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A Feast for the Eyes: Unveiling The Goring’s New Dining Room

The Goring, for those who aren’t familiar, is London’s last remaining family-owned five-star hotel. Over the last 15 years, we’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate on many of the hotel’s most important spaces, working with illustrious designer and dear friend Russell Sage.

Recently, Fromental co-founder Lizzie sat down with The Goring’s managing director David Morgan-Hewitt, to explore our latest project: the hotel’s dining room.

The pair discuss Fromental’s unique relationship with The Goring, how Lizzie herself visited the hotel to hand-paint the final touches to the new wallpaper, and how the new design’s witty details combine to bring a whimsical, theatrical atmosphere to the new space.

Steeped in history, The Goring is renowned for its strong ties to the British Royal Family. It has hosted dignitaries for the coronations of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, and more recently, the Middleton family before the wedding of Prince William and Catherine. Built by current owner Jeremy’s great-grandfather, it stands as a true one-off: a grand hotel with more than a dash of wit and wonder.

It’s this unique combination of grandeur and, let’s not be bashful here, fun that makes The Goring such a special proposition – for its clientele, of course, but also for those of us lucky enough to collaborate on the creation of its interiors.

Our design for the newly reimagined dining room, a fresh take on a traditional chinoiserie wallpaper, began as a homage to the sumptuous, nature-inspired interiors at Winfield House, the American Ambassador to the United Kingdom’s official London residence.

But as with any project where we refer to a particular historical wallcovering, the scheme evolved to capture the spirit of the original – the grandeur, the stateliness – rather than being a carbon copy. Indeed, the design soon took on a life all of its own, drawing on themes that we used to great effect in other areas of the hotel.

“It would have been silly not to incorporate the animals that already grace the lobby and corridors,” says Lizzie, referring to our previous work. “So we decided to bring them running, scurrying, into the dining room.”

The most charming of which are undoubtedly the monkeys, who bring a playful whimsy to balance the room’s grandeur, and can be seen stealing champagne, bursting out of cakes, even charming a snake – itself a symbol of rebirth, and a playful nod to the dining room’s transformation.

We’ve been lucky enough to collaborate on many of the hotel’s most important spaces, where the brief has always been to blend quintessential English charm with playful, narrative-driven elements.

In 2015, again working closely with Russell, we created a bespoke, hand-painted wallcovering for the hotel’s lobby, taking our Bucolic design as a jumping-off point. Bucolic, one of our best-loved silk wallcoverings, is a panoramic depiction of an English landscape rendered in the style of a 19th-century block print. It is both grand and understated, subtle yet immersive, and, like most of our designs, screams out for customisation.

And customise it we certainly did, with an unprecedentedly eccentric array of animals that continue to delight The Goring’s guests: pigs aboard ships in bottles depicting Nelson and Napoleon, monkeys on the rampage, a Gorilla in a barrister’s wig.

The lobby renovations required the hotel to close its doors for the first time in its 105-year history. Managing director, David-Morgan-Hewitt, who was known as the late Queen’s favourite hotelier, quips: “We’d stayed open during two world wars, but it was Fromental wallpaper that eventually closed us down!”

Thankfully, Russell’s reimagining of The Goring’s dining room would require no such inconvenience. “There are details you can spot that I remember painting just a few weeks ago,” says Lizzie, who added the final touches to the design just before the room was reopened. “I overpainted the butterflies and added what we call ‘moss dots’ to the trees. They’re the little spots you see in all chinoiseries of a certain era.”

"Our vision for The Goring was to craft an environment that was at once historically resonant and vibrantly alive. By embedding narratives that span whimsical to royal, we sought to create a space that is both a nod to the past and a celebration of the present. The interplay of classic elegance with spirited narratives invites guests to discover a layered, immersive experience that is uniquely The Goring," Tim Butcher, co-founder of Fromental.

Indeed, all the wallpaper’s details were painted by hand, directly onto silk, which we prepared with several layers of coloured wash in subtly different tones of green to create a textured, antiqued effect.

Nothing on this wallcovering is printed, and there is no repeat pattern. The design was created specifically for the space, with precise measurements taken to allow the scheme to work around architectural features, such as doors and windows.

The redesign of The Goring Hotel by Russell Sage offers a brilliant example of how interior design can go beyond mere decoration to tell stories and evoke emotions. The result is a space that honours its storied past while inviting guests to partake in its playful, imaginative present, making every visit a discovery of hidden motifs and enchanting tales.

The result is a space that honours its past while inviting guests to partake in its playful, imaginative present, making every visit a discovery of hidden motifs and enchanting details.

"It's always a joy to work with our friends at The Goring and to collaborate with the geniuses at Fromental,” says Russell. “For such an illustrious institution, the team at The Goring are unafraid to embrace their quirky signature sense of Englishness and to allow us to play. It’s this sense of irreverence and beautifully executed wit that we keep at the heart of all our work with the hotel… and what a fabulous space to bring it to life."

In this article:

Bucolic in Saxe

Bucolic in Saxe

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