Jacu Strauss of One Hundred Shoreditch
Spotlight On

Jacu
Strauss

Words by HARRIET RUSSELL

Jacu Strauss – creative director at LORE group and founder of
LORE studio, on the process of creating One Hundred Shoreditch.

Located on Shoreditch High Street, One Hundred Shoreditch has 258 bedrooms, six restaurants and bars – plus, five meeting and event spaces. But this is far from your corporate, soulless London hotel. Here, Harriet Russell talks to Jacu Strauss – creative director at LORE group and founder of LORE studio – to find out what went into making it such a special place.

HR: How did you get involved in One Hundred Shoreditch?

JS: At LORE, we’re in a very unique position, because we’re both the client and the designer. We owned One Hundred Shoreditch when it was the Ace Hotel, but Ace ran it as they saw fit and did a great job, I might add. Then, when the pandemic hit, we realised we had an opportunity to rebrand and redesign the hotel to reflect the changes that had happened in and around Shoreditch – particularly over the last ten years. I don’t recommend doing construction in a pandemic, but the main aim was to create a hotel that felt a little bit more residential than most – and totally comfortable for guests.

HR: What were some of your sources of inspiration for the design?

JS: We start almost every project we undertake from scratch, but this hotel was a little different because a lot of the bones were already in place. That was lucky in some respects because normally we have about three years to complete a project, but for this we had less than two. And we knew we wanted the property to feel fresh and new. It meant finding inspiration was a much more organic process because we had to question ourselves quite a bit. We constantly referred back to this idea of reflecting Shoreditch as an evolving and more grown-up neighbourhood and then in terms of materiality, it was about incorporating as many natural elements as possible.

HR: Tell us a bit more about the colour palette and any other references or pieces you used…

JS: The colours were very much an extension of the natural materials used throughout the design – so lots of wood and other earthy tones. We also knew we wanted to use sculptures by Jan Hendzel, many of which are made from local, reclaimed wood and other recycled materials, so that gave us a natural starting point in terms of the palette and other references. Then, it was really a question of injecting as much light into the space as possible, to make it feel more residential. It’s tricky, because in busy hotels those sorts of fabrics and materials aren’t always as durable, but we tried to find clever solutions. For example, a lot of the white linen covers on the sofas in the lobby come off, so they can be washed and cleaned and put back on to keep them looking fresh. You’ll also find lots of cork in lobby, which we found really helped with the acoustics, as well as pops of colour here and there to help distinguish each space from the next.

A light filled corner of calm in the bustling capital.

Jacu Strauss, One Hundred Shoreditch

Bright and airy rooms combined with soft natural materials create a modern oasis of calm. Table lamp by Tom Dixon, Chair by Verner Panton for Vitra.

HR: What were some of the main challenges you faced in completing the project?

JS: As a studio, we’re very hands on and make a lot of things bespoke. And because we were working on this mainly during Covid, a lot of my team found themselves having to practically live at the hotel. We had to be on site to monitor progress and offer help where needed. It wasn’t the sort of project that could be done from a distance. Plus, all buildings come with problems – and this one really needed a human touch to make it feel not so austere. We even went as far as changing the façade of the building – but luckily, the council were very happy for us to do that.

HR: How else did you sympathetically move away from the aesthetic of Ace to create One Hundred Shoreditch?

JS: We had to be very sympathetic, for sure. Ace had a huge legacy in the area and had been integral to helping Shoreditch establish itself as this up-and-coming, exciting neighbourhood in London. So, we still wanted to tap into that history – locals being able to use the lobby as a flexible working space, for example – but we also had to elevate the whole experience. It was a fine line but the main elements we eliminated were the industrial ones and finding ways to soften some of those harsh edges. But we did this in a conscious way. For instance, some people might know there’s a big table in the lobby. We actually inherited that table but sent it away to be refinished and re-edged so the shape came back a little softer and fresher. It was all about transforming what was already there instead of erasing it and starting all over again.

Jacu Strauss, One Hundred Shoreditch

Bright, spacious rooms featuring pieces by some of the world's most iconic designers. Table lamp and round table, by Tom Dixon. George Nelson Ceiling Lamp by HAY.

HR: Are there any other pieces or areas of the hotel you particularly like?

JS: I have a real soft spot for the cocktail bar downstairs in the basement. It doesn’t matter that there aren’t windows or natural light – it’s more about guests having this back-of-house journey into this lounge space that feels cosy and comfortable. It was a nightclub before, but you wouldn’t know it now. Also, I painted a lot of the artwork in the hotel myself, so that’s something I’m secretly very proud of. Finally, the lifts. Now that might sound odd but designing lifts can be quite limited – a select group of companies have a monopoly in this market – but at least half the photos I see on Instagram are taken in these red lifts. Plus, I put some of my own artwork on the walls in there.

HR: Can you run us through some of the other suppliers you used?

JS: I have to say I design, and our studio makes, most of the things used in the hotel. But Jan Hendzel was indispensable, and we also worked with a company called Benchmark that helped us rework a lot of the wooden pieces of furniture. In the lobby bar, we worked with Mio Gallery, which creates these amazing floral installations made purely out of paper. Those three were the standout collaborations. We also tapped into some local retailers, including Pure White Lines.

Jacu Strauss, One Hundred Shoreditch

The Lobby at One Hundred Shoreditch, featuring some of Jan Hendzel's architectural sculptures and benches, made from reclaimed and green timber.

HR: Is your own retail range in the works then?

JS: It’s something we’re getting asked about more and more, so it’s on our radar. I’d love to have a range we can sell, so we’re looking into it. But for now, my efforts are solely focused on LORE and what we do as a hotel group, operating and designing multiple sites. Actually, it kills me – because there are so many projects out there that I’d love to work on.

HR: Finally, can you share some of your best design tips with us?

JS: The mistake I often see people make is not injecting enough personality into their own homes – especially if they see a hotel or space they like and they’re trying to recreate the same feeling somewhere else. It still has to feel like you to feel truly comfortable and welcoming – which is what our hotels are intended to do. The most successful schemes are the ones you don’t question, so explore, mix new and old, rough and smooth and find the combinations that are a little bit unexpected. Eclecticism is nothing to fear – that’s how spaces feel personal and unique. Then, on a practical level, don’t neglect good lighting and leave enough room in the budget to get it right. It really has the power to make or break a space. Finally, styling is really where the magic happens. In all our hotels, the finishing touches are what count the most and sometimes the most complicated and exhausting. But it’s essential to get them right, otherwise you won’t be happy.

For more information visit LOREGroup.com & OneHundredShoreditch.com

Jacu Strauss, One Hundred Shoreditch

Spaces with personality.
Where iconic design meets art.

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