Quinn Architects created a new space and practical storage that will respond to a families changing needs.
How were you commissioned?:
Quinn Architects were commissioned on behalf of the Director Laurence Quinn and his family, the existing residents.
What was the brief from the client and how much were they involved?:
A great respect and affection for the Barbican detailing and the experience and research conducted over 12 years of living in the Grade 2 listed estate was the catalyst for the reconstruction of the historic flat which occupies an 11th floor location with beautiful South West views over London. The forty three year old interior had become tired and the occupants required a set of spaces and precisely organised storage that would respond to ever changing family needs. The interior project is a personal study of living on the estate that places a focus on clear practical and flexible living at the heart of this design
How did the brief affect the materials and design choices?:
Each element of the project has been designed, purchased and procured directly and built using two skilled craftsmen who have been central to the success of the work. The project was seen as a research exercise, were the Architects have taken the opportunity to experiment with materials, fittings and fixtures in a direct and responsive manner. Only the stainless steel kitchen workshop and the MDF two-pack polyurethane paint finishing were manufactured by external specialists.
How did your previous experience help you with this project?:
Quinn Architects are a leading London based studio which practices making architecture, interiors and furniture through design and analysis. Our buildings and projects seek to be modest and intelligent responses to the activity of everyday use and we have an intense interest in our work from inception to post-occupancy.
Can you explain the layout of the project:
A minimal touch was adopted in the re-planning of the apartment with the focus on detailed and specific design of the interior cabinets of the storage elements which are incorporated throughout the apartment. Although largely rebuilt the layout of the rooms were altered only with the re-positioning of two doors where they clashed when open, which was a rare oversight of the original design. A reductive approach to retiring some original elements such as the door between the kitchen and service room was adopted to allow better use of the space, although these decisions were only taken after careful consideration. The small but intimate scheme is neither the sole preservation of the existing details or a completely new architectural language.
What do you feel were the most unusual design elements of the project?:
Due to the intensity of the design development and a desire to experiment it was decided to procure the project in an unusual way. Quinn Architects subsequently rented a workshop in Camberwell and set about designing and prototyping and manufacturing every detail in the apartment directly over a period of 9 months with only the outline designs in place at the outset of the construction.
How do you think this project is pushing design forward? What makes it special?:
The scheme attempts to show a thoughtfulness and direction of how these important interiors can be updated and modernised while still respecting the original architectural character and atmosphere. These new spaces sit happily along side original interiors through a shared knowledge and a close attention to detail. This is a modern interpretation of a radical language with intense study of the details in a practical, modest and respectful sense.
All images - Rob Parrish