Maida Vale Arcadia has been one of the very best. A traditional villa, already brilliantly modernised by a talented team of architects at 318 Studio; a creative, colourful and charismatic family; an exceptional contractor and a very short timescale.
What more could we ask for?
Long-standing clients with a clear vision of their forever family home asked us to inject light and life into this architectural gem.
With the clock loudly ticking we focused first on the redesign of the bathrooms – the most invasive element of our refurbishment and the rooms with the longest lead time items. We were clear that we wanted to remain true to the minimal architectural spirit drawn through the building, but inject a more textural, natural thread with every decision.
A visible and visceral connection with nature was a formative client requirement. The red thread was to be green, expressed as much on the inside as the outside. The flow of family life from within to without is invigoratingly captured in the open-plan kitchen, dining and living room but also in whimsical details like the moss-covered wall in the cloakroom and the green crystal petals of the Studio Tord Boontje chandelier that graces the lobby.
Lighting as functional sculpture is another theme that runs through the house, with the first welcoming olive branch to the 3m long constellation by Quasar that links lower and upper ground floors, striking through the void like a meteor.
The main reception room was ecclesiastical in proportion and monastic in sensation. The challenge was to create a warm, welcoming space for elegantly laid-back lounging, while camouflaging the TV and making space for huge works of art.
While colour pulses through the lower floors, the private floors above are more muted, using natural stone, plaster finishes and whitened wood to create spaces that calm and soothe. Stone sculptures from the John Pawson and Piet Boon collections from Cocoon stretch across or stand in Salvatori stone-scapes, linear forms used as minimally as possible in each of the bathrooms.
The overall impression of this modern Arcadia is harmonious, energising, artistic, and architectural. It combines creative zing with moments of deep calm – allowing this family to lean in or sit back as required.
Apartment of the year '21