All posts by Banda Property Marketing

HAPTIC ARCHITECTS

Established in 2009 by Nikki Butenschøn, Scott Grady, Timo Haedrich and Tomas Stokke; Haptic Architects have swiftly forged an international reputation as one of the industry’s finest emerging talents. With studios in London and Oslo, Haptic’s ethos is to design buildings and spaces that are rigorous in their pragmatism, elegantly composed and above all, have a focus on quality and craftsmanship.

The name is no coincidence: Haptic is a  reference to the sense of touch, a guiding force for their design work. Director, Scott Grady explains they ‘strive to determine the haptical qualities for each project and how they benefit the users of our buildings. This translates into materiality, spatial relationships, light and the building’s relationship with the site.’

It is this approach and attention to detail that has led to a plethora of commissions. From referencing eroded granite rock formations to create an auditoria-style-stair for a Norwegian client to high profile projects such as working with Grimshaw Architects as part of a team to design team Istanbul’s new airport. Situated on the Black Sea coast, the finished project is set to be ‘the world’s largest airport terminal under one roof’. Haptic’s choice of work is intentionally broad, working across a range of sectors and in a variety of countries.

The focus on lighting within architecture, an integral element that dictates the structure’s form and internal spaces, is something of an ongoing study that Haptic are continuously exploring. For their Idunsgate apartment project in Oslo, the team designed an open suspended steel staircase that allowed for a subtle divide between the kitchen and living areas whilst enhancing the flow of light throughout the space. This ingenious solution provided no loss of light and created a much-needed sense of space for the client (image above). The project was featured in Dezeen’s ‘Most Popular Interior Designs of 2014’.     

Image above: a residential scheme in Norway

Haptic, now with a team of 20, are known for nurturing young promising designers and architects. Many young graduates among both their Oslo and London practices have proved themselves to be award winners rising stars in their own right – Nick Elias, a former winner of the RIBA Silver President’s Medal, Douglas Miller, a winner of the RIBA Donaldson Medal and Vanessa Lafoy, a former Bronze Medallist.

Forming their team from the best and brightest new talent has allowed Haptic to craft a niche for themselves in what is an increasingly competitive industry. It also grants them an ability to keep abreast of the new and latest trends: an integral factor in this fast paced world of architecture and design. 


Above image: CGI of the new government quarter in Oslow

Haptic have a number of projects on site, including the Rosemoor Studios residential scheme in Chelsea for Banda Property.  Set within Chelsea’s historic conservation area, where properties date back as far as 1830 and considered to be one of London’s most refined locations, Haptic planned the building as a “contemporary insertion into the historic townscape”.  It is yet another example demonstrating their skill for producing fresh and modern design within an exacting brief.

Currently Haptic are working on the Television Centre, the former BBC headquarters in White City, creating seven tailor-made Penthouse apartments on the listed Helios structure. The apartments are due for completion in 2018.

They have also recently been named joint winner for the new government quarter in Oslo in a contest dubbed the ‘competition of the century’.  The area is being completely redeveloped following a terrorist bombing in July 2011 and includes three existing and six large new buildings totalling around 150,000sq m of development (image below).

Tomas Stokke, director of Haptic, said: “This competition is one of the most extensive and complex we have ever participated in, with more than 50 people involved in our competition team. When completed, this project will set a new benchmark for offices in Norway and is a major stepping stone for our practice”

Closer to home the practice is acting as master-planners for the London Cancer Hub (LCH) in Sutton. This is set to become a new world-leading life-science district specialising in cancer research and treatment with research buildings, hospital facilities, a school, restaurants, cafes and hotel accommodation (image above).

www.hapticarchitects.com

Company Profile: Studio Ashby

Undoubtedly one of the design industry’s fastest rising stars, Sophie Ashby has made significant strides since she established her studio, Studio Ashby Ltd, in 2013. At the age of 28, she has already been shortlisted for Andrew Martin’s International Designer of the Year and completed a multitude of international and domestic commissions. To put it simply, Sophie has the world at her feet.


Sophie started her formal training at the renowned Parsons, The New School for Design in Manhattan, New York. On returning to London, she began an apprenticeship with Victoria Fairfax; an interior designer lauded for her traditional approach. Already a keen admirer of antiques, the period helped encourage Sophie’s passion as well as refining her understanding of colour and proportion. Her success with Fairfax led to Ashby being offered to head up the interiors team for Spring & Mercer. It was here that she began to develop her own, unique sense of style and experience the wider responsibilities of managing complete projects.

With a number of successful commissions fulfilled under her creative direction, the natural progression from here would be to set out on her own. This desire for independence had always been Sophie’s ultimate goal and the opportunity arose sooner than expected. Shortly a er winning her first commission and at the tender age of 25, Sophie established Studio Ashby Ltd. Within weeks she had added two more clients. Starting from a laptop and working from cafes, Studio Ashby has grown to become a team of five, with a studio in Notting Hill.

Sophie’s unique style is the driving force behind her growing influence. She draws her inspiration from several sources, one being the modern period between the 1920’s and 1950’s. Of particular note are the works of Gio Ponti and Charlotte Perriand, whose pieces o en feature within Sophie’s interiors. Art, too, plays a role: a keen lover of the arts, she is a Young Patron of the Royal Academy and recently developed an appreciation for contemporary Aboriginal art. This current interest led to Studio Ashby partnering up with the private dealer, Jennifer Guerrini-Maraldi (JGM), with Sophie commissioned to design their stand for the world renowned, Masterpiece London Fair.

