Designer Q&A: Amanda Ramsey, Director at Interiors and Floor Design

The latest addition to the Hastings Hotels collection is the Grand Central Hotel in Belfast. Interiors and Floor Design, a firm based in Carryduff, N. Ireland were involved with transforming this 5-star hotels interior scheme.

We heard from Amanda Ramsey, the Director, to find out about how she helped transform the building into a new 300 room, 5-start hotel in Belfast’s up-and-coming Linen Quarter. The Grand Central Hotel has been designed to be as glamorous as possible, and for this Amanda used BCFA member, Ulster‘s custom axminster carpets. IMG_7213 webAmanda, tell us about your design scheme for the Grand Central hotel…

The original Grand Central Hotel was remembered for its flair and decoration of the day and that is how we should view the Grand Central of today.

Reflecting back, the original hotel was a social hub in Belfast and that is certainly how the new Grand Central will offer itself. The Grand Café on the ground floor will be a place to drop in and catch up. While the Observatory Bar on the top floor will be an iconic destination providing spectacular views over Belfast.

The concept of the interior on the ground and first floors is to keep the area as open as possible using the fantastic double height spaces. Within this social space we wanted to create defined areas that felt similar and coherent, yet maintained their own identity. Working with the design team at Ulster Carpets we created an organic abstract design with lots of texture. Subtle changes of greens to gold help to define each area and ensure flow through the restaurant, afternoon tea and bar areas.

In the guestrooms and 16 suites the carpet design is a play on geometrics in soft grey tones.

At the top of the building on the 23rd floor you’ll find the Observatory Bar, the highest bar in Ireland. Here we emphasised strong watermark type textures and highlights of copper to give warmth and contrast, creating a bold design for this must visit venue.  IMG_7218 webSo what impact do you hope the design will have on hotel guests and visitors?

Known for its flair and decoration, we want to evoke that nostalgia from the original hotel while bringing it right up to date. For example we’ve used artefacts from the original hotel but we’ve also used statement carpets and rugs to create visual impact.

The Observatory Bar is a key example of this, it offers magnificent views over Belfast and the surrounding areas. So to complement this we created a strong, striking carpet design that gives a sense of being in an iconic space.

How did you come up with the colour palettes?

The palettes used in the Grand Central reflect current trends for neutrals with accent colours. We’ve used rich warm bronze and copper tones to create an exclusive look in some areas, relaxing soft greys in the guestrooms and bright greens and golds in the open plan public areas. The fabrics and upholstery through the hotel will match and complement the exciting carpet designs.

What were your sources of inspiration?

Inspiration came from a number of places. There are some art deco influences seen throughout the hotel as well as modern luxury. We’ve tried to blend old and new leaning on the luxury feel of the former Grand Central Hotel while giving it a fresh 21st century twist.IMG_7200 webAnd finally, why Ulster?

Hastings Hotels have used Ulster Carpets throughout all of the hotels in their collection. Personally I enjoy working with Ulster’s team of talented designers who really do create excellent designs. It’s these design capabilities along with Ulster’s great service and high standard products that make them the ideal choice for supplying carpets to the Grand Central Hotel.

Contact Ulster Carpets

About Kate Nannery

Kate is a freelance writer for Design Insider. She thinks that the beauty of design comes from great craftsmanship and has a masters degree in tea-consumption. If you would like to appear in Design Insider, please email
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