Focus: Case Studies


We look at seen projects in detail from home and abroad and the joys and challenges they brought to the interior design practices involved


All Images: Bruce Hemming

Providence Tower, London

FORMstudio has reconfigured this 240 sq m penthouse to create an open-plan living space on its upper floor.

From the entrance, a view of the Thames draws the visitor forward into a double-height space, from which an elegantly detailed stairway leads upward, revealing the spacious open-plan dining and living area above.

The penthouse is arranged across the top two floors of a prominent high-rise residential development, a design-and-build project with an internal layout that divided both the entry and upper levels into a labyrinth of cellular spaces. The former arrangement ignored the spatial potential offered by the distinctive, soaring wing roof and the spectacular wrap-around views over the river and to the City beyond.

Thames view - This penthouse is arranged over two floors, with open-plan living spaces with a natural flow between themThames view - This penthouse is arranged over two floors, with open-plan living spaces, with a natural flow between them

In terms of finishes, large-format herringbone oak parquet flooring has been specified throughout with predominantly white finishes for walls, ceilings and built-in joinery, to create a unified, calm, classic environment that enhances the open sense of flow between the spaces.

Internal bathrooms have warm dark-grey porcelain tile and paint finishes combined with oak, while the master bathroom combines honed Carrara marble, solid white acrylic surfaces and polished stainless steel to create a spacious sense of opulence.

In the master bedroom suite a long, floating block of wardrobes has been upholstered in grey flannel to create a luxurious tailored headboard for the bed, while defining and enclosing the linear dressing area behind it. Across the room, a Citterio-designed Maxalto rotating circular sofa, placed in a fully glazed oriel window, can be turned to exploit the Canaletto-like panoramic river view or to face the room.

The large scale of the integrated sofa and kitchen-island blocks designed for the open-plan living area, and the way that these work together in the space, demanded a similarly large scale for the lacquered steel and flamed walnut dining table, which were also designed by FORMstudio and made by Mathers & Hirst. Malcolm Crayton, director of FORMstudio, said: ‘One of the biggest challenges was creating a plan arrangement to provide a natural spatial flow, that would draw the visitor forward from the front door at the back of the lower floor, then through 180 degrees up the stairs to the dramatic open-plan reception, and finally through 180 degrees again before the ultimate reveal of the magnificent river view.

A big element in the success of this, and avoiding this potentially awkward ‘journey’ feeling unnatural or contrived, was the creation of the large, central, double-height stair hall, which in an existing fully occupied building involved some pretty challenging and costly structural gymnastics.’

Thames view - This penthouse is arranged over two floors, with open-plan living spaces with a natural flow between themThames view - This penthouse is arranged over two floors, with open-plan living spaces, with a natural flow between them

The bold and imaginative nature of this project is indicative of broader horizons across the luxury residential sector said Crayton: ‘This project exemplifies the extraordinary change in expectations at this end of the market over the past 20 years. Today, led in particular I think by exposure to the luxury and sophistication of hotel environments and TV programmes like Grand Designs, homeowners at the top-end of the market tend to be much more design-literate than they used to be, and expect a much more bespoke and architectural product.

‘In this case, a rethink of the original layout has created much more fluid, clean, architectural space that optimises the potential of the soaring wing roof that encloses it and its extraordinary premium view over the river. At a detail level, full-height pocketed double doors replace standard off-the-peg ones; premium-oiled oak flooring replaces a pre-finished, ‘bouncy’, floating, clip-together maple floor; all joinery including the kitchen is bespoke and integrated in the overall design rather than being bought off the shelf; and a Lutron-controlled LED lighting system, designed to enhance the spaces, replaces the original proliferation of ‘spotty’ halogen downlighters.’

Sakura, Prague

Architecture and interior design practice Jestico + Whiles has been appointed to design Sakura, a residential building on one of Prague’s hilltop locations, with work expected to start later this year.

The scheme for TE Development Group in Prague will provide residents with views of the city from a total of 64 units and three penthouse villas. A cafe, shop space and parking are also included in the scheme alongside a playground and other recreational facilities for apartment owners. The apartments will range in size from 37 sq m to the 260 sq m four-bedroom rooftop villas.

In its response to the design brief, Jestico + Whiles conceived a residential building that provides a sense of living in a family house while still providing the benefits of an urban apartment. At the core of this, the practice has worked closely with Prague-based landscape architecture firm Atelier Flera to focus heavily on the abundance of green space – a private garden will envelope the perimeter of the floor plan, highlighting planting to the ground floor, while also providing a natural screen for lower-ground apartment balconies. Front gardens will line the ground floor apartments and the roof villas will benefit from a private garden and views over the city.

Hilltop – the project combines apartments, roof-top villas and extensive landscapingHilltop – the project combines apartments, roof-top villas and extensive landscaping

The material palette of the exterior is characterised by natural shades exposed through wood window frames, thermo pine on horizontal surfaces and graphite on metal rails, which are complete with golden metal sheets. The main volume consists of individual apartments as elements inserted between floor slabs. These elements are then clearly legible on the facade, and material combinations create a mosaic that softens the total volume of the construction.

