Design Focus: The Torrance Hotel


Coatbridge-based Manorview Hotels has given the Torrance Hotel in East Kilbride a real shot in arm with an extensive refurbishment of its restaurant and bar areas. The 160-capacity function suite is currently being given the once over, ahead of receiving the same treatment, along with all the bedrooms, over the course of the next six months. It was clear from the get-go that this was a detail-oriented design, as what has been finished to date – the new glass frontage, restaurant and bar – have a busy look and feel.
Newcastle-based Space I.D design consultants were the people behind the concept, and architect/designer from the company, Michael Simmons summed up the project. He said, “Manorview was looking to contemporise the building which had become a bit downtrodden, so we began by accentuating this old mill’s fantastic attributes, like stripping back the original stonework. Combine this with the glass frontage, half the length of the front elevation, and you have a building that people will notice.”
You enter via a small and sleek reception area, painted in dark colours with exposed slate, stone, dark plumbs, greys and blacks dominating the colour scheme. There’s also a nifty and bang up-to-date wall-mounted gas fire with a brushed chrome surround framing a horizontal flame behind smoked glass. Directly in front of this are parked a sofa and two arm chairs and an old fashioned radiator. Behind the reception desk is a large circular wall clock, and old and new are fused together quite effectively.
The most significant difference to the building has been the addition of the glass frontage, complete with its own highly unusual bar. Once through the reception you take a sharp left and what hits you are lots of twinkling lights – I visited it after dark – and gleaming glass. But the standout feature is without a doubt the glass bar base containing a block of privet hedge. I’ve never seen anything like this before and it’s in keeping with the indoor/outdoor feel of the glass frontage. The flooring is a mixture of stone flagging and floorboards and the dark wooden tables and chairs that can be cleared away to transform the area into a dance floor. And there’s a huge glitter ball suspended from the white ceiling to this end, as well as some chandelier lighting made from what look like glass beer tankards minus the base.
The conservatory is an annex of the 100-cover restaurant area which sits between the reception and bar areas. The dark wood theme is continued here with booth seating running along either side of the space, and two horseshoe-shaped black leather banquettes at the far end, plus tables and velvety upholstered chairs in mushroom tones in the middle. The banquettes are interesting in the sense that the partitions have been made from squares of dark slatted wood, and some of them are lit by their own dome-shaped pendant lights. The seating is made from jet black leather. Spot lighting has also been used sparingly in the white ceiling, although the carpet is a bit of a gamble in that it’s a bit more on the old fashioned side, with tartans and thistle. It does bring a bit of light to a shady space, and they heavy, masculine design contrasts well with the brighter glass frontage.
At the opposite end to this is a door leading out on to a decked outdoor area with one huge wooden bench seat sheltered by an equally as big umbrella. There are smaller round tables all around the extremities, but the corner closest to the building is occupied by a pretty circular table, complete with trees and green lights, with a view into the bar through a glass-shelved window festooned with knick-knacks. The stone work of the building is also floodlit which looks great at night.
Back inside, you move through from the restaurant into the larger bar via a retro corner, complete with stone fire place, contemporary coal effect fire, tartan carpet black and white pictures and a large plasma screen above the fire. It’s cosy and cluttered, and is directly on the other side of the glass shelved window displaying everything from a bust of an old gentleman, to an antique telephone and lamps. Sitting on the couches or armchairs in this corner affords you a view of the main bar, which includes an area for dancing and a DJ booth.
The first thing that differentiates the bar from what’s gone before is that it’s much brighter. The large dark marbled top bar has three sides to it. The first side looks on to two intimate booths, in the darkest corner, and then the bar then curves around to face the second area with lots of exposed brick and stone details on the walls and pillars and along the back bar, with the front of the bar clad with wood and illuminated. In area number two is more exposed brick and Plasma screens, plus lots of sporting memorabilia, including pictures from the heydays of Jackie Stewart, Denis Law and Archie Gemmell. What’s most interesting, however, are the copper plates on the ceiling with an intricate design on each. The furniture here is certainly busy with lots of patterns from ferns on the velvety upholstered seating to dark leaves on the bar stools. There’s also a wee alcove where two slot machines live.
The final curvature of the bar serves the main area at the end, boasting a multi-faceted design with dark wooden panelling to halfway up the wall, a black leather Chesterfield leather DJ booth, and square glass indents in the ceiling, lit from behind, on which have been painted the faces of a host of pop and rock stars, from Boy George to SuBo. These are an interesting feature and I’m sure that they must be a talking point. The polished oak wooden floor looks great and is perfect for dancing and the hotchpotch look is evident here too as far as the seating goes, with velour cube seats cheek-by-jowl to brown leather low slung seats, for example. This area also has door leading out onto a smaller outdoor area.
There was a lot to take in with this design and once the rooms have been given the same treatment, it should send the the Torrance Hotel’s star soaring in 2012.

Category: Features
Tags: DESIGN, east kilbride, torrance hotel