Sanderson owners plan refurbishment of fabulous showrooms

Front of hotel with London black taxi in front.

Sanderson is a Grade II* listed building, built in 1957-60 by Reginald Uren of Slater, Moberly and Uren.

By News Reporters One of Fizrovia's most well-known and visually interesting buildings is to undergo a refurbishment. The owners of the Sanderson hotel on Berners Street have applied to Westminster Council to make alterations to the Grade II* listed building, and former furnishing fabric showrooms. 

“The vision is to peel back the modern additions to reveal original features and to revisit Sanderson’s textile heritage through interior design,” says Kevin Rockey, general manager of Sanderson.

The planning applications and listed building consent which were submitted this October are also asking for permission to construct a glazed enclosure of existing terraces along Berners Street and the placing of a glass and steel canopy in the ground floor courtyard; and the infilling of an existing plant room at 9th floor level to create a glazed pavilion.

The application is made by Cedar Capital and Morgans Hotel Group and has been prepared by architects Aukett Fitzroy Robinson.

The site occupies 49-57 Berners Street and housed the showrooms of furnishing fabric company Arthur Sanderson from 1865 until 1992. The firm outgrew their Victorian buildings which were demolished in the late 1950s to make way for Reginald Uren’s modernist design. The Architectural Review of July 1960 described the showrooms as “the worlds most fabulous”. This may surprise the ordinary passer-by as they glance at the modest facade. But the front of the building belies its far more interesting interior designed around an internal courtyard.

In the 1990s as the Sanderson company was in the process of moving out to a new showroom in Knightsbridge there was an attempt to cluster a number of Fitzrovia’s small furnishing industries in and around Berners Street and Cleveland Street into the vacant showroom. This attempt failed and several of these small industries went on to establish themselves as a cluster in Chelsea Harbour.

After Sanderson departed in 1992 the building remained empty until it was bought and opened by the Morgan Hotel Group in 2000 which was then owned by American entrepreneur and “urban resort” creator Ian Schrager. The Sanderson Hotel is the result of a collaboration between Ian Schrager and French designer Philippe Starck. Schrager sold the Morgan Hotel Group  in 2005, but came back to Fitzrovia to work with Marriot International on their refurbishment of the nearby Berners Hotel.

The Sanderson building was listed in 1991 after being recommended by, among others, the Charlotte Street Association.

According to English Heritage: The Sanderson Hotel, built as Sanderson House in 1957-60 by Reginald Uren of Slater, Moberly and Uren, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: an outstanding work by an important mid-C20 architect, applying the International Modernist idiom to a large-scale commercial building with exceptional rigour and finesse;

* Artistic interest: one of the best British applications of the US concept of the ‘art building’, with artworks by Jupp Dernback-Mayen and John Piper skilfully incorporated into the overall architectural programme;

* Historic interest: built as the headquarters Arthur Sanderson and Sons, one of the UK’s leading firms of decorative designers and manufacturers during the mid-C20.

Exhibition of Sanderson planning applications for local residents and businesses: 6pm to 8pm 12 December 2013 at Sanderson, 50 Berners Street W1T 3NG.

Planning applications: 

13/10913/FULL | Infilling of existing plant rooms at ninth floor level to create a glazed pavilion and associated alterations. | Sanderson House 50 Berners Street London W1T 3NF

13/10915/LBC | Infilling of existing plant rooms at ninth floor level to create a glazed pavilion and associated alterations. | Sanderson House 50 Berners Street London W1T 3NF

13/11187/FULL | Erection of glazed enclosure at sixth floor level along Berners Street facade, erection of steel and glass canopy in ground floor courtyard and associated internal and external alterations. | Sanderson House 50 Berners Street London W1T 3NF

13/11188/LBC | Erection of glazed enclosure at sixth floor level along Berners Street facade, erection of steel and glass canopy in ground floor courtyard and associated internal and external alterations. | Sanderson House 50 Berners Street London W1T 3NF

13/11144/LBC | Internal alterations at first and second floor levels including installation of sliding/folding screens. Restoration of rooflights at third floor flat roof level. | Sanderson House 50 Berners Street London W1T 3NF

English Heritage listing details. Sanderson history.

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