Artisans are an increasingly important element in the production of detailed and imaginative design: a factor that Studio Ashby wholeheartedly embraces. Having worked with many of the UK’s finest cra smen, Sophie’s loyalty was paid the highest compliment when she was approached by luxury wallpaper and fabric house, Fromental, to produce a one-off capsule collection. Their collaboration (above) is inspired by the natural marks made in nature, the ethnic and tribal patterns of African and Aboriginal art and the beauty of irregular repetition.

Her ability to interweave narratives into her multi-layered schemes has attracted the attention of publications seeking her views on current trends. Completing numerous interviews and profiles for the likes of Homes & Property, City AM, Resident Magazine and a feature in Elle Decoration’s April edition has elevated Sophie into a respected figurehead within the UK design scene.

This exposure alongside her unique approach has also helped her cultivate a reputation for being the ‘wild card’ in the development game. In a world constantly searching for new talent, her fresh style has seduced some of the biggest players in the property industry.

Boasting a current project list that includes a restaurant in Mayfair, a hotel in South Africa and the duplex penthouse for our Radstock House development in Battersea; Studio Ashby is very much in demand. And while she has already cemented her position amongst the highest echelons of the design industry, we have to remind ourselves that Sophie has managed to achieve all this within 3 years. Clearly, this is only the start of what is set to be an extraordinary career. Watch this space.

PROJECT LIST

One Crown Place, Liverpool Street

Burlington Gate, Mayfair 

Radstock House, Battersea for Banda Property

Somerset Robertson Hotel, South Africa

IKOYI Restaurant, Mayfair

Completed:

Chateau in Capestang, France
Apartment in the Pimsoll Building, Kings Cross
Penthouse apartment, Cheyne Terrace, Chelsea
Beach House for actress Gabriella Wilde, Salcombe, Devon
Penthouse and show apartment in the newly launched, South Bank Tower Patty and Bun, Liverpool Street

CONTACT

Unit 216, Canalot Studios, 222 Kensal Road, London, W10 5BN

Tel:  0203 176 2571
info@studioashby.com
www.studioashby.com

COMPANY PROFILE: &TRADITION

Founded in 2010, &tradition is part of a new generation of design companies beginning to make waves in the interiors world. Established on the principle that tradition is tied to innovation, the Copenhagen-based studio focuses on reinventing Danish design through collaboration. Using a handpicked selection of designers that range from emerging talent to established names allows the company evolve and grow with each collection. In an industry which is constantly changing, &tradition’s philosophy ensures they not only remain relevant but always one step ahead of the pack.

Previously known as Unique Copenhagen, &tradition’s rebrand symbolised their approach that combines solid handicraft with modern design and Nordic tradition with high quality. Founder, Martin Kornbek Hansen explains, “we want to connect with the old masters while giving space to new designers to define what will become future classics. We see a kinship between the old masters, who were avant-garde in their time, and new designers creating the ground-breaking icons of today.”

However, the concept of designing with one foot in the past and one in the future forms only part of their story. Cultures, too, play a fundamental role in the design process with &tradition taking a decidedly international approach when selecting their designers. The combination of varying influences merges with &tradition’s Nordic heritage to form the backbone of each collection and gift each piece with a unique identity.

Commenting on &tradition’s collaboration with Spanish designer, Jamie Hayon, Hansen explains, “we as a family are founded in Copenhagen with a Scandinavian design heritage, for the interest comes when you combine cultures. Where (&tradition) are rooted in Scandinavian design, he (Hayon) is founded in the Spanish way of working. That clash together makes the products that we launch together very exciting and new.”

&tradition’s avant-garde approach to design extends to their headquarters. Located on Paper Island, just off Copenhagen’s harbour, NORM Architects have transformed a former warehouse into a series of minimalist white showrooms. Known as the ‘village,’ these houses are the culmination of a five-year journey between the design house and architects. Beginning with trade fairs and pop-ups, NORM’s striking village lies somewhere between architecture and a functional art installation.

Historically used as a paper store, NORM have completely stripped back the interior space leaving only the skeletal timber gables which remain as a subtle nod to the building’s heritage. The smooth concrete and resin flooring contrasts the original features with the matt finish serving to ground the twelve white structures that populate the space. These ‘houses’, arranged in a grouped layout reminiscent of a Mediterranean village, come complete with streets and alleys interlinking the units. A modern piazza, placed in the centre of these units, forms a natural meeting point for parties, talks, and presentations. “We have been working intensely with archetypical elements from village architecture, like the city square, the church tower, the main streets, the alleys, the perfect grid and the imperfect irregularities that occur by chance,” said Linda Korndal of Norm Architects.

Each of the structures is designed in the same architectural language but feature subtle variations depending on their particular use. Some are like towers; others have windows and doors, internal staircases and a rooftop terrace and a few are blank monolithic structures without detailing or signature. While many of the pavilions are functional (operating as kitchens, meeting rooms or displays) the majority are flexible spaces, open to change.

Paper Island, also known as Christiansholm Island, is proving increasingly popular amongst the city’s creative contingency, who see the warehouses as ideal spaces for their studios or workshops. This migration is something that Hansen is looking to harness in order to bring life into his artisanal village. “What we’re really excited about is that every six months we are planning to invite artists and designers to create an overall concept for the space so that it will function like a gallery for our products,” said Hansen.

The immersive experience created by &tradition’s village headquarters is one of the factors that has seen the company considered amongst the most exciting brands to arrive in recent times. Their respect for the old masters twinned with their innovative drive allows them to celebrate not only classical design by Arne Jacobsen or Vernon Paton but importantly, serves as a bridge for the next generation. In an era where designers are focussed on the future, &tradition helps remind us that to move forward; you have to look back first.

