Originally built in 1913 and situated on the majestic Falmouth coast, Merchants Manor Hotel has undergone a three-year refurbishment plan, solely mastered by commercial interior architecture and design practice, Helen Hughes Design Studio. The most recent development has seen the remodelling and refurbishment of the existing pool area into a classically chic and modern luxury spa, where Solus Ceramics’ Spark tile range takes centre stage.
Helen Hughes, Creative Director at Helen Hughes Design Studio, said: “A key requirement of the client’s brief was to create a refined and luxurious space that meant a full strip out and redesign of both the pool and changing areas.
“The main aim of the design was to create an elegant, functional space with a distinctively classic yet modern ambience that is also easy to maintain. Therefore we decided to use a singular floor and wall tile range throughout the entire project echoing the classic aesthetics of traditional Roman spas.
“Due to the size of the spa, we conducted research into a number of different tile choices that not only complemented the vast space, but had the capability of meeting relevant health and safety standards required in a spa environment. We were looking for large format tiles that were visually appealing, whilst also being durable enough to withstand the heavy footfall of well-populated areas within the premises with a simple cleaning regime.
“This project took inspiration from the stonework at the Victoria & Albert Museum that features monolithic marble slabs. This led to the tile selection of the Spark range, which was chosen for its beautiful and faithful marble effect, boasting dynamic and realistic veining and natural variation. The versatile tiles were used on the poolside, in the steam room, changing rooms and vanity areas with a mixture of 1200 x 600mm and 1200 x 200mm large format tiles.
“We specified the Spark range due to it being created in hard-wearing porcelain stoneware and a worthy alternative to genuine stone. The tiles we used possess fantastic technical qualities such as durability, stain resistance and thermal endurance.” Sumptuous and refined, the Spark range effortlessly captures the lavish mood of marble, replicating the most attractive and palatial features of the natural material.
Liberally decorated with realistic veins, speckles and tonal variations, the Spark range has a rustic and natural aesthetic that suits a huge variety of project types from residential spaces, including spas and leisure suites.
Spark consists of four central colour options, covering a beautiful spectrum of evocative grey shades. Each individual tile is also populated with hints of other colours and includes rusty veins and dark flecks.
“In addition to the large format pieces, Solus Ceramics also supplied bespoke cut pool edging, corner pieces and step treads. These uniquely fabricated pieces were crafted from the same material as the main tile, which allowed us to completely maximise the potential of the marble tiles. These pieces were vital to the project as they helped us to retain the flowing sense of classical continuity that was so important.
“The overall project has been a huge success. Working with Solus Ceramics has provided us with the experience, technical expertise and depth of knowledge that have all contributed in allowing us to aid the refurbishment of a fantastic building.” Since the opening of the spa, the hotel has jumped from a three-star to a four-star-rated property and the feedback from both the client and the guests has been overwhelmingly positive.
Michael Irvine, Area Sales Manager at Solus Ceramics, said: “Merchants Manor has been a fantastic project to work on with Helen Hughes Design Studio, and has delivered fantastic results. Due to the size of the project we knew that a large format tile would be ideal for maximum impact and one of our favourite aspects of this classical chic design was the way in which the two large format tiles were installed to complement each other.
“The Spark range was specified for the project due to the versatility of the tile, which showcases how a relatively simple, neutral product can create something rather captivating. The layout of tiles creates a stunning backdrop to the mesmerising spa. The Spark range also provides a tactile anti-slip finish, which is ideal when a project requires something more refined than a typically austere anti-slip finish.”