The Goring is London’s last family-owned luxury hotel, a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace and reputed to be a firm Royal favourite. As part of the transformation of the Bar and Lounge, we were commissioned to create a wall of high-relief, sculptural plasterwork featuring mythical sea creatures and marine life.
The redecoration of The Goring’s Bar and Lounge was part of a wider project to create a new seafood restaurant, Siren, overlooking the hotel’s majestic secluded garden. The architecture and interior design were led by Russell Sage, who has created a bright, eccentric and uplifting space. Our brief was to pick up the restaurant’s seaside theme and form a narrative link between the Lounge and the new restaurant.
Geoffrey’s inspiration for the design included the drawings and paintings of Rex Whistler and a rich seam of marine botanical illustration – notably the work of the 19th century zoologist and artist Ernst Haeckel and his book Art Forms in Nature. The seaweeds in the left-hand and right-hand panels are commonly found on British shores and include Sea Belt, Bladderwrack, Purple Laver, Furbelows and Peacock’s Tail. Their design and arrangement are strongly rococo in spirit – the serpentine shapes and long flowing curves echo the scrolling acanthus leaf forms typically found in rococo plasterwork. Jeremy Goring was closely involved in the evolution of the design, in particular the selection of Medusae in the left-hand and right-hand panels. The main arch is sleepily presided over by Poseidon with his anchor and his oar.
The Sea Garden wall was modelled in clay in Geoffrey’s workshop by four sculptors before being moulded, cast and installed. It took four months to create.
Thank you to our clients, Jeremy Goring and David Morgan-Hewitt at The Goring, for such a fabulous commission! Thanks also to the wonderful team at Russell Sage, main contractor 3 Interiors, our modellers Kate Montagne and Louisa Shorney, to master caster John Fowler, and to Andy Clapham and Mick Jones for stress-free installation.