ELECTROLUX GRAND CUISINE REVOLUTION

As far as breakthroughs go, Electrolux’s Grande Cuisine demonstrates one of the most significant for home cooking over the last 20 years. Driven by the huge surge of interest in the UK’s food industry over the last decade, London has redefined itself as one of the world’s finest gastronomic arenas. Whilst this has been, at times, a slow and arduous journey to the top, the British restaurant scene is now home to no less than 230 Michelin starred establishments and fortified by an increasingly discerning consumer base.

Electrolux’s Grande Cuisine has sought to harness this great demand, producing a range of appliances to satisfy even the most ardent ‘foodies’. Creating the first professional kitchen designed for the home, their system features intuitive interactive touch-screen technology partnered with a subtle, sleek façade that empowers the domestic chef to achieve world-class results from the comfort of their own kitchen.

The Swedish company is a seasoned manufacturer of professional kitchens whose products are already housed in over half of Europe’s Michelin starred restaurants. From Alain Ducasse to Matheus Dahlgren and Tom Aikens, much of the research and development process has been carried out via the very kitchens the range aims to replicate and their product remains the only one directly associated with professional kitchens.

The system comprises nine products, as well as the iconic French-style cooking stove Molten. Naturally, all are handcrafted using the finest materials in a timeless, contemporary design and available in an array of bespoke finishes. From self cleaning, temperature controlled ovens to sous-vide and blast chillers, we present a break down of the main contenders in this extraordinary range:

electrolux-cook-chill

The Blast Chiller and Combination Oven work in tandem and enable the ‘cook and chill’ method allowing cooking well in advance of serving. They can be used to prepare any range of foods including meat and fish by cooking a dish to 90% readiness and then effectively freezing time by blast chilling the dish to keep it in perfect condition with colour, flavour and texture intact within minutes rather than hours. When ready to serve, the food is then cooked precisely and efficiently in the Combination Oven that automatically adjusts for optimum cooking and maximum accuracy. The beauty of this method is it allows the cook to freeze time in order to achieve world-class results with ease.

The Blast Chiller can also be used to set a dessert in minutes rather than hours and even take 10 bottles of champagne from room temperature to the optimum 8°C in a staggering 30 minutes.

SOUS-VIDE

The Precision Vacuum Sealer and Combination Oven brings to life the cooking technique called “sous-vide”, a French term that translates as “under vacuum.” With sous-vide cooking, food is cooked in a vacuum at low temperatures combined with water for long periods, so as to produce perfectly even cooking. This method retains all the meat and fish juices which in turn imparts more flavour into the dish. By using the Precision Vacuum Sealer to create a perfect airtight seal, the food is then slow cooked at a low temperature using steam and not the traditional water bath method in the Combination Oven.

electrolux-sous-vide

 

Archiexpo

 

This method allows home cooks to intensify flavours while preserving textures, a technique that has long been preserved for Michelin-starred chefs around the world. From marinades to stews and casseroles to sauces, the Electrolux Grand Cuisine system offers complete command of professional cooking techniques enabling the food to remain in perfect condition for days, weeks or months.

Celebrated chef, Tom Aikens comments: “being a chef for 23 years, I have been fortunate enough to use all kinds of amazing kitchen tools and experiment with different techniques, but I can honestly say the vacuum sealer and sous-vide is my favourite gadget and cooking method. The fact is once you’ve tried cooking sous-vide it will change the way you cook forever.”

The Precision Vacuum Sealer can also be used to extend the life of ingredients enabling home cooks to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables out of season, so strawberries picked at the height of the summer can be sealed fresh and enjoyed months later.

All components within the Electrolux Grand Cuisine system are easy to use with intuitive touch screens that are integral to the design. Using intelligent sensors, pre-set programmes are able to cook anything from chateaubriand steak to airy meringues with precise heat and humidity that ensure perfect results. For the more adventurous chefs, manual controls can be modified to your precise requirements.

There is little doubt that Electrolux’s latest product range will be viewed as a pivotal moment in the continued evolution of the 21st century kitchen. It’s transition from a back of house, service station to often the most expensive and admired areas of the home is testament to how different today’s lifestyle is comparison to that of our forebears.

For more information on the latest kitchen design trends and themes, check out our previous article ‘The Evolution of the 21st Century Kitchen’.

CONTACT:

UK Direct:

Website: www.grandcuisine.com

Email: robert.russell@electrolux.co.uk  

Showroom:

Poggenpohl Waterloo

Address: 213C Hercules Road, SE1 7DR, London

Website: www.poggenpohl.com

DESIGN TRENDS: IRONMONGERY

IRONMONGERY

Often overlooked, ironmongery can play a key role within a home’s interior design. As a trend it is not subject to seasonal transformations and new themes develop at a slower rate compared to their more decorative counterparts such as fabrics and furniture.

Recently we have seen a shift towards door furniture and brassware being used as style statements, where these practical objects into decorative focal points. Often considered by designers as the jewellery of the home, these details provide an opportunity to act as a visual accent or contrast depending on the choice of material and colour.

Unlike general finishes which are mostly selected purely for their visual impact, we physically engage with  ironmongery on a daily basis. Designers have begun to focus on this tactile element and consumers are seeing greater variety in the shape and materials offered: from hand-stitched leather pulls to matt black brassware.

ironmongery-bandaproperty-2

Here is our shortlist of the best artisans driving this trend:

1. NANZ

Based out of a 50,000 ft2 warehouse in Long Island, New York; Nanz specialises in manufacturing bespoke ironmongery. Focus on handcrafted techniques adopted from heritage companies such as Yale, Norman and Sargent, their current range exceeds over 3,000 products.

Nanz began by working on restoration projects, creating handles and door furniture that were indistinguishable from the originals. Building upon their early success, the company continues this handcrafted approach whilst adapting these designs with the latest technology, materials and finishes.

