Monthly Archives: May 2013

SHH’s ‘Park Place’ Mayfair House Gets Planning Go-ahead

Posted on May 31, 2013 by Megan

Proposals for an elegant, new-build, black-fronted house in Mayfair’s Park Place, inspired by number ten Downing Street and designed by architects SHH, has now been granted planning permission by Westminster City Council, including change of use from Commercial B1 to Residential C3. The project is due to go on site in January 2014 for completion in the second half of 2015. The seven-storey property, located in the St James’s Conservation Area (where neighbouring buildings include The Economist Buildings, the Grade I-listed Brooks’ Club, the Grade-I listed Royal Overseas League and the Embassy of Equatorial Guinea), has been designed as a 21st-century interpretation of a traditional Mayfair home.

Existing Front Elevation (Left) and Proposed Front Elevation (Right)

The street already boasts a highly-eclectic mix of Georgian, Victorian and late 20th century buildings”, commented SHH Chairman and Project Director David Spence, “but the Victorian properties still dominate. We wanted to pay our respects to the building’s context and distilled the main elements of the street elevation to create its proportions, but at the same time we also sought to create a unique and stand-out contemporary property. The black brick frontage was inspired by number ten Downing Street, as a premier London address and visual icon, whilst the crafted metalwork, which will be a major design feature of the building’s street presence, along with contemporary versions of gaslights on either side of the entrance door, recalls the glamour of a grand late Victorian or arts and crafts Mayfair home.

“Efficient use of the site and the maximisation of natural light ingress to the house were our priorities in the design” David Spence added. “The main habitable rooms are therefore located on the street side, where natural lighting is strongest, with mainly night-time usage rooms located to the rear, separated by a main circulation core. We were also able to be quite creative with the rear elevation of the property because it is not visible by the public and therefore subject to fewer constraints. This also allowed us to surmount the challenge of the dominant rear wall.”

The existing 1960s property, which will be demolished, is an unsympathetic, purpose-built office, designed with a ‘pack and stack’ approach with an extra floor added in, making it at odds with the classic Victorian proportions of its neighbours.

Cut-away section through building

The site is constrained by a seven-storey back wall to the southern aspect (backing onto Blue Ball Yard). SHH’s solutions to this include a new four-storey green wall to improve the rear outlook and soften the existing wall’s impact (with a recessed and lit stone panel at first floor level, directly facing a sliding wall and terrace for added light), as well as a rear profile which pulls away from the wall and steps in from the embassy building next door, with a rolling curved roof providing a glass curtain wall to help bring as much natural light as possible into the building, along with additional roof lights and recesses.

Initial street elevation 3D view

SHH’s design includes a huge, double-storey contemporary version of an oriel bay window at the first and second floor levels, partly-fronted by a delicate metalwork screen both for privacy and added decorative value. The metalwork – to be used again for the street level railings, porch grille and entrance gate – is made up of antique bronze and brass with black iron uprights, whilst contemporary versions of gaslights will sit to either side of the glass entrance door.

Street railing and ‘modern gaslamp’ concept visual

A notable commitment to craftsmanship at the face of the building was vital to obtaining planning permission (in which SHH were assisted by specialists Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners), as the area has a tradition of buildings with inherent artistic value. In fact, the Planning Committee of Westminster City Council unanimously agreed that the design is appropriate for its context, alongside the Grade I and 2* buildings in the road, and also praised the scheme for its interesting contemporary design, materials and contextual approach.

The dark materials palette for the scheme includes Fairface black bricks with charcoal pointing; polished granite for the oriel window bay; polished granite for the window portals and frames (with just the reveal in polished granite for the third floor windows) and charcoal black zinc for the standing seam roof. The whole ground floor level is made up of flamed-finish granite with bands and recesses, historically referencing Victorian rusticated entrance levels.

Metal veil concept detail

The interior layout includes a lobby, formal dining room, prep kitchen, receiving room/study, toilets, cloakroom, staircase and lift at ground floor level. On the first floor are located a formal reception room, family room, family kitchen, toilet, lift, stair and rear terraced area. On the second floor are the master suite with dressing rooms, wardrobes, bath and shower rooms, lift and stair, whilst the third floor is comprised of two further en suite bedrooms, linen and dressing rooms, with one of the bedrooms taking the form of a duplex space with sitting area and study space.  The fourth floor contains the mezzanine level of bedroom three and a fourth en suite bedroom, along with the lift fore and an air-conditioning condenser room.

Below ground, a new triple basement includes a prep kitchen, laundry utilities and plant rooms and a staff suite at lower-ground level. At minus two level there are leisure facilities, which include a pool, spa and deck; lobby and changing rooms; steam and sauna rooms and a changing area with toilets and showers. A media room (with popcorn and drinks machines) and plant/service areas are proposed at minus three level.

Circulation for the scheme includes a lift through all levels, a dramatic internal stair from ground to fourth floor levels and an external stair leading from the ground to the lower ground levels at the front of the property.

