One of the earliest appraisals we've unearthed comes from U.K. newspaper The Guardian, which reads less like a review and more like a conceptual overview of the space. The Guardian describes it as "the intellectual aesthete's equivalent of Willy Wonka's Golden ticket," a space that draws esoteric inspiration from Joseph Conrad, staples of maritime design and the gloomy river below it. (Sadly the Thames isn't bubbling over with chocolate.) It's complimented for its "well-made jeu d'esprit" and for being "intelligent, witty" and "pleasurable." We take this measured Brit-speak as complimentary.
The New York Times meanwhile, is already looking toward the room's life after the Cultural Olympiad and 2012 Games come to a close. Architect David Kohn says he'd like for ARFL to "travel the world…sailing up rivers and into ports—Cape Town, Hong Kong, Manila."
Could the temporary space turn into a veritable Olympic torch, jumping from one international bankside to the next? We'll soon find out, and in the meantime you can try your hand at securing a night in ARFL: reservations for July through December will be released this Thursday, January 19th.
[Photo: Katherine Rose for The Guardian]