Their London atelier is based in Chelsea Harbour Design Centre with the majority of their commissions for private clients. Although much of their work is custom made, Nanz offers a wide range of made to order designs.

CONTACT:

Address: 420 Design Centre East, Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 0XF

Phone: 020 3300 0099

Website: www.nanz.com

ironmongery-bandaproperty3

2. TURNSTYLE DESIGN

Since launching in 1992, Turnstyle Design have established themselves as one of the world’s leading producers of design led architectural hardware.

Still owned and operated by the original family, Turnstyle pride themselves on manufacturing products that are entirely handcrafted in the UK. Their practice contains an additional section entirely dedicated to new product development and bespoke production. Ranging from hand-stitched leather to brass and metalwork, their craftsmen have also worked with specialist materials such as exotic shell and mother of pearl.

CONTACT:

Address: Turnstyle Designs Ltd, Baron Way, Roundswell Business Park, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 3TB

Phone: 44 (0) 1271 325 325

Email: sales@turnstyledesigns.com

Website: www.turnstyledesigns.com

3. HOUSE OF EROJU

Chelsea based House of Eroju is a product design studio run by duo Keji and Tunde. Established over 14 years ago, their practice provides bespoke ironmongery with a primary focus on handcrafted leather goods.

ironmongery-bandaproperty-4

Their specialist leatherwork boasts a wide range of detailing created entirely by hand. These artisanal skills are balanced by high precision engineering processes which ensure that the end product is of the highest available quality.

The atelier has worked on a variety of commissions that range from royal palaces and super yachts to residential homes and hotels.

CONTACT:

Address: 4 Burke House, Hope Street  Battersea, London, SW11 2BY

Phone: 0207 738 9374

Email: info@houseoferoju.com

Website: www.houseoferoju.com

BRICK: ITS JOURNEY FROM ZERO TO HERO

BACKGROUND/ORIGINS

Brick has a rich and colourful history that belies its humble, utilitarian purpose. As the preferred building block for over seven millennia, the composition, colour and application reveals as much of the people that used them as the buildings they form. From brick used during the Roman Empire individually stamped with the seal of the legion that formed them to the London’s red brick, whose fiery hue was used to define the capital’s buildings in the thick smog of the Industrial era.

Whilst there are methods that can be applied to create variations in colour and texture, brick is not usually the first choice for grand or landmark structures. However this is beginning to change. Architects and engineers are experimenting with brick’s composition and application, enhancing it’s abilities and cosmetic appearance. This is mostly prevalent in contemporary architecture, an area of the industry noted for its ability to successfully redefine context and content.

Here are a selection of our favourite recent examples:

 

1. ABC Building by WISE Architecture, Seoul, South Korea

 

Picture2

Designed by WISE ARCHITECTURE, the ABC building is one of a number of ‘grey flanneled’ buildings that have gained popularity in recent years.

Located across from the Sanjung-Reung Park, which holds the tomb of the Chosun dynasty, this 5 storey building was designed to act as an Architectural Mountain with the top roof terrace providing the architectural summit. The use of perforated brick provides people with a continuous view when using the external staircase and provides an exaggerated appearance when viewed from the street.

Young Jan, Head Architect at WISE ARCHITECTURE explains:

“The black brick is the most visible material in the Building. The stair alley wall consists of a steel frame system and dry brick wall fabrication façade without traditional mortar masonry. It creates a transparent experience of a solid brick wall with multiple brick wall layers. A building starts with a piece of brick and was completed with a piece of brick as well.”

 

2. Turnmill, London by Piercy & Company

 

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Pierce and Company’s Turnmill site sits on a prominent corner of London’s Clerkenwell Conservation Area. Focussing on the building’s unique position this former nightclub has been transformed into a 97,000 sqft two part, curved structure. Constructed from handmade Roman format Petersen Telg Kolumba bricks, the facade has been designed to reflect the masonry characteristics notably found in Clerkenwell’s warehouses.

Architect Petersen explains: “The delicate, light and shimmering colours and the bricks’ handmade structure give the façade the appearance of a refined, woven piece of cloth, while the volume and solidity of the edifice invoke associations with the centuries-old warehouses that have played a key role in the colourful history of the local area.”

Earlier this year Turnmill was awarded the Brick Award 2015 for the Best International & Worldwide Project by the Brick Development Association.

 

3. Darbishire Place, London by Niall McLaughlin Architects

 

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Commissioned by London’s Peabody Trust to replace a East London mansion block destroyed in WW2, Niall MacLaughlin’s building offers a subtle reimagining of the original Victorian estate. Designed to compliment Henry Darbishire’s original development, deep white reveals have been added around the windows and balconies providing a elegant contrast to the brick facade. 

Continuing Darbishire’s idea of ‘open corners’ the balconies are positioned within the building envelope, so as to retain a flat brick facade in keeping with the existing blocks. These balconies have openings on two sides to allow a maximum amount of daylight into the living rooms. At least half of the thirteen 1,2,3 and 4-bed units will be affordable dwellings.

Earlier this year Darbishere Place was awarded Joint Best Housing Design Award by the Brick Development Association.

 

NEW INNOVATIONS & TECHNOLOGIES

Whilst architects are experimenting with brick’s decorative aesthetic, engineers are also busy enhancing its abilities. Here a few of the best innovations:

1. Cool Brick

Brick

3D printing company, Emerging Objects’ latest innovation seeks to provide the death-knell to the air-conditioning systems. Their ceramic product, aptly named ‘Cool Brick’ is essentially a hybrid slab that comprises a wooden lattice and ceramic jar. Using a revolutionary porous design to absorb rainwater, when air is passed through the water retained within the micropores evaporates which produces  a cooling effect to the home’s interior spaces.

