New co-living brand ARK unveils plans for its debut community-centric rental concept in North London. This is the operators first co-living scheme, delivered through a conversion of a former 300 bedroom hotel in Wembley Park. Named Wembley ARK, the building has been reimagined and reconfigured into a new urban retreat in collaboration with acclaimed London design studio Holloway Li.
Holloway Li has taken a low impact approach to the building’s design, retaining or modifying elements from the existing space to minimise waste. The approach is an alternative to the typically material-intensive approach to retrofitting.
Opening this September, Wembley ARK will offer guests stays from two nights up to one year. Available to book now, private studios offer a quiet retreat. A subtle colour palette of sage, sand and taro creates a warm, comforting interior, while remaining neutral enough for guests to make their spaces their own.
All ensuite studios are fully furnished, and include a bespoke table and corner sofa, a kitchenette with hob, microwave oven and dishwasher, a 49-inch UHD Samsung TV, double bed, air conditioning, and floor-to-ceiling windows which flood the spaces with light.
For any length of stay, Wembley ARK offers one fixed all-inclusive bill, which includes access to amenity spaces, superfast Wi-Fi, all utilities, round-the-clock concierge, professional cleaning and linen changes, property taxes, and a daily programme of cultural events from cocktail making to pottery classes. Prices start from £88 per night or £1,131 per month.
“Our design concept for Wembley ARK aims to foster a sense of community through a series of domestic, intimate spaces which are underpinned by a low impact design approach. We began by researching the history of collective living to understand how to build a resilient long-term community, while catering for a variety of desires and interests.
“We wanted the furniture choices for Wembley ARK to have the quality of ‘found’ objects, as if they had been accumulated and collected over time. Every element was curated carefully, allowing the space to feel as if it had developed organically and feel ‘lived in’ as a house might.”Alex Holloway, Creative Director and Co-founder, Holloway Li
Amenities at the co-living scheme span multiple levels and include a top floor, high specification communal kitchen and dining area, lounge, multimedia room, Peloton spin studio, laundry room, yoga and wellbeing space, state-of-the-art gym, and co-working spaces, private meeting rooms and booths.
Holloway Li co-founders – Alex Holloway and Na Li – identified the public spaces of Wembley ARK as an opportunity to respond to the blending of traditional typologies in the post-Covid era. Leveraging experience in both the hospitality and private residential sectors for brands including The Hoxton and Locke, the studio imagined the communal areas as rooms of a ‘very large house’.
“Rooms are demarcated by joinery elements, such as textured and translucent screens and partitioned seating areas, balancing flexibility with modularity and spatial efficiency. Inspired by the interiors of canal boats and playing on the idea of the ‘Ark’, we used timber shelving and panelling, subtly reminiscent of a traditional drawing room, to break down large open plan areas while retaining a convivial openness. The co-working area feels like a large dining table to gather and work around, while the communal kitchen takes on the social quality of a country farmhouse kitchen.”Na Li, Managing Director and Co-founder, Holloway Li
Wembley ARK also offers residents access to a 3,500 sq ft landscaped open air rooftop terrace with panoramic views of central London. The terrace- which features a secluded hidden seating area and viewing steps – will host BBQs, music events and wellness activities. The space is set to become a sociable hub for guests to enjoy 360-degree vistas of the capital. Wembley ARK’s rooftop is also the building’s ‘back garden’ – and is surrounded by allotment beds which guests can use for growing vegetables .
“We created ARK to directly respond to the shift in working patterns in a post-pandemic world, rise in urban loneliness, unprecedented increases in living costs, and growing demand for all-inclusive and more flexible living options in London.
“In its most simplistic form, an ‘Ark’ is a safe vessel which houses a community of diverse individuals that are going on a journey, with all the provisions needed under one roof. The design concept we’ve created with Holloway Li perfectly captures our ambition to build a brand around community and social interaction.”Charlie Gayner, Co-founder, ARK
The Wembley ARK co-living scheme is well connected. A seven-minute walk from Wembley’s two Underground stations – serviced by the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines – residents can travel to central London in 13 minutes. The scheme is also minutes away from Wembley Stadium, OVO Arena Wembley and BOXPARK Wembley.
Wembley ARK social impact
Creating a positive impact in the local community was high on the agenda for ARK. As part of the former hotel’s refurbishment, the co-living brand donated over 1,000 pieces of furniture to local families and shelters in response to a rising cost of living.
Through a partnership with the Al-Hasaniya Women’s Centre, which is accredited by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, Wembley ARK will also offer free accommodation for local women who have suffered domestic violence.
“London can be isolating and monotonous at times for many people – and that’s never good for our mental health, or our communities. ARK aims to reset how we live and stay in London by creating living and social spaces which are designed to connect people and inspire personal growth.
“Co-living creates a platform for people to forge meaningful relationships which can stand the test of time. But it isn’t just our guests this holds true for – being a good neighbour to our local community is also really important to us. We firmly believe that no bed should ever be empty in London, and we will always look to offer available rooms to those who need them the most by partnering with local charities, social enterprises and community groups, wherever possible, to make a genuine and positive difference.”Jermaine Browne, Co-founder, ARK