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The sale of the Ministry of Defence Old War Office to the Hinduja Group in partnership with OHL Developments was completed on 1 March 2016. The plan, to sympathetically restore, redevelop and re-imagine the building as a luxury Raffles Hotel and high-quality residential apartments.
Located at 57 Whitehall, Westminster, the War Office is a Grade II* Listed Building originally completed in 1906. It contains around 1,100 rooms across 7 floors, linked by more than 2 miles of corridors walked by the influential political and military leaders of the twentieth century, including Winston Churchill, Lord Haldane and T. E. Lawrence.
The repurposing and restoration project was coordinated by lead contractor Ardmore Group and took place over a six-year period. Artisan Plastercraft was originally appointed to carry out heritage plasterwork surveys and the supply, installation and refurbishment of cornice mouldings. However, our contribution grew significantly to include many other areas of heritage and ornamental plasterwork restoration.
Most prominent to visitors of Raffles London at The OWO hotel is the decorative plaster ceilings above the main staircase. The dramatic coffered archways and arresting barrel vault ceiling is topped off with an enriched oculus, restored back to its best by Artisan’s master plasterers.
The high standard of execution continues through to the Whitehall Ballroom ceiling, where we installed a bespoke-designed coffered suspended ceiling with lighting troughs and custom moulded access panels to match the textured acoustic surface finish.
Further highlights include the ornamental ceiling decorations for the Drawing Room and Guards Bar, flagship social spaces with views overlooking Whitehall and Horse Guards respectively.
Those with a special interest in James Bond 007, the movie Spectre and the secret service will want to experience the drinks bar located in rooms once used by the Secret Intelligence Bureau (MI5). Artisan Plastercraft made and installed brick sheet panels to compliment the exposed brickwork walls. But all attention will surely go to the Aston Martin DB5 displayed behind the bar! The War Office building has been used as a film location in five Bond films.
In addition to the development of the public hotel facilities, bedrooms and corridors also received restoration and replacement of match-to-existing decorative cornice, ceiling mouldings, beam casings and more, in what was a comprehensive and extensive project for our staff. But work didn’t end there, as a similar level of attention to detail is exercised in the private residencies and heritage suites that will form a collection of incomparable private homes offering the full complement of Raffles services to the lucky owners.
In conclusion, the Old War Office is set for its new future as a prime destination and residence, and we are proud to have played an important part in its presentation with plasterwork restored across so many areas of the building.
For more information about guest experiences and visiting see Raffles London at The OWO website.