From the banquettes down to the blankets, the chandeliers to the cocktail menus, London-based architectural and design firm KSS creates a holistic, top-shelf experience in Wembley Stadium’s most exclusive environment.
As attendees of the inaugural ALSD International Conference & Exhibition noted while touring Wembley Stadium, the home of England’s National Football Team is presented to guests with precision and thorough detail. ALSD Chairman Bill Dorsey expressed to the crowd that it might be the most complete building he’d ever visited. All pillars are painted or wrapped in branding. The floors are tiled, even on some concourses, below mechanical systems that are hidden behind drop ceilings or fashionable blades designed for optimal acoustics. It’s a masterpiece from turf to the famous arch that stretches 133 meters above the north stand.
On the premium levels, every facet has been purposely designed across the entire portfolio, which culminates at the zenith of luxury – the One Twenty.
“This is the one space that has genuine guest choice.”
– Debbie Power, KSS
Designers from KSS, headquartered in London, were asked by Club Wembley not to design interior spaces, but to tell stories throughout the premium portfolio, including to its most valued members. These members, who also receive complimentary access to Home House, the ultra-luxury private members’ club in London’s Marylebone, bring guests with the most discerning tastes and expectations to Wembley Stadium.
Every aspect of the world-class story told in the One Twenty is carefully considered and expressed through equal parts discipline and imagination, beginning with the arrival experience.
On match day, patrons ascend a staircase, and upon entry into the One Twenty, instantly see its variety of spaces – the private dining booths, the lounge spaces, the main restaurant, the 21-meter bar. It’s a choose your own adventure in the One Twenty.
“It’s a true members club,” says Debbie Power, Associate Director at KSS and lead of the interior design team. “This is the one space that has genuine guest choice.”
There are canapés and lobster sandwiches in the lounge, five-course fine dining experiences at private tables in the restaurant, unlimited champagne and a cocktail menu served at the bar, pitch views on one side, and on the other side, an elevated position with views down into the Bobby Moore Club, famous for its live entertainment.
Between its herringbone flooring and hexagon-patterned walls, none of the elements of the contemporary One Twenty are standard. All furniture has custom fabric. All fixtures were designed bespoke, including the chandeliers over the banquettes, which were designed by hand. And this level of meticulousness and coordination trickles down to blankets, to the menus, to the umbrellas.
“This project came with such devoted passion that the client asked us to design the menus, the collateral, and everything the guest touches,” Power says. “Whilst we didn’t design the actual One Twenty brand itself, we made sure that the delivery of that brand was carried through into the interior and replicated by our branding department in all of the menus. Nods from the restaurant are picked up in all of its collateral, which are different from the collateral in the lounge.”
“One Twenty is smaller in numbers, so it’s a lot more niche, which means we can be a lot more bespoke in how we deliver service to those members,” says Charlene Nyantekyi, General Manager of Club Wembley with The FA Group. “It’s very high-end. The comparisons are more in line with high-end hotels, restaurants, top airline business class lounges.”
“We can be a lot more bespoke in how we deliver service to those members... The comparisons are more in line with high-end hotels, restaurants, top airline business class lounges.”
– Charlene Nyantekyi, Club Wembley
Known as the home ground for England’s National Football Team, Wembley Stadium also hosts the Emirates FA Cup Semifinals and Final, all Tottenham Hotspur home matches while the club’s new stadium is under construction, and the Carabao Cup Final. Additionally, it works hard during a variety of other uses, including boxing matches, concerts, and three NFL games in 2018.
“Those [guest] profiles are very different,” says Nyantekyi. “We slightly adapt the experience to reflect those profiles. With boxing for example, it’s a less formal crowd, so the level of service that’s required in the One Twenty is not as high as we would do for an England game.”
Because it is a multi-use facility that never stops, KSS deployed a neutral palette that ebbs and flows throughout the One Twenty and performs during all events.
“Everyone knows you’re at Wembley,” says Power. “You’ve seen the arch. We don’t have to make this space red and white. These affluent members don’t need it to be red and white. They need a beautifully designed space.”
Power and her team did integrate subtle nods to The Beautiful Game in the One Twenty, such as the hexagon-detailed buttoning on the banquettes to celebrate the pattern of a soccer ball. And there is one little glimmer of red in the space, hidden in one of the little drawers in the lounge. From the most tangible to the strategically hidden, all elements are woven into a single experiential tapestry of luxury.
“We’ve had a part of developing everything that the guest touches,” Power says. “And that’s why it’s such a success.”