Whilst this doesn’t offer the same level of precision as climate controlled systems, this demonstrates another significant step forward in the quest for sustainable design.

2. PolyBrick

Brick

Sabin Design Lab’s latest Polybrick design is composed of interlocking ceramic bricks. Requiring no mortar and eco-friendly these are able to be created via 3-D printing – a feature that grants this product great credit in the environmental market. 

Whilst this is impressive, the model’s latest innovation developed by the research lab at Cornell University, has a highly unusual composition. Constructed using a mixture of clay, maltodextrin and vodka, this combination allows the bricks to be produced for a paltry $4 each. Whilst this is not yet on the market, and requires a complex system of algorithms and equipment in the production process, demonstrations are expected within the next 12 months.

ANOTHER COUNTRY- INSPIRED CRAFT

By 2010, the UK domestic market’s love affair with mass produced designs had reached its zenith and the future of handcrafted British furniture looked bleak. However, success stories are often born from visionaries going against the grain. 

Another Country, established in 2010 by Paul de Zwart, makes for a perfect example. As one of the founders of Wallpaper*, arguably the most successful interior design magazine in the UK, de Zwart’s in-depth knowledge of the industry allowed his studio to flourish when others were struggling. Indeed, the parallels between Another Country’s progression and the re-emergence of British design as a global player are striking. And while it’s hard to quantify the influence de Zwart has had on the industry as a whole, Another Country has undoubtedly emerged as one of the key drivers in today’s handcrafted furniture market.

The idea to start a design studio came to de Zwart after several attempts to source a simple wooden stool for his Wiltshire cottage. Unable to find one that was both well made and affordable, he decided to create it himself. Encouraged by the final design, de Zwart continued to draw and soon found himself developing an entire series that along with his stool, included a bench, chair, two tables and a sofa bed. He then proceeded to engage a local artisan, who set to work developing his designs using traditional, handcrafted techniques. Opting to form a partnership with the craftsman and choosing to put his pieces into production, Another Country was born.

another-country-shop-display-001

The first collection, launched at London Design Week, was an immediate hit. A second series followed which in turn, inspired a collaboration with Heals of a bedroom series. Faced with growing demand for his designs, de Zwart took the decision to transition from a virtual store to a physical one in 2014. Based in London’s Marylebone, Another Country’s headquarters perfectly encapsulate de Zwart’s original vision of producing simple and functional designs. Today the studio continues in the same manner: focusing on developing products that are high quality, affordable and importantly, come with a clearly defined provenance. Influences are both varied and international, drawing inspiration from Japanese furniture, Scandinavian design to Shaker and Mid-century modern styles.

The concept of provenance has proved a critical factor in forging Another Country’s unique position within the UK market. De Zwart explains, “we endeavour to produce our product and run our business at the most sustainable level possible.” What began as a decision to manufacture products via local as well as nationwide craftsmen has evolved into a passion that influences every stage of the process. From the timber (sourced only from sustainably certified UK, European and US suppliers) to their upholstery. The latter coming via Naturalmat: the only UK mattress maker currently using certified organic latex, certified organic coir (coconut fibre) and locally sourced lambswool.

Another-Country-S1 Bench Sitt Room

Whilst Another Country makes every effort to ensure their approach adheres to this philosophy, their rapid progression has led them to form relationships with other, like-minded artisans. In 2014, Another Country and Canadian designer Dana Cannam launched their First Light collection at Maison & Objet. The range, which comprised a pendant, floor and table light, was defined by the handmade, cylindrical ceramic shade that features in each model. 

Cannam was conscious of designing in a manner that would complement the studio’s existing philosophy. He explains “my inspiration came from mid-20th-century hand tools, specifically an old speed handle I have in the studio. I’ve always been obsessed with the clean and minimal aesthetic, steel and wood construction, and above all, how it demands a certain engagement from the user. This tool was very much the precursor to the timeless yet understated outcome of each design.”

another-country-first-light-pendants

Along with aligning the conceptual approach, the finishes were also selected to complement the studio’s collections. He adds, “I’ve always appreciated Another Country’s use of warm materials; it speaks to their aesthetic which is pared-down and really brings a sense of honesty to each product. Brass and ceramic were the perfect balance between beauty and functionality for a project involving lighting; it seemed like a natural decision.”

Cannam is by no means Another Country’s sole foray into lighting. Working with New York studio, Workstead, de Zwart’s team act as their exclusive UK/EU agents for their collection of lighting formed from reconfigurable metal rods.

Accessories also play an important part in the studio’s expanding repertoire. De Zwart has commissioned several designers to produce collections including a pewter and ceramic pottery by Ian McIntyre and candle holders with handy inner compartments by Marie Dessuant. Similarly, brands that share a similar philosophy are also represented at their Marylebone headquarters. From David Mellor cutlery to bespoke linen by 31 Chapel Lane, every item stocked represents de Zwart’s ambition to create a showroom that serves as a window into the “world” of Another Country.

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The diversity of the business plays testament to the popularity of the studio ranging from an exclusive collection designed for John Lewis to custom projects which are carried out in UK workshops. The other half of the studio’s business is made up of trade, with requests from designers, architects and specific projects. 

Starting with one stool, de Zwart has not only built a brand with substance and integrity; his efforts have ensured that Another Country belongs to a movement above trends or fads. In an era where constant innovation reigns supreme, Another Country’s ability to twin this with a traditional approach has accorded the studio with an enviable reputation. The fact this was accomplished over only five years makes this achievement all the more remarkable, and clearly this is only the beginning with a Series 4 launching this autumn. 

THE BARBICAN – A BRUTALIST MONUMENT

Nestled in the heart of the City of London, the Grade II listed Barbican Estate is one of Britain’s finest examples of Brutalist architecture. The estate took no less than a decade to build and was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1982, who declared it to be ‘one of the modern wonders of the world’.

