From concrete to mid-century design: The inspiration for South bank tower
The South Bank area of London is unrecognisable compared to 40 years ago, having undertaken a rejuvenation as a residential and cultural hub at a speed rarely seen elsewhere in London. Therefore, when we were appointed to design a new show apartment at South Bank Tower by developers CIT, we jumped at the opportunity. We are always passionate about our work, but a location so rich in history and culture from which to draw inspiration is a dream for any designer.
As a designer which prides itself on having no particular ‘house style’, we had no pre-conceived ideas of what the end result would be on the project. Therefore, as with any new client, we start with a blank sheet of paper and our panel of expert designers get to work to understand as much as possible about the history of the area and the space of the building with a laser-like focus on the design brief provided by the client.
What became very clear early on in the project was that it was crucial to reflect the combination of the industrial heritage of the area and the South Bank’s relatively new position as an internationally recognised cultural destination. In addition, its location adjacent to the Thames offered us ample inspiration, in particular the typical industrial materials found along the river.
South Bank Tower rises an impressive 41-storeys above the River Thames, offering spectacular views across London’s skyline. Within the building, the show apartment space is on the 24th floor overlooking the river and offered a blank canvass of modern lateral living, with three bedrooms and extensive living areas.
What we have ended up with in the final finish is a shift of focus from concrete to mid-century design resulting in an elegant and classic finish, with the overall look both crisp and architectural, inspired by contrasting hard and soft textures such as navy linen and concrete panels. Drawing on the surrounding hardscape, industrial materials found along the Thames including concrete, brass and blackened steel are used extensively in the apartment. At the same time, we have contrasted this with softer, tactile textures such as velvet and leather, reflecting the creative, fashion-led atmosphere of the South Bank.
The master bedroom has been given its own distinct identity, incorporating a minimal palette of bronze, black and brass. The guest bedroom is contrasted with a more relaxed feel, inspired by the Kelly Wearstler wallpaper, whose distinctive burgundy and white patterned wallpaper features in the room.
Acting as an extension of the living area, the apartment also incorporates a winter garden, providing indoor-outdoor space throughout the year. The deep burgundy and orange palate in this area was a focus pulled from seasonal trends, keeping in line with the playful nature of the Kelly Wearstler wallpaper.
Overall, we are incredibly proud of the final look of the apartment. As with all our projects, our aim is to tell the story about a building, its surroundings and the heritage of the place. I hope you would agree that we have done that story justice.