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Alex Hotel

Alex Hotel is designed as a home, with Perth’s Spaceagency Architects and Sydney-based Arent & Pyke crafting a series of thoughtful spaces that truly nurture the human spirit. Sitting on the edge of Perth’s most diverse and vibrant district, only minutes walk to the centre of business life in Perth and with neighbours such as the State Theatre and Art Gallery of Western Australia, Alex Hotel is a small, intimate hotel with a distinct style and relaxed personality. 74 thoughtfully crafted rooms, a roof terrace, open plan living areas and independent thinking, Alex is an individual hotel for modern travellers.

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© Anson Smart

“Alex Hotel responds to the overarching concept of the ‘Hotel as Home’. Together with the client, four key concepts were established for the interior design; ‘the personal’, ‘the escape’, ‘the craft’ and ‘the legacy’, to nurture a sense of intimacy, connectedness and domesticity. With the client, there was always a discussion about ‘Alex’ being someone familliar to us all; an uncle whose home you love to visit, a treasured old friend with a house full of wonderment. The interior design, furnishing and styling imagines the richness, the personality, a sense of frivolity and the layering of a story.” – Arent & Pyke

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The architecture is defined by a filigreed skirt of galvanized steel and Victorian-ash framing that gives way to a robust tower of precast concrete panels. A subtle undulation on the surface of these panels animates the facade with light and shadow, while the deep reveals of the hotel balconies intersperse the tower with a rhythmic banding of receding rectangles.

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Spaceagency’s use of timber and painterly, jade-green tiling adds a sense of detail and grain to the intimate hotel frontage. A narrow, internal laneway is carved into the space, framed by a steel portal and lined with duck-egg blue bicycles for guests.

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Driven by the concept of “hotel as home,” Spaceagency ration – alized the internal layout by compressing the hotel rooms to give a sense of generosity to the communal spaces. This layout mitigates typical spatial barriers between staff and visitors, reflecting the interpersonal dynamics of domestic settings. Spaceagency’s architecture is true to materials, imparting an industrial aesthetic to the interior through the use of raw concrete and steel.

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Residential interior designers Arent & Pyke responded to these qualities by overlaying a soft, feminine aesthetic. The furnishings and styling were informed by the fictional character of Alex, whom the designers envisaged as a treasured friend or relative with a house full of wonderment. To reflect the richness of Alex’s personality, the interior was underpinned by four key motives – the personal, the escape, the craft and the legacy – all of which play a part in nurturing hotel guests and creating a sense of intimacy and domesticity

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The sixth floor of the hotel provides a light-filled boardroom, opening to a private roof terrace that affords commanding views across Perth CBD and Northbridge. The terrace features checkerboard tiling, oversized pot plants and playful wire armchairs; a garden space for the hotel and an enticing environment to read, lounge or delight in the hustle and bustle of the urban landscape.

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“Alex Hotel provides a wonderfully nuanced set of spaces that respond within a collaborative vision and shared aesthetic. The designers have created an immersive hotel experience that layers relaxed luxury and balances the honesty and raw nature of the architectural framework. With every detail thoroughly considered, the spaces are highly curated, yet unpretentious, textured and real. The result is a mix of lively public spaces with tranquil nooks of sanctuary. The design celebrates the richness of the local building fabric and gives the community a playground for travelers and design enthusiasts alike. Crafted, bespoke and ultimately comforting, this project embodies relaxation and the notion of hotel as home.” – Jury Citation / Australian Interior Design Awards

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Alex hotel is designed to surprise and delight from within and without, and to engage energetically with its context.

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“We interpreted the clients brief – to embrace the ‘independent traveller’ ethos; small guest rooms, large communal living areas, environmentally conscious and ‘of the place’, the resulting 74 room, 7 storey building is shoe-horned into its tight urban site while maximising amenity to all the habitable spaces; opening windows to all guest rooms, natural light and views in corridors, roof terrace garden, active engagement with the street at ground level. The building mediates between a low rise, heritage streetscape and the imposing scale of the Alexander library building behind.”

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Sited within the cultural precinct in Northbridge, walking distance to the train station, the hotel is well positioned to engage with the artistic, cultural and dining opportunities at its doorstep.

The L-shaped site has two addresses; the hotel entrance on James St. includes a small cafe, activating the street presence, the C1950 heritage façade on William St. forms the entrance to the hotel restaurant, also accessible from the laneway.

The design intention was to create a welcoming informal environment that encourages guests to spend time in the hotel inhabiting the communal areas: lobby cafe, mezzanine lounge and outdoor terraces.

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© Anson Smart

Project Data:

Project name: Alex
Location: 50 James St, Perth WA 6000, Australia
Coordinates: -31.949034, 115.859683
Type: Hotel, Hotel Interior
Accommodations/Hotel Size: 74 rooms

  • Small – Compact Room 15sqm to 17sqm
  • Medium – 19sqm Room with Private Balcony
  • Large – 23sqm Room
  • Bunk – Four King Single Beds
  • Family – Master room with king size bed

Status: Built
Completion Year: 2016
Visit Alex Hotel’s Website: here


  • 2016 – Australian Institute of Architects Awards – AIA Australian National Architecture Awards – Category: Commercial Architecture – Commendation
  • 2016 – Australian Institute of Architects Awards – WA (Western Australian) Architecture Awards – The Ross Chisolm and Gil Nicol Award – Category: Commercial Architecture
  • 2016 – Australian Interior Design Awards – Category: Hospitality Design – Winner
  • 2016 – Belle/Coco Republic Interior Design Awards – Category: Hospitality Interior – Winner
  • 2016 – International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) – Category: Hospitality – Shortlist
  • 2015 – Eat Drink Design Award – Category: Best Bar Design – Highly Commended
  • 2015 – Eat Drink Design Award – Category: Best Cafe Design – Shortlist

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer:
Architects: Spaceagency – 10 High St, Fremantle WA 6160, Australia
Interior designer: Arent & Pyke – 268 Devonshire St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia
Project Team:

  • Spaceagency Team: Michael Patroni, Dimmity Walker , Clayton Edwards, Ryan Dunham
  • Arent & Pyke Team: Sarah-Jane Pyke, Juliette Arent, Dominique Brammah, Genevieve Hromas

Project Manager: Aria Projects
Mechanical, Hydraulic, Electrical, Thermal and Acoustic engineer and Esd: Wood & Grieve Engineers
Structural Engineer: Robert Bird Group
Lighting: Flynn Talbot, Wood & Grieve Engineers

Text Description: © Courtesy of Arent & Pykem, Spaceagency, Alex Hotel
Images: © Arent & Pykem, Spaceagency, Anson Smart


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Alex Hotel / Arent & Pyke + Spaceagency
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