Sean Clifton, director at Jestico + Whiles’ Prague office, said: ‘Our design for Sakura is focused on the needs of the future residents, including their lifestyle and quality of life.

The project excels from the typical closed-room, minimal residential block to create a family home with a garden while maintaining the benefits of urban living that an apartment building brings.’

Sakura is named after the blossom of the Japanese flowering cherry tree. Flowering cherry trees will be a prominent feature in the gardens, on roof terraces and in the adjacent private park.

Paddington Exchange, London

Design Studio 33 Interiors has recently completed the interior design for a new luxury residential development in Paddington, for Taylor Wimpey Central London.

The London-based practice was appointed while working with the developer on a residential project in St Dunstan’s Court, in the City of London, and has now completed the design of 123 apartments, penthouses and communal areas. The practice also designed the interiors of the residents’ lounge, providing a library, lounge area, and informal and formal meeting spaces.

Paddington station neighbour – Apartments and penthouses with communal areas are found in this development, located close to the historic railway stationPaddington station neighbour – Apartments and penthouses with communal areas are found in this development, located close to the historic railway station

Located close to Paddington train station, the new project’s brief was to invoke the romance of the railways, referencing the art deco period. With the development in a prestigious part of London, 33 Interiors wanted the design to reflect its setting and created its own contemporary twist on the classic art-deco style of the early 20th century.

The experience is designed to begin as residents approach the development, with a crossed-chevron patterned stone leading to the entrance. The pattern continues internally, becoming a focal point for the lobby area and introducing cream and slate blue as the base palette. Vertical polished plaster detailing accentuates the double-height lobby, leading the eye to brass detailing announcing ‘Paddington Exchange’.

A series of black and bronze pendant ceiling lights sit in a crossed pattern to mirror the chevron flooring. The central concierge desk has curves referencing art-deco architecture, as well as elements of train and automobile design.

On the upper living floors a bespoke slate-blue chevron carpet features. Walnut doors and side panels are accentuated with a linear strip of light running from the ceiling, highlighting the apartment numbers. The interior palette for the apartments offers a choice of light, medium and dark finishes on woodwork, flooring, and kitchen design, with elevated specifications for the penthouse apartments.

Paddington station neighbour – Apartments and penthouses with communal areas are found in this development, located close to the historic railway stationPaddington station neighbour – Apartments and penthouses with communal areas are found in this development, located close to the historic railway station

The communal lounge continues the art-deco theme, focusing on ‘machine age’ styling that features streamline curves, polished metalwork, and spherical light fittings. Geometric shapes, angles and patterns feature heavily in the design through cushions, lamp shades and textured wallpaper. Dressing items reference industry, including cogwheel-like glasses in the bar, candlestick holders that look like stacked cog wheels, chrome trays, and steel lights.

A focal point in the lounge is the bar, positioned in the line of sight of the room’s entrance. The bar has a look of art-deco cocktail cabinets, which are curved to match the look of train carriages and cars from this period. The backdrop to the bar is an iconic sun-burst motif – a hugely prominent design feature in the Twenties. The room is dressed with pieces of early 20th-century abstract art including the works of Russian artist Kandinsky, and futurist El Lissitzky.

Mathew Freeman, ceative director at 33 Interiors, said: ‘We designed the apartments and communal areas with the residents in mind, but also with a nod to the proximity to Paddington Station – a station that is still celebrated for its modern architectural style. We wanted to design an environment that residents would feel comfortable and relaxed in, and the strategic use of a light-base palette reflects both the glamour of art deco. The key challenge was sourcing high-quality materials to reflect the character of the development, such as bespoke wall panelling and interesting metalwork. Applying a cross-sector approach, we’ve delivered a full conceptual design.’

Paradise Gardens, London

This development of six houses occupies a former derelict yard in the heart of the Ravenscourt and Starch Green Conservation Area, next to Ravenscourt Park, London. The scheme had to resolve a tight site, overlooked by neighbouring properties and next to a locally listed terrace. The solution is a contemporary response to the local vernacular, with five three-storey houses forming a terrace that steps forward incrementally along its length.

A sixth, two-storey, house is built within the walls of Latymer House, which once stood on the site.

The terrace of stepped new houses is a contemporary response to the local vernacularThe terrace of stepped new houses is a contemporary response to the local vernacular

The houses are entered from a cobbled courtyard, which provides six parking spaces, and residents share mature communal gardens conceived in the spirit of similar, albeit larger, garden communities in west London. The terrace is detailed in buff-coloured brick with shallow-pitched zinc roofs and aluminium framed windows. The dark zinc dresses down the western gable wall and the entrance porches. The sixth house is built from a darker brick to match the old walls.

The terrace of stepped new houses is a contemporary response to the local vernacularThe terrace of stepped new houses is a contemporary response to the local vernacular

Spatially generous and light filled, the houses are designed to be flexible in layout. A steel-frame structure allows lateral breakthroughs, and there are no load-bearing elements between party walls, allowing for future change. The buildings go beyond Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH) level 4 through the upgrade of facade performance in line with Code 5 requirements. Excellent levels of airtightness and thermal performance are achieved through the use of heavily insulated wall and roof construction, and triple glazing.

