A new glass pavilion installed on the roof houses an exceptional Steinway piano.

Claridge’s London Debuts Fantasy Rooftop Suite

Parisian designer Rémi Tessier filled the sumptuous space with more than 80 works by famed artist Damien Hirst

Among all the haute London hotels, Claridge’s is one of the most happily haute of them all. There’s the joyous yellow, white, and black Art Deco interior and the immaculate Mayfair location. But now, occupying the entirety of its capacious roof, is the Penthouse, an out-and-out fantasy suite offering more than 16,000 square feet of internal space, plus a reflecting pool, pavilions, a vertical garden, and over 80 works of art by Damien Hirst.

Originally conceived more than ten years ago and finally hosting its first guests this autumn (among them, Leonardo DiCaprio), the new glass structure rises from the hotel’s roof to deliver staggering 360-degree views of London. Parisian designer Rémi Tessier is responsible for every inch of the space, apart from the shell and core, and even there he asked for a number of changes. “I said, I need nine skylights,” says Tessier, whose discreetly deluxe style can be found in mega-yachts and privately owned Dreamliner airplanes as well as houses. (He’s just putting the finishing touches on one in St. Barts.) “Then I said the window in the main salon has to be a single piece of glass.”

The bedrooms boast curved windows overlooking London. Photo: DAN GLASSE

Even though the pane is more than 100 feet wide, Tessier got his way. The view it provides crosses an expansive reflecting pool that sits like a watery ceiling over the hotel’s original light well, beyond which is a perfect glass pavilion housing an extremely desirable Steinway.

Tessier, who started as a cabinetmaker, believes deeply in detail. “But a good trick must be invisible, or it’s no longer a trick,” he says, pointing to the copious wood paneling—in ziricote and cedar—which has been finished in soap and oil. “There’s no varnish anywhere. It should feel as good with your eyes closed.” Tessier designed the fabric of the curtains with a graduated pile that looks like water running down a window, and eye-catching fixtures in the bath are internally illuminated Baccarat crystal.

The Claridge’s Penthouse Suite features interiors by Parisian designer Rémi Tessier and artwork by Damien Hirst. Photo: DAN GLASSE

His inspiration comes from the doyens of French design, including Jean Royère and Jean Prouvé. The first’s influence is seen in the abundant straw marquetry, created in Brittany and Paris, and the latter in the doors that lead to the outside— textured metal perforated with blue-glass portholes with a titanium finish.

And then there’s the art. “Damien is a very close friend. We’ve collaborated on many things, including his studio and penthouse in Soho,” explains Tessier. “He handed over his inventory and said, ‘Choose what you want.’ ” Among the selections are vivid “Cherry Blossom” paintings, scintillating “Butterfly” works, and some more surprising choices, such as a small, flayed St. Bartholomew in bronze and an exaggerated figure bestride a bed of shells, from the “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable” series that François Pinault showed during the Venice Biennale in 2017.

Tessier designed the bath’s Baccarat crystal fixtures. Photo: DAN GLASSE

“Of course I love to integrate the art,” says Tessier. “But the real attention is on the overall quality of execution. I would like this penthouse to be seen in 50 years’ time and not look tired.” One suspects that, with a little patina and use, it will look even more beautiful.

A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2024 Spring Issue under the headline “Suite Dreams.” Subscribe to the magazine.

Cover: A new glass pavilion installed on the roof houses an exceptional Steinway piano.


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