Tuesday, May 10, 2011

St Pancras Hotel

Above:  I had the green cocktail which was called Apothecary - it was so alcoholic that just the first glass nearly knocked me out (this was on an empty stomach).

Yesterday I went into the bar of the refurbished St Pancras Hotel (early evening).  The service was very good, attentive without being pushy.  The interior of the bar was spectacular - gilded Lombardic gothic.

Above:  afterwards we had a quick look around the ground floor of the hotel, including the famous staircase.  Gilbert Scott's building is slightly intimidating, but in a nice way.  Grand rather than comfortable, but the grandeur is stirring, so that after leaving the building you experience a strange ossillating state of motivation and relaxation (as if you have just attended a seminar by a self-help guru who has told you simultaneously to chill out and be all you wanna be).

Above:  St Pancras station (and the hotel) was saved from destruction by Sir John Betjeman (among others).  This book by Betjeman was published in 1972 and the front cover is a clever design using two colours.  Note the typeface, which I can't identify.  The designer was Craig Dodd.  Somehow you get the feeling that designers had to work a lot harder in the pre-digital era.  They had to do more with less.

The effect of the architecture stayed with me a long time afterwards.  It is unusual for a building to have this effect on me (that I am conscious of).  It made me wonder what effect the building has on others.

Aldous Huxley wrote:  Pointed arches seemed better than round ones, because they were the emblems of a certain way of life.  Ruskin persuasively rationalised this ethico-religious preference in terms of aesthetics; and on these aesthetic grounds ogival architecture was preferred to the Rennaissance and Baroque by whole classes of people, who would thoroughly have disapproved of the original reasons for the Gothic revival.

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