed -- allowing access to this area,” said Whetton. “That took a further six months. 

“The reaction from all the design team, the client and the construction press has been unprecedented,” he went on to say. “To achieve the truly stunning finish in such difficult working conditions is a real legacy. The lesson here is to engage as early as possible, as this was the only way we would have achieved the result. It is truly spectacular. The tile choice was critical.”