Collaboration is key to the success of any residential development, but when the collaborators happen to be an assembly of world-class design and development specialists, the result is nothing short of spectacular. Comprising 42 exclusive apartments in the heart of London’s Mayfair, Burlington Gate is a project spearheaded by investment and development company Native Land, whose ever-burgeoning portfolio also includes Holland Park Villas, Cheyne Terrace and the South Bank’s award-winning NEO Bankside. This new development, designed in conjunction with world-renowned architectural firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, is a homage to the host of unique art galleries scattered around its Cork Street location. Taking inspiration from the district’s rich cultural heritage, with its soaring atrium, light-filled, studio-like spaces and London’s first new arcade since the 1930s, this contemporary build is a respectful yet forward-thinking addition to an already illustrious address.
With the interior architecture completed to the highest possible standard by RSHP, the baton was then passed to the team at David Collins Studio, who were charged with bringing the spacious penthouse to life. Located on the 7th and 8th floors of the build, this brand-new duplex apartment features a striking entrance hall, a generous, open-plan living space with kitchen and dining area, a master bedroom with dressing room and master bathroom and two further en suite bedrooms. Two terraces, both with picture perfect views of the capital stretching out towards the London Eye complete the incomparable offering. ‘I’d worked with Alasdair Nicholls [Co-Founder of Native Land] in the early 1990’s in his previous role at Taylor Woodrow’ explains Iain Watson, Founder & CEO at David Collins Studio. ‘He launched Native Land in 2003, and they went on to really set the tone for a new standard in residential developments. A number of high-profile interior designers were working on their show apartments, with varying approaches and very different styles; they invest in that way to really bring out the personality of each project.’
The brief for David Collins Studio, headed up by Creative Director Simon Rawlings, was to pull together a calming and liveable environment that would appeal to a diverse international market, while also generating scope for entertaining and events. With this in mind, the team focussed on adding another layer of depth and glamour as well as some quintessential David Collins Studio elements to the already impressive space. Walls are lined with tactile wallcoverings, many of them textural silk, while rooms are furnished with a number of bespoke pieces, as well as items from the David Collins Studio collection for Promemoria. Also imbuing the apartment with the studio’s subtle yet instantly recognisable style is a clutch of classic David Collins Studio designs, that find a comfortable new home in this contemporary environment. ‘We commissioned several custom pieces including the glass-topped coffee table, the side table, which has a specialist gesso surface, and the curved sofa that helps enhance the flow of the space’ says Louise Lythe, Associate Director at David Collins Studio. ‘There are also some iconic DCS slipper chairs that can be seen in images of David’s apartment, as well as a version of The Connaught bar trolley in the kitchen, and the Hibernia mirror in the entry way, which was originally designed for The Connaught too.’ David Collins Studio x Promemoria dining chairs surround the custom dining table, while some carefully chosen vintage pieces add warmth and character. ‘We source items from antique and contemporary furniture galleries, including local galleries on the Pimlico Road and Lillie Road’ says Louise. ‘But more than provenance, it’s about finding a piece with the right shape and structure, that can be reupholstered and or reinvigorated in some other way.’ Floor to ceiling windows are dressed using smart, knife pleat curtains, heat treated so as to create crisp, tailored folds. Offset against rich, dark walls, the ochre fabric adds to an inviting palette of jewel-like shades, including David Collins Studio’s signature blue, which together set the tone for the sophisticated scheme.
Move upstairs and that palette softens to a soothing combination of pale creams, pinks, blues and greens, and custom designs include a David Collins Studio leather wrapped bed flanked by a pair of custom bedside tables inspired by a pair designed for The Connaught Apartment. ‘These are in a shagreen finish with cord-wrapped legs, but the originals were made in lacquer’ explains Louise. ‘We always try to weave in a craft aspect, be that hand stitched hide, silver or gold leaf, or something like cracked gesso, which has become synonymous with the studio over the years. We’ve built up an incredible network of artisans, so can develop finishes and colours to adapt to each scheme; it’s about working with the most skilled people to achieve the best result.’ Textiles include fabrics by Northern Irish designer Jude Cassidy, a favourite of David Collins himself, as well as a custom silk carpet in pinks, ivories and purples, a design created with David Collins and used it various projects in a range colourways. Adding an element of softness to the master bathroom, a custom curved bench wraps snugly around the freestanding tub.
Completing the roster of successful project partnerships is the studio’s collaboration with London-based art consultancy Artiq. With a client base that reaches throughout the UK, Europe and the Middle East, the team, headed up by Founder Patrick McCrae, are experts in the procurement and curation of rentable art. ‘We put together collections that are relevant and tell a story, and we’ve been working with David Collins Studio for a number of years’ says Patrick. ‘It’s a multi-stage process; we start by really understanding what the client wants the art to say, then we look at swatches, and the different materials that they’re looking to incorporate. And while we work hard to fulfil the brief, we always try to add our expertise to the mix as well.’
Taking the area’s strong art influence in to consideration, works were expertly chosen to look like a collector’s collection built up over a number of years, and the roll call of international artists includes Omar Obaid, whose colourful and emotive oil and acrylic work hangs above the fireplace, a sculpture by avant-garde duo Fredrikson Stallard, and a three-dimensional monofilament triptych by Korean artist Sun Ju Lee, vertically mounted in the stairwell. ‘You get amazing light coming through, so the pieces really interact with space’ says Patrick. ‘It is the definition of an interior working with the art, and an absolute match made in heaven.’
Claudia Baillie is a design, interiors, lifestyle and travel writer based in London.
Julian Abrams is an interiors and architecture photographer based in London.
A formidable address, one that is a very short step from Savile Row and at a glance off Cork Street. A selection of music was curated to soundtrack the apartment: we loved the cinematic notion that being in the apartment resonated with drama and intrigue, pulling the selection of music towards soundtrack, film score and instrumental pieces.
An apartment unlike any other - a beautiful secret - the building is a definition of intelligent technology and future architecture. On the seventh floor the noise of the street retreats and softens - the view is across the rooftops of some of the world’s eminent sartorial houses. Here everything feels languid in gorgeous contrast to the exacting geometry of the building.
From the soundtrack to Paul Anderson's Inherent Vice comes a soft amber glow from a contemporary master of film score.
The apartment is an intriguing series of environments each with a subtle composition of mood and energy - it is an aesthetic which belongs to no specific era or influence. The only constant is a delicate balance between the stately, the precise and the pristine, played against a softer, organic and nonchalant ease.
A gorgeous exotic hybrid of modal jazz and Eastern exotica, less a record and more a deep pool of swooning romance.
The perfect home is an emotional response to every sentiment; the ability to provoke emotion using exquisite and precious materials without erring into the region of ostentation is instinctive to David Collins Studio.
The beautiful sound of slow shadows moving across walls, a warm and seductive drift, abstract and removed from any rhythm.
The contemporary home is a complex notion: intimacy, welcome and comfort coupled with the technology that we rely on. Although there is no apparent, obvious reason it feels unmistakably, singularly of its own time.
Graham Erickson is a freelance editor and writer living in London.
Kensington Leverne is a fashion and interiors photographer living in London.