September 28, 2021

Malmaison York

Global hospitality design specialist Dexter Moren Associates (DMA) is celebrating the opening of Malmaison York, a 150-room luxury hotel that boasts York’s highest rooftop bar with breath-taking views of York Minster and the historic city beyond.

Working closely with York-based developer North Star, Project Manager Gleeds and brand and operator Malmaison on behalf of the project’s funder Lothbury, DMA’s interior design concept for the transformation of the former Yorkshire House building in Rougier Street takes inspiration directly from the 1960’s brutalist architecture of the existing structure, as well as York’s strong links with confectionary manufacturing.

Lindsey Bean-Pearce, Head of Interior Design at DMA, explains: “Our design for Malmaison York sensitively retains and refurbishes this concrete building to celebrate the architecture and vibrancy of the sixties, unlocking the beauty of this once austere office block to create a truly memorable hotel.”

Locally known as the Aviva building, the 1960s brutalist structure truly reflects the principles of the mid-century style and features eight levels of concrete floorplates, façade and waffle ceilings that have been sensitively retained and restored where possible as an integral part of the scheme.


Yves Klein blue painted concrete waffle ceilings feature in the reception, bar & restaurant and breakout spaces, and sit alongside bold block colour mid-century graphic inspired rugs and upholsteries.

These stronger elements are accented by a more pared back base palette including terrazzo and timber flooring as well as black stained oak panelling and black lavastone bar fronts.

A bespoke feature acrylic rod chandelier welcomes guests into the reception, while brass ‘flower pot’ pendants by Sixties icon Verner Panton sit adjacent to the façade of the building throughout the bar and restaurant space.

DMA collaborated with Malmaison and art consultancy Elegant Clutter to develop the concept for the artwork which features extensively throughout the hotel, with inspiration taken from Sixties greats such as Warhol, Hockney, Lichtenstein and Yves Klein.

“The idea behind the space planning of the rooms is to walk in and it be completely open,” explains David Harte, Associate and lead designer on the project.

“By deconstructing the standard box-like bathroom, and utilising the wide rooms we were able to position the beds opposite the windows and create a wide vanity with glazing above for privacy yet create openness and maximise the views and daylight for the guests at every level.”


Within the guestrooms, dark stained maple millwork sits on grey marble tiling.

Recycled coconut shell marmoleum-lined walls meet part-height glazing and amber-tinted glass shower enclosures.

Tan leather upholstery is punctuated with black metalwork and bronze accents.

Yves Klein blue, burnt orange, mustard yellow and the signature Malmaison pink – all key colours of the Sixties – are playfully positioned as accents throughout, whilst bold geometric patterns are applied in the wallcovering and fabrics to further bolster the link to the brutalist architecture and design of the 1960s.

Each guestroom has a feature artwork panel which conceals the TV, designed by Elegant Clutter which references the alchemy behind the making of the famous fruit pastille of the nearby Rowntree’s factory and is complemented by smaller brutalist architecture inspired framed pieces.


The building and interior design of this hotel is far removed from what one might consider as ‘typical Malmaison’ and this makes it all the more remarkable.

A new and exciting look for an established brand is a brave and welcome change.

Image credits: Jack Hardy