Four Seasons St Petersburg

ReardonSmith has been appointed by CJSC Tristar Investment Holdings to supervise the implementation of the interior design for the new Four Seasons Hotel in St Petersburg in an extremely fast-track programme that will see the hotel open in early 2012.

The hotel is being created within the historic "Lions Palace" which was designed in 1817 by the neo-classical French architect Auguste Ricard de Montferrand, best known for the nearby St. Isaac’s Cathedral. The palace, situated on the city’s beautiful St Isaac’s Square, was briefly a royal residence before becoming the home of the Ministry of War until 1917. During the following years, it accommodated community apartments, a telephone station, a school and a design institute, each new incarnation resulting in reconstructions that lost or damaged the glorious original interiors. In 2002, when the building was managed by the Administrative Department of the President of the Russian Federation, the decision was taken to restore the property and prepare it as a premier hotel.

By this time, the building was dilapidated with both its exterior and interior requiring significant and very careful work. The exterior of the building has now been completely restored, returning its elegant neo-classical architectural detailing and recalling the time when the Russian aristocracy lived on a grand scale – a narrative which Four Seasons will contemporise in the form of a luxury hotel. Two of the three existing open-air courtyards are being enclosed to create expansive ground floor public areas, and there will be a large ballroom and a magnificent spa over four levels. While the glass and steel structures will clearly be modern in design, the geometry will reflect the "winter garden" enclosures popular at the time the palace was built. In addition, state-of-the-art meeting and conference spaces, Italian and Oriental fusion fine-dining restaurants and 183 guestrooms, including 29 suites, will be created. Where they remain, the heritage elements of the interior have been retained and painstakingly restored.

The works are being executed under the supervision of several government authorities as well as Four Seasons, and a ReardonSmith team is being retained on-site in addition to the London studio team to coordinate and manage the design implementation.

“This is going to be an outstanding building, even in a city where there are so many examples of great classical architecture,” says James Twomey, ReardonSmith’s Associate Director responsible for the project. “Our every effort is focused on leading the contracting team to deliver the highest quality of finishes that express the design intent and meet the interior quality synonymous with Four Seasons.”

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