We have really enjoyed exploring all the winners of this year’s RIBA Awards. They are awarded to architectural projects throughout the UK, recognised for their significant contribution to British architecture. Unfortunately, we cannot go and visit every one of them (if only we had the time). So, we have had to rely on a great many plans, photographs and other people’s impressions. No matter – each of them has something very special to offer and we have loved every minute of our research.
Trends in Architecture
We have noticed over recent years a strong move towards mixed use developments, particularly in London and other big cities. They often make use of brownfield sites and derelict or under-used spaces in central areas. These are sites ripe for redevelopment, sitting in the heart of our cities. Residential accommodation no longer stands alone. Projects are planned to include retail and office space plus cafés and restaurants, creating micro communities and a sense of belonging. These are much friendlier spaces than many of their earlier counterparts. With everything close to hand, such developments can reduce travelling, increase interaction with retailers and neighbours, and form the basis of a seamless modern lifestyle.
Luxury Furniture Recommendations
As specialists in residential property development, interior design and luxury furniture retail, we have chosen our 5 favourite residential projects. Of course, being a website dedicated to luxury furniture, designer sofas, beautiful beds and designer dining, we have offered a few recommendations of the luxury furniture we would include in each interior (if only we were fortunate enough to be doing the interior design). Maybe you would choose very different pieces? Let us know how you would furnish these stunning interiors.
by 6a architects
RIBA South West Award, RIBA South West Conservation Award, RIBA National Award
This early 20th century house on the Devon coast has survived against the odds. The option of complete reconstruction was shelved in favour of a more sympathetic renovation, retaining much of the original structure. The result is a breathtaking transformation – although you wouldn’t necessarily know just how dramatic it is from the outside.
The building is enveloped in an energy-efficient wrap and faced with reclaimed slate. This traditional exterior then conceals a clean, open and reinvented interior with grand open spaces, exposed beams and extended windows, framing views of the sea and the South Devon Coastal Path. Walls are of painted stone but the incorporation of wood-marked concrete brings a fresh, contemporary feel throughout. The winding, 3 storey stairwell with its simple but striking maple handrail and beautifully-shaped oak spindles leads to a top-lit atrium. We love the sleek, flowing design with plenty of traditional touches, perfect for sociable and family living.
Luxury Furniture for the Coastal House
by Amin Taha + Groupwork
RIBA London Award and RIBA National Award
This is an intelligent, well-planned re-working of suburban family home in West London. The beautiful front door gives a tiny hint of what is to come as the compact, unassuming shell hides a spectacular, modern interior. The architects added a sleek extension to the rear of the building, keeping an existing tree as part of the design – a master stroke, in our opinion. What they have created is a superb, flexible living space across 5 levels, with clever innovations such as the pivoting cabinet shown below, allowing the owners to convert an office into a secluded guest bedroom at a moment’s notice.
The extensive use of wood gives a warm, welcoming feel, contrasting with the more industrial elements of metal, concrete and brick. The piece-de-resistance for us has to be the stairwell – a stunning column of criss-cross wire threads, allowing light to flood every level of the house. With garden, parking and even a wine cellar, this home caters for every need of owners and guests. It would be a haven of peace and tranquillity in such a bustling city.
Luxury Furniture for the Flexible House
by Wilkinson Eyre
RIBA London Award, RIBA National Award
This stunning project has popped up again (last time, in case you missed it, was in the form of cake during London Festival of Architecture and, before that, in our first LFA post where we extolled the virtues of the Kings Cross redevelopment). We have a very soft spot for this development of 145 distinctive canalside apartments, a dominant feature on the regenerated Kings Cross skyline. Wilkinson Eyre took three, Grade II listed, cast iron gasholders and turned them into a fabulous, luxury living space.
Originally constructed in 1867, the gasholder frames now encompass three residential drums of differing heights, mirroring how they would have appeared when still in use. Each drum has a central atrium, allowing light into the interior, and the architects also created a fourth circle in the form of a central courtyard between the three residential drums. The residential drums are clad in striking steel and glass panels with a skin of folding, perforated screens whose circular patterns allow dappled light into the interior. Full height, triple glazed windows give panoramic views across the canal and the newly-refurbished Kings Cross area. The judges praised this façade, addressing as it does the challenges of privacy, shading and window dressing, whilst celebrating the industrial heritage of the gasholders.
Interiors blend past and present, with wonderful use of warm woods, stone and industrial metals. Because of their shape, apartments enjoy glorious curves and segment shapes that are definitely out of the ordinary. Team this with a stunning canalside location, a breathtaking roof garden and an array of exclusive amenities and this is most certainly not your everyday box. Everything about this development celebrates the heritage of its heavy industrial past but without being obvious or clichéd. For anyone looking for luxury living in the heart of the city, close to transport links but with its own village feel, this surely has to be on the shortlist.
Luxury Furniture for Gasholders London
by Haysom Ward Miller Architects
RIAS Award, RIBA Award for Scotland
Tucked into the glorious surroundings of the Scottish Highlands, this gem of a house nestles into the established landscape. It is a modest, highly energy-efficient and sustainable home, designed to have minimal impact upon its location. The house is set to be completely off-grid, with its own water supply, sewage treatment and electricity generation system.
Clad in charred Scottish larch, the scale of the building fits in with other small buildings and shelters in the area but in no way tries to copy the style of existing buildings. The simple use of local stone, timber and clean lines is traditional and common with local croft houses but this modern home still manages to be dramatically different.
The intention was for the house to leave flora and fauna as undisturbed as possible and, as such, it has been left to sit in its natural landscape, without the need for a conventional garden. Native species will also be re-established, while existing birch, alder and larch will be supplemented by the addition of native heathers and juniper. The interior is clean and contemporary with light woods, minimal furnishings and full height windows to let in plenty of light and give spectacular views across the water to the imposing mountains beyond. This is a beautiful, contemporary house, designed with far more than just the client in mind.
Luxury Furniture for Lochside House
by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
RIBA London Award, RIBA National Award
In an area that has seen a significant amount of change in recent years, this Weston Street development in South London slots neatly into an area of very mixed architectural styles. Sitting in the shadow of the neighbouring Shard, the 8 interlocking apartments sit atop a large, Brutalist office space, facing south across a neighbouring park and conservation area. Think Tetris in 3D.
The superbly-crafted, triple level apartments offer a flowing, open plan, eat-live-work space with doors only to bedrooms and bathrooms. Light is borrowed and shared throughout the apartment but the split levels mean that each space is a separate room in its own right. Cast, board-marked concrete works with oak and walnut to create warm, welcoming interiors while large picture windows with built-in blinds give fabulous views and allow in plenty of light. Cast concrete balconies jut boldly out of the building’s south face, giving residents a much-coveted piece of outdoor space.
Interior fittings have been cleverly thought out to incorporate copious amounts of storage for everyday items from ironing boards to books. And communal areas have not been overlooked either. Open and airy, with the same warm materials and attention to detail, stairways are friendly spaces – somewhere to stop and chat with neighbours. Every inch of space in this development is intricately designed to create spacious, light and airy homes, perfect for 21st century living.
Luxury Furniture for Weston Street
What do you think?
Which luxury sofa, designer dining set or luxury bed would you choose for each of these winning designs? Let us know your thoughts.