Residential development, Dommeldange, Luxembourg

They say some of the most creative ideas come in the face of adversity, and the restrictions facing the architects of this 15-unit residential building were certainly taxing enough to prompt a highly inventive solution.

Ordinarily, local building regulations for this project in the Luxembourg town of Dommeldange would allow for a simple single-block building with a basement, but this location offered the possibility for something of an architectural experiment.

Built on a steep curve, the development includes communal spaces, such as this kitchenBuilt on a steep curve, the development includes communal spaces, such as this kitchen

The plot is along a curved street, with a steep topography with 10m difference in height, and several classified 300-year old trees. By splitting the main volume of the building into six smaller, vertically shifted blocks, architecture practice Metaform ensured it fitted better into its surroundings while also bringing about some major benefits in living quality for its inhabitants. The design responded to a need for natural light, creating panoramic views towards the landscape and the city and a visual contact with the sky. There is also a social aspect built into the design, with communal indoor spaces including shared kitchen, leisure and games rooms.

Built on a steep curve, the development includes communal spaces, such as this kitchenBuilt on a steep curve, the development includes communal spaces, such as this kitchen

The overall aspiration was to marry current housing needs and issues with specific conditions of the site; to design a collective housing building that offers people a sense of belonging, identity and community – a form of ‘social luxury’ according to the architects.

 

XXII Carat, Dubai

A Dubai-based Russian property developer has created a luxury mega project on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. XXII Carat comprises 22 ultra-luxury villas of varying architectural styles. Around 30 per cent of the units have already been sold, with construction due to be completed towards the end of this year.

The XXII Carat development will see 22 luxury beachfront villas sitting in a gated communityThe XXII Carat development will see 22 luxury beachfront villas sitting in a gated community

XXII Carat offers beachfront resort-style living on the man-made island. The private gated community comprises seven-bedroom villas ranging from 745 sq m to 1,200 sq m with views of the Dubai city skyline. Among the fittings in the XXII Carat Villa developments is the Baldi ‘Jewels for the Home’ rock crystal bathtub – priced at 1m euros said by Baldi to be among the world’s most valuable baths.

The XXII Carat development will see 22 luxury beachfront villas sitting in a gated communityThe XXII Carat development will see 22 luxury beachfront villas sitting in a gated community

‘Demand for luxury properties is on the rise, far exceeding supply in the higher price spectrums of the market, and there is always a market for high-end one-of-a-kind properties,’ said Anton Yachmenev, managing director of the Forum Group, the company behind the development. “We were keen to capitalise on this trend by offering developments that take luxury living to the next level. Buyers are on the lookout for modern, well-appointed villas and we want to give them what they want.’

According to the recent Dubai Real Estate Market Report Q3 2016 by global consultancy JLL, the luxury property sector remained active for the first nine months of 2016, despite the slowdown in the wider market.

Luxury knows no bounds in the interiors, including baths by BaldiLuxury knows no bounds in the interiors, including baths by Baldi

With Dubai’s real estate sector still outperforming many other global cities, experts are predicting further growth and strong overseas interest by 2020. Key factors driving this growth include attractive rental returns, flexible payment plans and industry regulation. Apartment rental returns in Dubai offer returns of 7.6 per cent, which dwarfs the yields in leading investment locations such as London (3.5 per cent), Hong Kong (2.82 per cent) and Singapore (2.83 per cent).

Prospect Place, Battersea, London

The first apartment created to showcase homes designed by architecture practice Gehry Partners has opened at Battersea Power Station.

Gehry has designed homes, commercial space and a children’s play area for Prospect Place, part of the huge development’s high street, Electric Boulevard. They will form the eastern side of the new street that runs from the historic power station building to the new Zone 1 Underground station on the Northern Line. Prospect Place will be Gehry’s first residential project in the UK. Gehry Partners’ design will comprise a cluster of five buildings, each with sculptural facades inspired by London’s Regency terraces and anchored by the distinctive Flower building.

The Flower Building at Battersea Power Station is part of Gehry Partners’ contribution to the developmentThe Flower Building at Battersea Power Station is part of Gehry Partners’ contribution to the development

The practice has created two palettes for the interiors at Prospect Place – called LA and London. The new show apartment will highlight the LA interior, with an additional ‘London’ bathroom also showcased. The LA interior features rough-sawn oak-fronted kitchen cabinets with open display shelves, with the use of wood integral to the concept from the beginning of the design process. The London palette is inspired by the city itself and includes features such as chevron flooring and metallic kitchens.

Between the five buildings there is a private garden for residents, in the style of London’s garden squares. Each building will have front doors both at street level and at garden level via The Flower, with a central entrance lobby. A Residents’ Club (also Gehry designed) extending to 465 sq m over an entire floor of The Flower will include social, lounge, library and workspaces overlooking the pedestrianised Electric Boulevard.





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