Cover The Stratford at MLG (Image: Ed Reeves)

A cool concept by Harry Handelsman of Manhattan Loft Corporation, and Scandi-chic interiors by Space Copenhagen make The Stratford the pride of its namesake neighbourhood

Step out of Stratford International station, and an impressive double cantilevered structure of glass and terracotta—depending on which side you are viewing it from—looms large over the skyline of the East London neighbourhood. The Stratford, a project by Manhattan Loft Corporation, which is housed in a skyscraper by architecture firm SOM, its first one in the UK, opened in the East London district of Stratford early this year. 

Here’s why it ticks a few boxes in our books.


The Stratford sits beside one of London’s largest retail malls Westfield Stratford City and in front of Stratford International station, from where St Pancras is a six-minute train ride away. Geographic location aside, the neighbourhood is one to peg to your travel diary. Previously a marshland, Stratford has seen a sea change since the 2012 Olympics. Today, the area boasts some of the finest sports venues and is a smorgasbord of cultures, arts and heritage from around the world. In the years to come, Stratford will also be home to the V&A, Sadler’s Wells, University College London, and the London College of Fashion, with more to come. 

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The project that was more than a decade in the making was designed to introduce a Vertical Living concept—which in this case was integrating a hotel with apartments for long and short term stays and outdoor spaces that offer immersive cultural experiences. What stands tall today is The Lofts, a collection of 248 fully furnished apartments, and a 145-room hotel, The Stratford Hotel, which was outfitted almost fully by Space Copenhagen, whose objective was “to create a place for dwelling, socialising, working and entertaining; all within the boundary of the structure.” 

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“The design aesthetics seek to translate and balance the masculinity of SOM’s structure by introducing a different and softer, warmer palette of materials,” explained Space Copenhagen. This also translated into the muted colour palette used in the interiors, which flows through unhindered by the mid-century-style furniture and its under-stated adornments—think natural woods in different hues, warm metals and softly curved upholstered shapes in the rooms. “We also like that a space does not overpower or confuse you in terms of expression—it should feel inviting for you to enter and anchor,” Space Copenhagen explained.

Enter through the doors of The Stratford Hotel and there are a three things that hit you—one, the ceiling height—which is three times that of a normal ceiling height, two, a 10-metre high fireplace that appears to be anchoring it, and three, the tonal and textural mix of concrete, plush leather and bare wood. 

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Make your way to the all-day Brasserie and bar, which Space Copenhagen has envisioned as “an easy, generous and inclusive place to meet, work, dine, have drinks and stay for a quick bite or join friends for the evening”. Here, wooden tables without tablecloths, as the design house explains, serve to enhance the informal, contemporary feel of the space. Ben Harrington of Soho House Group and Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s’ fame runs the kitchen, so expect a celebration of seasonal British ingredients, in the form of salads and small plates while an outdoor woodfire stove whips up pizzas. Classic comfort food fare such as whole-roasted chicken and hearty burgers take over dinner time with ample room for or dessert. 

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Go up to the seventh floor and there’s fine dining at Allegra. Chef Patrick Powell, who used to helm the kitchen at one Chiltern Firehouse—another project by Manhattan Loft Corporation—serves up modern European fare, made from organic ingredients sourced from a farm that is less than 40 minutes away. Think, roast suckling pig in a Bramley apple glaze and Welsh lamb with red pepper romesco. A separate cocktail lounge set near the entrance to the restaurant serves up signature cocktails. An outdoor terrace garden with an independent menu, and great views of East London is a mainstay for summer.

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In the area and at the hotel in between meals, the Mezzanine doubles up as a cosy workspace and coffee lounge.