Proposed new street view (from St James’s Street)

SHH is a 50-strong architectural and interiors practice, which specialises in prime residential property design, alongside commercial and hospitality projects. The practice has over 75 creative awards and nominations to its name from three continents, including an RIBA Manser Medal shortlisting; three Commercial Architecture Awards; an International Property Award; two UK Property Awards; an Estates Gazette Award; two Leisure Property Awards; a Building Design Architect of the Year Awards nomination; two FX Awards; an ADEX Gold Award; an International Design & Architecture Award and three Restaurant & Bar Design Awards. The company’s founders regularly speak on architecture and design at conferences for, amongst others, the NLA, the London Design Festival, Construct Canada, the Prime Residential Conference, the Hospitality Show, FOCUS and The Interiors Show.

Bolon Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

Posted on May 20, 2013 by Megan

Launch of a new studio tile during Clerkenwell Design Week

2013 marks the 10 year anniversary since sisters Annica and Marie Eklund, third generation in the family company, took over Bolon and transformed it from a traditional weaving mill into a global design brand.  To celebrate the remarkable and inspiring journey the Swedish design company has been going through since its start in 1949, the company is now releasing an exclusive book and a new shape of Bolon studio tiles where a wide range of collections are explored in a vibrant expression.

The book, “The Story of Bolon”, is a flirtatious dalliance with the fine books found on the coffee tables of the fashion world and has a wealth of photographs and interviews with some of the world’s foremost creators, designers and architects; from Rosita Missoni, Jean Nouvel and Giulio Cappellini to Thomas Sandell and Gert Wingårdh.  The man behind the photographs is Tobias Regell, with a portfolio including both H&M and Bentley.  The editor is well known journalist Simon Mills, bespoke editor at Wallpaper and contributor to a number of magazines.

The brand new Bolon Studio tile, entitled “Wing”, allows architects and designers to utilise Bolon’s earlier collections into one masterpiece – adding an extra visual dimension to wherever it’s installed.  By combining different colours and collections in the new shape it’s possible to create a whole spectrum of different designs.  Together with the attitude and the graphic feel of “Wing” the creative possibilities are endless.

Get the story and get on our newest floor at Bolon’s new-look showroom during Clerkenwell design week whilst enjoying a glass of bubbly selected by the world’s number one champagne expert, Richard Juhlin.

‘Hooked’ on the Buster + Punch debut home product collection

Posted on May 9, 2013 by Megan

‘Buster + Punch create daring and exquisite home products that celebrate custom living and being individual. It all started in a small garage in East London, where they discovered a passion for customising the things they love, from light fittings to motorcycles, furniture to leather jackets. This devotion to craftsmanship has given birth to their debut collection called Hooked.

Hooked explores the darker side of life, drawn from a world of custom motorcycles and rockstar lifestyle. The burnt rubber of a Harley, knurled grip of the volume knob and sensual touch of quilted silk, have inspired solid brass light fittings, whiskey bars, wingback chairs and even a limited edition motorcycle. This has nothing to do with uniformity and everything to do with standing out from the crowd. Welcome to their world.

 Buster + Punch will also be exhibiting their debut collection for the first time in Clerkenwell Design Week next week. 

Clerkenwell Design Week

Posted on May 1, 2013 by Richard

The fourth annual Clerkenwell Design Week (CDW) will welcome over 200 designers and manufacturers from Britain and across the globe, as they showcase their latest designs against the extraordinary backdrop of historic Clerkenwell. With an enhanced format including increased exhibition spaces, an array of curated projects and a rolling programme of talks and seminars from leading design experts, the three-day festival is firmly established as one of the most influential and innovative events on the international design calendar.

In addition to the fifty-strong community of furniture showrooms, CDW’s exhibition venues represent centuries of the area’s history. The Farmiloe Building, a former Victorian merchants’ warehouse, will play host to high-profile international brands; The House of Detention, a subterranean Victorian prison, will form the festival’s hotspot for new designers, and the 12th century crypt and charming garden of the Priory of the Order of St. John, will act as the hub for interior decoration trends. For 2013 ‘Covered at Charterhouse Square’ will also be launched – a pop-up venue in one of Clerkenwell’s many open spaces showcasing surfaces brands for the resident A&D community.

2013 sees a huge number of brands returning to the festival including Vitra, Knoll, Boss, Domus Tiles, Deadgood, Dare Studio, Jennifer Newman, Muuto, Magis, Zanotta, Johnson Tiles, Dezeen and many more. The event also witnesses a vast number of newcomers as more and more brands take residence in Clerkenwell realising its importance as a key creative hub in the UK and CDW as one of the most important events on the design calendar. Newcomers to the festival include: Arper, Brintons, Royal Mosa, Foscarini, Vitamin, Holloways of Ludlow, Se London, Plumen, Sharon Marston, CDS Tiles… the list goes on.

Talks, debates and parties will take place across the festival with renowned names including Tom Dyckhoff, Patricia Urquiola, The Bouroullec Brothers, Martin Ballendat, Christophe Egret, Shin Azumi, Kirsten Zumstein, Sam Jacobs, Sam Hecht and Sarah Ochioka speaking at various events, with more to be announced

Each year CDW commissions and works with various design and architecture studios to create one off installations for the event. This year they will be working with Assemble Studio, Design Exquis, Mobile Studio, Architecture for Humanity and LubnaChowdhary and Giles Miller with more to be announced. The headline sponsor Jaguar, will this year be working on a top secret competition with the RCA with more to be announced soon.

Register for free entry here.