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A Climbing Wall for Design Enthusiasts

We met London-based creative studio Patternity to discuss ascension, the power of pattern, and a graphic climbing wall they recently installed in the gym of the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch.

Staying at East London’s Ace Hotel already comes with a range of perks – think designer digs, a cool concept store, and hotel bars you actually want to drink in. Now, thanks to London-based creative studio Patternity, there’s also a designer climbing wall in the basement gym. And, that’s not all – it’s part of an effort by the Ace Hotel to work with young, local designers to better design their guest experience, from surface finishes and small, everyday objects to larger installations, like the new addition to the gym.

Patternity co-founders Anna Murray and Grace Winteringham designed the graphic climbing wall as part of the hotel’s Ready Made Go 2 exhibition for London Design Festival. The exhibition, supported by Modern Design Review and now in its second year, invites local European designers to create objects and installations that can be used in the hotel.

“We have a residency at the Ace Hotel where we host evening events from Mindful Marbling, to Plant Life Drawing – and felt it would be a really nice partnership to offer something permanent for guests at the hotel,” says Patternity. “We are specialists in pattern, and Therapiekletterwand [who we collaborated with] are specialist in climbing walls, so working together has enabled us to create something authentic, simple, useful and beautiful.”

The monochrome climbing wall, titled Ascension, is decorated with a gradient pattern that is intended to celebrate the act of climbing. “The wall is accompanied with a quote, ‘Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience’ by Ralph Waldo Emerson,” says the studio. “We wanted to create an experience that feels considered, contemplative, powerful and positive.”

The contour-style pattern was hand-painted onto the plywood wall, and the colour of the climbing holds corresponds to the pattern to create a visually seamless installation. A crank adjusts the gradient of the wall from 11 to 50 degrees, making it suitable for both beginners and accomplished climbers.

“The gradient pattern is a direct reference to Ascension and the increase in landscape height that we see on contour maps, but it also references time – as we see it as layers in geology – and the patience and commitment required for personal development.”

The climbing wall was launched as part of London Design Festival, but will remain in place at the hotel gym and is available for all guests to use.

“The reaction has been a positive one,” says the duo. “We have branched out of our archetypal monochrome geometrics and this has been the perfect opportunity to explore more natural patterns of emergence. It’s really exciting to think what other opportunities will come from this. Maybe we can do climbing walls at Ace Hotels internationally!”

Other pieces in the Ready Made Go 2 exhibition included smoke-patterned ceramic tiles that were transformed using a barbecue by Turner Prize-winners Assemble Studio in collaboration with Granby Workshop, a collection of glassware for the hotel’s new in-room cocktail service by Jochen Holz, architectural soap dishes by Studio Silo, and hand-stitched Doublet quilts by Toogood. Following LDF, many of the projects will be available for sale from the Ace Hotel’s concept store.

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