Type to search


Bibi Fuses Modern & Traditional at Historic Hotel


Blackburn-based designers, Bibi Interior Architecture, have recently completed a commission for the Whitehall Hotel in Darwen, which required a design specialist to plan and oversee the redevelopment of its principal function room.

Built as a manor house in the late 19th Century, the sandstone-fronted Whitehall Hotel is a popular venue for weddings, business meetings and conferences. The function room itself is a relatively recent extension so, whilst the owners Neil and Tracy Bullows wanted it to remain broadly sympathetic to the hotel’s elegant and traditional aesthetics, they were also keen to introduce a strong new element of modernity.

Following a detailed study of the hall and further discussions about the client’s requirements, Bibi’s team of designers proposed improving the use of space by removing a number of columns and transforming the layout and décor through a combination of both traditional and contemporary materials.

Having explored its 3D visualisations with the hotel owners and duly received instructions to proceed, the team then began managing the refit. This entailed installing a bespoke new bar, replacing the ceiling and floor, and fitting custom manufactured doors throughout. Bibi had the doors made to its own specification and also designed the bar, which featured a Corian worktop and textured side panels from the British manufacturer Muraspec.

The new solid wood floor was made from sustainably sourced European oak and the design made extensive use of fabric including voiles by Premier Voiles and roman blinds by Harlequin – both of them established British suppliers.

Creative, remotely controllable coloured lighting was also a key element of the scheme. The controls enable different zones to be emphasised and differentiated, whilst strip lights wash the voiles with accents of colour, lending interest and variety to the wall surfaces. The scheme also uses Swarovski crystal feature lighting by the Italian manufacturer Marchetti Illuminazione.

The newly refurbished function room re-opened in February 2013.

“We had a very tight schedule for creating the function room’s design,” said Junaid Khan, managing director of Bibi Interiors. “We had a short space of time to get it approved before our contractors went to work, so we designed and modelled the whole space using 3D software. This enabled the client to approve the materials, design and colours with the minimum of delay. Doing the 3D work in-house gave us the ability to change and develop things very quickly, which is important in the commercial environment.”

Speaking on behalf of the Whitehall Hotel, owner Neil Bullows said: “We were conscious that it was a demanding brief because we wanted to inject some strong, modern themes but they had to be compatible with our established values of quality, taste and tradition. In the event, I think Bibi Interiors did a first rate job, blending our various requirements to perfection and coming up with some design solutions that we’d genuinely never even considered.

“I have been in the industry for twenty years now and I’ve worked with many designers but I can honestly say that Junaid and his team have been excellent. They kept us fully in the loop throughout the project and were a real pleasure to work with.”

Bibi Interior Architecture serves clients across the UK and works in sectors as diverse as education, retail, hospitality, leisure and domestic interiors. More information about the company can be found on its website: https://www.bibi-interiors.com/.


Editor’s notes:
The material suppliers were as follows:
• Bar side panels: Muraspec (Impressions range) https://www.muraspec.com/
• Bar top: Corian, by DuPont https://www2.dupont.com/corian/en-gb/bi/corian-solid-surfaces.html
• Roman blinds: harlequin https://www.harlequin.uk.com/
• Voiles: Premier Voile https://www.premiervoile.com/
• Feature lighting: Marchetti Illuminazione https://www.marchettiilluminazione.com/

The principal designers at Bibi Interiors are:
• Juniad Khan MSc (Managing Director)
• Rebecca Rayson MA (Interior Designer)
• Sarah Yarwood MA (Interior Designer)

The Whitehall Hotel was a winner in the recent Channel 4 series “Four in a Bed.” It is owned by Neil and Tracy Bullows.