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W Hotel London

Starwood Hotels and Resorts unveiled its 40th W Hotel in London on Valentine’s Day of this year in what used to be the Swiss Centre on the corner of Leicester Square and Wardour Street. The 192 guest rooms are spread out across its 10 floors, which include 17 suites, three WOW suites, and one extreme WOW suite, but if you just want a regular room, you’ll have to request a “wonderful room”. General Manager Kevin Rockey gets the privilege of being called “the boss” of London’s hippest place after spending ten years with Morgan’s Hotel Group. As if the central location, contemporary “Savile Row meets Soho” design and celebrity guests weren’t enough to merit the media attention it has received, there is one detail that will make even those us who are scared of famous people gravitate to the building: the glass façade that changes colour. It’s called responsive façade artwork and it was created by Jason Bruges Studios at developers McAleer and Rushe’s request. They mounted cameras on the roof that capture the skyline view and then 600 lights recreate this view on the façade through fritted glass. The skyline activity is recorded 24 hours a day but diffused only at night when people can see the lit artwork along with another image capture of the light intensity around Leicester square. Furthermore, the light bulbs are economical because they use four times less energy than regular neon lights and are able to display pastel colours. A month after its opening, the developers have put the building on the market at £200 million (227 M€).

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