Travel | Diary of a Somebody

Kit Kemp

Textiles and lighting are the focus of the hotelier’s day

Kit Kemp

November 16 2011
Kit Kemp

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Up early and walking through a sunny but cold Hyde Park, by the Serpentine. I prefer it to training in the gym, because it doesn’t matter where you are, starting the day looking over water is a tonic. This morning, some frozen pink swimmers were amusingly negotiating a feisty swan. When we first started building in New York, I would jog beside the Hudson River before heading to the Crosby Street Hotel site in SoHo. It cleared the mind.

I arrive at the office to find that two sculptures by my daughter Willow have arrived from Düsseldorf, where she has been studying at the Sculpture Academy. There is also a box filled with African baskets I found in a market there. The sculptures will need plinths and the African baskets will have ceramic pots put inside to house fresh fruit or croissants in plentiful quantities on the breakfast buffet tables at the hotels.

Straight to Walton Street for a Chelsea Textiles embroidery collection meeting. Mona arrived fresh from a shooting lesson complete with khaki cagoule and Tattersall check shooting waistcoat. Her appearance must have particularly caused as a stir when she went straight from her lesson to the American Embassy to organise a visa. Given that Grosvenor Square was battened down with police today, it is surprising she managed to simply sail through. Last time I saw her she was learning to dance Scottish reels. There is no end to her enthusiasm.

By taxi, next stop is The Soho Hotel with Flora, another member of my design team, to look at a new lighting idea. There I meet with Margaret O’Rouke, a potter who makes the most wonderful porcelain lights that look like large squashed ostrich eggs. They exude such a glowing, warm light which I think will look good in Refuel, the hotel’s bar. We discuss a wall installation of circular lights too but I wonder if it is too late to complete by the end of the year.

I keep bumping into people I know, some of whom I haven’t met in years. On the way back to the office with Flora I realise I am never going to make it home in time for my yoga lesson. Asokananda will be sitting on the doorstep and I feel very guilty. This feeling is exacerbated by the fact that I also still have the same fabrics, which require urgent consideration, on my desk as I did yesterday. I promise myself that tomorrow it will all come together.

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