A tall blue tower has risen on a corner of Leicester Square — a new cinema and hotel due to open shortly.
This is The Londoner, a hotel, and the Odeon, a cinema, that’s replacing a previous Odeon cinema on the same location.
Following a visit to the hotel a touch over a year ago, when the hotel was very much a building site, and was due to open last month, but circumstances have pushed the opening back somewhat.
The revisit is to take a look at something which will define the building, and that is the external decoration. While most of the building is a high-quality effect stone cladding, what is striking is the use of blue tiling around the window bays to add character to the otherwise bland cream walls.
But most noticeable is the tall blue tower at the cinema end of the building.
Early computer renders suggested a more subtle effect, more bronze than blue, and as noted a year ago, there’s often a disparity between computer renders and the final product, so judgement is to be reserved until it’s completed.
The end result though, while very likely to polarise opinion along the love/hate lines is quite impressive for the effect it has created.
The blue faience tiles did seem to be likely to be a flat effect and could have looked rather bland, but the twisting facade effect that’s been created gives the building a lot more character than it otherwise could have had.
The long lines of twisting tiles also look, superficially, like snakes skin – an observation that may horrify, or delight, the artist behind the design, Ian Monroe. The twisting angles are also likely to catch the sun in different aspects giving the surface motion that would have been missing.
The overall effect is one that contrasts with the buildings directly beside it, but also mirrors the existing tall black tower of the other Odeon cinema in the Square.
The final finishing details are still being added, and the hotel announced that it’s pushing the opening date back to “late 2020”.