The post-war complex, designed in the 1950s by British architects (and Le Corbusier devotees) Chamberlin, Powell and Bond, represents their utopian ideal for inner-city living. The 40-acre site, previously devastated by the bombing during WW2, provided an almost unparalleled opportunity for redevelopment. The result is an extraordinary accomplishment that manages to combine schools, museums, shops and restaurants within a high-density residential neighbourhood.

Architectural Merit:

Formed with a vision far beyond its time, the architects’ unique approach not only provided London with a landmark, mixed-use development but one that defined a clear distinction between private, community and public domains. In today’s world, it is hard to fathom the significance of their achievement. Celebrated architect, Piers Gough explains that the timing of the project has been a major reason for its  iconic status: “From a civilisation with apparently no word for dimensions of less a foot, came a totally complete, stonkingly powerful, three-dimensional city wrapped around a sumptuous landscape of green squares and lakes.”

Constructed in the iconic Brutalist architecture that defined the era, the Barbican style remains divisive amongst critics and Londoners alike. The word ‘Brutalism’ is derived from Le Corbusier’s term ‘beton brut’ and translates literally as raw concrete. The style and form of the building are drawn from its intended purpose, doing away with the ostentatious and unnecessary design features popular in the pre-war movements. The result is a complex of unapologetic coarse concrete surfaces (purposely bush hammered to reveal the rough texture of the aggregate), elevated gardens and a trio of high-rise towers. 

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While many consider this style to be gritty or gloomy (the Barbican has been ‘awarded’ the dubious title of ‘London’s Ugliest Building’ multiple times) others have more favourable views. Long time resident and previous Guardian critic, Jonathan Glancy commented that “The sheer number of ramps, decks, stairs, handrails and balconies here, plus the overtly nautical detailing, makes the Barbican feel, particularly on rain-soaked, windswept days, like some great concrete ship that has come to berth in the City of London.” Similarly, Architect Ken Mackay, who lives in the Estate’s converted development office, describes the whole complex as “a brave new world.”

Whichever side you stand on, there is no denying that there are many who aspire to live there. Amongst the noted residents are: architect Adam Caruso, artist Martin Creed and Wallpaper editor-in-chief Tony Chambers. While many of the 2,113 apartments are relatively modest when compared to modern day living standards, it is the attention to detail that still sets it apart. Floor-to-ceiling windows, mahogany interior features and suspended staircases all demonstrate the architects’ attention to detail. Each unit also boasts a private balcony with views of the centre of the estate. The landscaped gardens and lake remain truly unique to the Barbican and grant residents a sense of peaceful seclusion that remains so rare in our city.

At the time, their system was considered revolutionary, it has since been replicated the world over and arguably represents one of the UK’s finest architectural achievements to date.

A Symbol of Social expertise and Cultural Cachet:

One of the most significant roles of the Barbican is in its position as Europe’s largest multi-arts and conference venue. Built with the aim of creating a complex to rival New York’s Lincoln Centre, the Barbican Centre boasts ten floors, a concert hall, two theatres, three cinemas, and an art gallery. Owned by the City of London, the Centre acts as the headquarters for several landmark creative bodies, including The Royal Shakespeare Company, London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

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Over its thirty-four years, the Centre has established a long-standing reputation for presenting outstanding architecture and design exhibitions and experiences. From regular architecture tours of the iconic building to presenting exhibitions by leading international figures from the worlds of architecture and design. Amongst the most significant include: Le Corbusier’s ‘Art of Architecture’ (2009), Alvar Aalto in ‘Through the Eyes of Shigeru Ban’ (2007) and Daniel Libeskind in ‘Space of Encounter’ (2005).

Today, the Barbican stands as a testament to progressive architecture but also acts as a beacon of the future. With ongoing improvements and a host of landmark exhibitions lined up, this extraordinary complex is sure to retain its iconic status for generations to come. 

Interior Design’s Flavour of the Month

The past decade has seen a complete overhaul of London’s gastronomic scene with the city now home to 65 Michelin starred restaurants. However, the cuisine is only half the story: any restaurant worth its salt must have an interior to match. With more focus put into the experience, dining out has become one of the best platforms for interior designers to flex their creative muscles.

The effect on the design industry has been significant and instantaneous. Indeed, this trend was instrumental in the formation of one of the UK’s most successful online furniture ventures of the past five years. Discover-Deliver, launched in 2012, was born from the founder’s quest to buy the statement furniture and furnishings she saw in high- end restaurants, bars, and hotels. Isabella Rutland explains, “…in the design world; I think great restaurants and bars are what the catwalk is to fashion – the best international designers are doing cool, inspiring stuff with big budgets.”

So what has driven this transition?

Mostly this comes down to catering for an increasingly educated consumer base. The adage ‘you eat with your eyes’ has never been more relevant than it is today. Diners now expect an immersive experience when it comes to eating out and this extends beyond the plate. Equally, with more restaurants opening each month, the need to stand out from the crowd is vital. Enter the interior designers, hired to translate the restaurant’s concept from the kitchen and into the interiors. These commissions offer the designer greater freedom of expression and a chance to push the creative envelope: a challenge that many relish.

We present our shortlist of London’s most exciting venues.

 

 

1. SCANDI CHIC: STICKS N’ SUSHI BY DIENER & DIENER AND .PSLAB

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Having first opened in Wimbledon in 2012, Sticks’n’Sushi is a relative newcomer to London. Already one of the most successful restaurant groups in Denmark, they have continued their creative approach that sees each restaurant individually designed within the context of its surroundings. Its the interior of their Covent Garden restaurant, which opened in 2013, which we are particularly keen on.

