Less is More. London Penthouse by GDC interiors – Archidom Exclusive Tour
GDC interiors has an international reputation for superlative interior design. They recently launched their new London show flat in Belgravia, one of London’s finest addresses, with its beautiful stucco terraces built by Thomas Cubit in 1840. Within easy access to the theatres of West End and the world famous shopping of Knightsbridge, Belgravia is a High Net Worth village and also a profoundly English place. The magnificent architectural surroundings and garden squares have traditionally attracted Embassies, Hollywood stars and celebrities from around the world.
Main Image: London Penthouse by GDC interiors
London Penthouse by GDC interiors
The flat has been decorated to an exacting standard, using the finest materials throughout, both for function and for 21st century sophisticated tastes and lifestyles. At first glance, the mood of the flat is very metropolitan/ New York, which contrasts well with the Neo-Classicism of the Belgravia architecture. At the same time there is a Zen-like calm in the design’s harmonious use of natural materials like limestone, timber and glass.
Profoundly of the belief that ‘the Devil is in the Detail’, GDC interiors oversaw every aspect of the design and manufacture. The challenge was to create a modern urban lifestyle apartment that was completely in harmony with the building’s 19th century architectural context. Respect of architectural context is always of paramount importance to GDC interiors. The key elements of GDC interiors’ design brief for their penthouse show flat was light, harmony and an understated elegance where less is definitely more.
The key elements of GDC interiors’ design brief for their penthouse show flat was light, harmony and an understated elegance where less is definitely more.
The primary aim was to create clean lines wherever possible. Accordingly a large 40’ open-plan space was created from one end of the building to the other. Yet there is a subtle sense of separation between the dining area and drawing room with a barely noticeable change in ceiling height between the two spaces.
Tonally the starting point was the pale white oak finish of the floors, to which all the handmade timber furniture and panelling in the apartment has all meticulously been matched. For fabric the gentle tones of a grey-green palette were chosen and everything was coordinated to that. Palimpsests of texture were then built up with the use of animal skins, velvets, linens, wools and silks.
Great flexibility was built into the design by the inclusion of large top-hung glass and timber sliding doors between the dining area and kitchen. This simple device allows for the kitchen to be closed off for more formal dining or integrated into the large open-plan for family dinners or parties.
The clean lines and purity of the otherwise fully functional kitchen – with nothing on display – serves to enhance the general design. State-of-the art appliances are hidden away behind white lacquer units. The chunky work surfaces are made of a luminous white stone and even the electric hob is white and blends into the mix. Soft mushroom tinted glass clad the kitchen walls and make for a subtle tonal and textural contrast.
Palimpsests of texture were then built up with the use of animal skins, velvets, linens, wools and silks.
The master bathroom is a work of art with its serenity, illusion of space and continuity of materials. Timber, limestone and mirrors have been used to great effect. The extraordinary wet-room shower made to GDC interiors’ design, allows for water to be trapped without the need for a shower door. A TV is set into the mirror wall that you can watch from the comfort of a jacuzzi bath. Other luxuries include remote controlled under-floor heating and towel rails and a futuristic pod shaped toilet.
The choice of art works is characterised by their understated simplicity. The tall African sculptures reminiscent of Giacometti, mystically parade the drawing room. Other art works appear as if frozen in boxes like the UFO obsessed vision of Michael Buhler; the magical delicacy of a coat that is entirely made of the wind-blown dandelion seed-heads sown as if by fairies in Adrian Bannon’s work; a large and deeply evocative black-and -white photograph of knarled and twisted branches. These paradoxical artworks – at once obsessive yet calm, ancient yet modern, simple yet opulent – add to the language of harmony to be found in this environment.
The choice of art works is characterised by their understated simplicity.
The design team keep up-to-date with all home automation technologies – and this is evident throughout the apartment with its smart-wiring system to all rooms. The aim was to ensure that the apartment would be as future-proof as possible in a fast-changing technological environment. Almost everything in the apartment – from audio-visual, mood-lighting, climate-control, curtains/blinds, gas fire, door entry – is easily controlled either remotely from your phone, or with touch-screen interfaces. Alternatively programmed schedules enable heating or lighting for example to come on at specific times or when movement is detected. A sophisticated security system enables complete peace of mind, with the use of web-cams and two-way speakers – allowing you to monitor the apartment from your phone or tablet wherever you are in the world.
Many of the design schemes’ features continue seamlessly onto the roof terrace including the pale hues of the timber decking. Other themes from within the apartment also find their echo here, including the gargantuan dandelion-head form of the Anthony Critchlow sculpture and Jim Partridge’s polished aluminium Wave Form seat. All around are the magnificent silhouettes of the London skyline, the circular form of the London Eye, the lit dome of Harrods, Norman Foster’s spectacular Gherkin tower and the gardens of Buckingham Palace.
The overwhelming impression left on the visitor to GDC interiors’ show flat is one of interior design as art.