New member's club Apartment 58 is accessed via a discreet entrance in Poland Street, in London's vibrant Soho. The club is billed as an 'accessible work and socialising space for the creative industry' and aims to offer a high-tech home from home that members can enjoy for a relatively small outlay for both 'work and play'.
I admit to being confused by the concept. An Apartment without rooms, catering or other facilities generally provided by member's clubs, where the management team are referred to as 'landlords' and there is an advisory team of 'tenants' responsible for the selection of members - sorry 'friends'?
In spite of this slightly baffling concept I admit to being charmed by the location, intimacy of the space and the sheer enthusiasm of Purple PR. They are the team brought in to explain the 'global concept' to people like me, more used to conventional member's clubs complete with spas, cinemas and wall to wall catering where members are known as... members.
Apparently, how it will work is that they will use local restaurants and cafes to deliver food to the club 'just like take away in your own home'. There is a bar, and the management make much of the calibre of the staff that will be employed to ensure the members' needs are catered for.
Much of the charm of Apartment 58 can be attributed to Mia Wallenius, creative director & art director at Klaus Haapaniemi. Petite and softly spoken with a mane of red hair, Mia is responsible for the design of the wallpaper in the lounge area which features spiders, mushrooms and elaborate plants, in muted purples and chocolate browns which was so magical that I could almost be tempted to forego the minimal wall to wall white space that is my house just to accommodate her gorgeous designs.
Mia's touches were everywhere from her selection of vintage mid-century furniture and objects, to the now familiar throws and cushions from the Klaus Haapaniemi collection.
There was much discussion over an 'intimate lunch' (brought in, naturally) about the role a club like this will fulfil. Our conclusion was that if you were a creative type who lived abroad and wanted a base in central London where you could work (and play?) in a convivial atmosphere, Apartment 58 was the place for you.
The management team - Alan Gerald Grant and Ronald Ndoro are both serial entrepreneurs with experience in launching clubs, so I'm sure they know what they are doing, and there are plans afoot to open more of these clubs following the same concept in Notting Hill and the East End.
I hope it's a success, if they can get the 'buzz' right I'm sure it will be. And as for Mia's wallpaper? Reece, my new friend at Purple PR tells me that you will be able to buy it at Apartment 58.com, another reason to check out this quirky little club's website.
Annalisa Hammond - Editor