German-Swiss architects, Diener & Diener and .PSLAB produced the interior scheme which seamlessly merges the restaurant’s Japanese and Danish influences with the urban characteristics of the site’s location.

The design team have combined natural materials with a muted palette to transform this previously narrow, multi-storeyed layout into an airy yet intimate dining room and bar. Featuring exposed brick walls offset by a fabric panelled ceiling, the framework of the interior scheme is brought together by the lighting arrangements. Formed using a grid system and broken up by statement light features, this approach emphasises the existing spatial characteristics of the restaurant. The elegant combination of raw finishes, including black and powdered steel, brass and copper provide the visual interest. The minimalist timber furniture offers a subtle nod to the restaurant’s Danish heritage.

The entrances demonstrate a particular attention to detail. Guests entering from Henrietta Street are welcomed by the only break in the lighting grid: a large chandelier strikingly arranged in a bouquet of cylinders. On the opposite entrance from Maiden Lane, interest has been created via a set of parallel steel tubes beginning from the wall behind the bar and ending with exposed bulbs above the countertop. Their dynamic alignment adds rhythm to the bar and strengthens its face.

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2. OLD WORLD ELEGANCE: THE WOLSELEY BY DAVID COLLINS 

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Located in St James, the Wolseley is one of London’s landmarks. Built as the showroom for the Wolseley Motor Co in 1921, the original design by William Curtis Green drew on Venetian and Florentine influences, as well as incorporating the Eastern exotic touches that were then in vogue. Unfortunately, the expense that came with the vaulted ceilings, pillars and marble floors proved too excessive and ultimately bankrupted the company five years after. 

Acquired by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King in 2003, the two restaurateurs had the vision to transform the building into the grand European style cafe we know today. They appointed the late David Collins, the much-celebrated designer behind J Sheekey, Delaunay and the Corinthia hotel.

Collins drew inspiration from the art deco era, taking a sympathetic approach to the redesign. His team retained many of the original architectural features designing in a manner that not only emboldened the  original architectural features but brought the space into the 21st century. The result is an opulent evocation of Vienna’s fin-de-siècle cafés which combines London’s heritage with a decidedly Viennese grandeur. 

Those that step off Piccadilly and pass through the elaborately draped doors are immediately cast under the Wolseley’s spell. Upon entering guests are greeted by vaulted ceilings adorned with antique chandeliers and supported by ebony pillars accented with gold trim. Black-clad waiters transporting Fruits de Mer and lobster bisque on silver trays glide across the geometric marble floor. To the back of the room, the staircases with brass capped bannisters lead to two viewing galleries and on to the private dining room. The simple, yet elegant, colour scheme serves to enhance the main room’s extraordinary proportions while remaining faithful to the period. 

London may be an epicentre for haute cuisine, but in a city where new restaurants are now a dime a dozen, sometimes those places engineered to recall a past era with such vivid realism prove to be the most beloved. The Wolseley is such a place and as one of the most successful restaurants in our capital, it helps to remind us that occasionally, nostalgia can be a positive quality.

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3. THE AVANT-GUARDE: THE GALLERY AT SKETCH BY INDIA MAHDAVI 

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Launched in 2012, The Gallery Restaurant at Sketch has forged a reputation for its highly stylistic approach to fine dining. A combination of art gallery and avant-garde interior design, the restaurant’s latest renovation continues their collaboration with artists that began with Martin Creed. This time, the works of celebrated British artist, David Shrigley are presented in a scheme developed by India Mahdavi. 

The main dining room, playfully presented in a Laduree-esque dusty pink, provides an elegant contrast to Shrigley’s witty and occasionally outré artworks. “I was talking to Andre Balazs about it and he described it as very Beverly Hills, a bit of Beverly Hills in Mayfair. But I think of it as a feminine brasserie, a contemporary take on the brasserie”, explains Mahdavi. 

While Mahdavi’s design may display some similarities to the traditional brasserie; this has been elevated by a style that is very much her own. The banquettes, upholstered in luscious cotton velvet, are positioned so as to hug the outer walls and are complimented by bespoke, 1970’s style club chairs. Copper serves to accent the soft, organic shapes of the seating whilst the geometric marble flooring laid in a zig-zag pattern (reminiscent of Missoni’s signature weave) defines the space. 

Looking past the decor, closer inspection reveals a room expertly designed to train the eye towards the 239 new works that line the restaurant’s walls, forming the largest group of original drawings David Shrigley has ever exhibited. Mahdavi reveals, “The location and space are the starting point of any of my projects and each project is like an open question, for which there is a unique answer. Each project tells that inner story.” Shrigley’s exhibition isn’t only limited to the walls, though. Working closely with the Sketch’s Head Chef, Pierre Gagniere, the artist’s work extends to the ceramic tableware, adorned with the drawings and scribbles that characterise his artworks. This interaction between the food and design concept is one of the eclecticisms that sets the restaurant apart from the crowd.

 Additionally, renowned fashion designer Richard Nicholl has been commissioned to create the uniforms for the staff. Keeping with the diner/brasserie theme, Nicholl’s designs subtly reference his own signature t-shirt dress for the women and smart boiler suits for the men. He explains that, “For the sketch uniform project I liked the idea of creating elegant and utilitarian uniforms for the staff that reference a diner look but in a very modern and sophisticated way.”

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A Tribute to the remarkable Zaha Hadid

Architecture suffered an extraordinary loss with the passing of Zaha Hadid last month. Over a 30 year career that saw her crowned ‘Queen of the Curve’ (in tribute to her signature blend of flowing lines and organic forms), Hadid’s iconic style was unlike any of her contemporaries. A true visionary, Hadid was ultimately recognised as the finest female architect in the world and was awarded the highest accolades including the Royal Gold Medal (2016) and the Pritzker Prize (2004).

