This project involved the radical reworking of a 1980’s office building creating 54 apartments. The existing building was stripped back to the frame and extended to form a striking volumetric composition with a prominent twelve storey vertical element. The companies were to deliver authentic loft style apartments taking into account the location and history of the existing building. The client identified the potential of refurbishing the building for residential use, and was attracted to its central location, the views available from the upper floors and also the generous floor to ceiling heights (3.8m floor to floor). The existing building structure has a long future design life and therefore it made economic and environmental sense for this to be retained. The existing envelope was removed in its entirety and the building stripped out internally. The collaboration during the course of the project between Alchemi Group, Studio L London and Stiff + Trevillion was a key aspect of the project. The final product would not have come out so beautifully and cohesively if all companies did not have the same goal in mind from the outset. All the while, respecting each other’s voice in achieving the outcome. The designers believe that the project works so well because the concept of the development was clear from the start and never wavered. From the inception, Laura Marino of Alchemi Group and Studio L London, knew she wanted to deliver authentic loft style apartments but in order to achieve this; the choice of architect was paramount. They needed to have a sympathetic aesthetic and be willing to work with her even in the moments they might not agree.
Taking into account the location and history is key to what the designers like to achieve. Alchemi Group were the first developer to insist on using brick, which picks up on the neighbouring buildings and streets that surround, whilst also honouring the architectural history of the area. Even though it’s a modern design, it’s also current and timeless because of the materials and the way they are used. Some items that involved specialist/artisan skills include; specialist charcoal-fired, handmade bricks from Denmark chosen for the facade to make the building feel as substantial as its presence. The internal design encapsulated many bespoke elements such as the kitchen cabinetry and backsplashes, joinery and ironmongery details as well as commissioning a ceramic artist to design a unique and large piece for the lobby. Speciality lighting was a key aspect in the communal areas and was designed by PSLab, a lighting collective from Beirut. All of these elements lead to a truly unique design.
“We are so proud of how this project turned out and the whole process that went into creating it. The entire development has a distinct personality. From the second you look at the exterior, then enter the lobby and move through the building and apartments, irrespective of their size, it tells a story. The team’s attention to detail ensured that everything fits together seamlessly and has combined a unique vision of New York inspired urban living with a quintessentially British location resulting in a truly unique design. From the outset, you are on a journey creating a comprehensive experience as you move through the development. It’s not just another nice development; it has soul and character to it.” says Laura Marino, Creative Director/Founder of Alchemi Group and Studio L, London.