Born in Baghdad, Hadid moved to the UK in 1972 to begin her architectural studies at London’s prestigious Architectural Association (AA). Regarded as one of the major hubs for progressive architectural philosophy during the 70s, Hadid’s ability soon caught the attention of her tutors, Rem Koolhaas and Elia Zengelis. However, it would take the encouragement from the faculty to persuade Hadid of her own aptitude. Madeline Vriesendorp, who worked at the AA during Hadid’s time recalls, “She was very shy, not forceful. She would present her extraordinary drawings half-crumpled and scattered on the floor. For some reason, she chose to burn them at the edges. She was embarrassed. If you show your work, it’s like undressing in front of people. The more you believe in something the more you are embarrassed.”

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Their efforts paid off, with Koolhaas later commenting that “Zaha’s performance during the fourth and fifth years was like that of a rocket that took off slowly to describe a constantly accelerating trajectory. Now she is a PLANET in her own inimitable orbit. That status has its own rewards and difficulties: due to the flamboyance and intensity of her work, it will be impossible [for her] to have a conventional career. She owes it to her talent to refine and develop over the next few years.”

Upon graduating from the AA, Hadid joined as a partner at Koolhaas’ Rotterdam Office for Metropolitan Architecture. In 1979, she left to set up Zaha Hadid Architects in London, which she ran with Patrick Schumacher. From here her career started, albeit slowly. Hadid’s first project came after winning the international competition to design the Peak Terminus in Hong Kong. Although this never materialised (due to the developer going bankrupt), her submission was critically acclaimed and launched Hadid onto the global platform. Centred around a selection of black and blue paintings, the design demonstrated her structurally ambitious and geometrically fractious style that recalled the revolutionary Russian Constructivists of the 1920s. These works would later form an important part of the Deconstructionist Architecture” exhibition held at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1988. A show that the New Yorker would describe as proving to “…. have been the second most important American architectural exhibit of all time”.

Hadid’s approach to architecture would be her calling card. Described as both a ‘Deconstructionist’ and ‘Neo-modernist,’ a more apt term would be baroque modernist. The classic baroque architects, such as Borromini and da Cortona, shunned the traditional single view perspective, instead creating vast ceilings that redirected the focus upwards to God. Hadid’s philosophy followed an equally revolutionist path that redefined the strict rules of modernism laid down by Le Corbusier and others. Her buildings, formed of multiple perspectives and flowing spaces, sought to reflect the chaotic fluidity of modern living.

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Although many applauded Hadid’s skill and ambition, commissions were hard to come by. Promising projects in Dusseldorf and West Berlin both failed to complete: a trend that was becoming all too regular. As a result, the majority of her first 20 years was spent lecturing, splitting her time between the AA and Harvard University’s School of Design where she held the Kenzo Tange Chair. She would later hold similarly influential positions at the universities of Yale, Columbia, Illinois and Vienna.

While the 1990s saw Hadid realise her first project, the Vitra Fire Station (1993), this decade would be marred by controversy: the most prominent being the Cardiff Opera House. Having won the international competition, her designs were later rejected after the government ultimately refused to pay for the project due to opposition by local politicians. It was only upon the completion of the Richard and Lois Rosenthal Centre for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, Ohio, that her career truly began. Finished in 2003 and described by the New York Times as being “the most important new building in America since the Cold War”, it was only now that Hadid was able to shrug off her reputation as an architect who ‘designed daring buildings that couldn’t be built.’

From here commissions began to mount up, increasing in size and grandeur. Over the next ten years, Hadid would complete a plethora of projects which allowed her to gain the recognition she deserved. Among these landmarks included cultural palaces in Azerbaijan in South Korea and a stadium for the World Cup in Qatar. In 2004, Hadid was also be awarded the Pritzker Prize – the highest achievement in the industry and considered to be architecture’s version of the Nobel Prize.

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However many projects she completed during this period, Hadid would later lament the lack of interest shown by the UK. “There isn’t a belief in the fantastic (in Britain), she explained, “They don’t think it’s possible.” This did eventually change with projects such as a cancer centre in Kirkcaldy, a transport museum in Glasgow, a library in Oxford, an academy school in south London, the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, and the Aquatics Centre: the most dramatic of the buildings created for the London 2012 Olympics.

No matter how high her status climbed, Hadid’s work remained divisive. Many of her projects have been the subject of controversy. However, her talent remained undeniable and often transformed the views of those who at the beginning doubted her. Among these was eminent critic and Archigram founder, Sir Peter Cook who had commented on Hadid’s earlier work with Koolhaas, “I would hate to live in their buildings…..I would run screaming from their barrack-like walls and their prison-like cages.” Indeed, it was Cook who would later propose Hadid for the Royal Gold Medal commenting that “For three decades she has ventured where few would dare……if Paul Klee took a line for a walk, then Zaha took the surfaces that were driven by that line for a virtual dance.”

In comparison to all other art forms, architecture is by far the slowest paced. It is also a profession that resists the emergence of prodigies due to the breadth and extent of knowledge required to perform at the highest level. As a result, many of the greatest architects only produce their finest work in the later stages of their lives. It is not uncommon for this to extend far past the accepted age of retirement with I.M. Pei and Frank Lloyd Wright continuing well into their 80s or 90s. This is one of the main bereavements that comes with Hadid’s passing. While her achievements and influence are undeniable, at the age of sixty-five it can be said that she was only just beginning. Architecture may have lost one of its greatest modern visionaries, but Hadid’s vibrant and extraordinary work will endure, becoming more relevant as our cities change to closer reflect her designs.