Getting its name from the rather interesting collection of white buildings and waterways which were specifically built for the Franco-British Exhibition of 1908, White City has developed over the years to become one of west London’s most up-and-coming hotspots – including the masterpiece that is The Television Centre. Formerly home of the BBC for over 50 years, the Grade-II listed building has become an iconic piece of architecture. Purchased by developers Stanhope Plc back in 2012, and together with Stirling prize-winning architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM), their modern and sensitive approach in redeveloping the building into residential and commercial spaces was a triumph in every aspect. Upon opening its doors to the public in 2017, Stanhope and AHMM unveiled a collection of premium apartments and penthouses designed by some of the country’s most highly regarded architects – from Waldo Works, Archer Humphryes Architects and including interior designers such as Fran Hickman, Cassina and BoConcept. Two apartments caught our eye for their unique take on design, tribute to the structure’s undeniable legacy and fresh take on interiors.
Nestled on the top two floors of the historic Helios building, the latest penthouse unveiling within The Architects’ Series proved to do everything but disappoint. Stanhope knew exactly who to turn to when it came to designing the interiors of this colossal space, which spans over 4,000 square feet. Tom Bartlett of Waldo Works, known for his use of daring colours and creating interiors with punctuated character, took inspiration from the location and 1950s British interior design to present a truly inspiring and indulgent space. The home clearly evokes architectural brilliance through its daring and innovative design – something which Waldo Works have mastered since being founded over ten years ago. The man himself elaborated on the design process throughout the project and how the building’s legacy inspired his creation.
How did you initially approach designing this new space within the Television Centre?
We looked at the history of the sites and the graphic language around its inception. It was an era of such positivity and enthusiasm that resonated with us. We wanted the interiors, which were quite serious when we inherited them, to be infected by that. We looked at the geometry of the language of broadcasting architecture, things like TV aerial masts and satellite dishes too for inspiration. Hopefully the interior design, although incredibly luxurious, also has a sense of playfulness and joy to it.
As the largest penthouse in W12, you were given a lot of space to work with. How was this both a challenge and luxury?
The space is arranged around the circular courtyard of broadcasting house, so the interiors are wedge shaped. The larger top floor spaces were pretty difficult to lay out because of this. I am particularly pleased with the relatively intimate seating area, which we have made incredibly comfortable and generous.
Tell us more about the unique colour selection you used throughout the penthouse.
We looked at the bedrooms as separate entities, really inhabiting their own world and picked a colour scheme we thought was appropriate to their aspect and users. The primary scheme in a child’s bedroom, the classic blue and white scheme of a guest room, and the natural textural scheme of the master bedroom are ones we often return to. Upstairs we wanted to weave in key colours across all the rooms with different proportions and intestines. A sort of brick colour appears as well as a strong teal in pretty much all of the interiors of this floor.
Describe the home in three words.
Considered, Functional, Happy.
Dramatic, distinctive and dynamic, luxury furniture brand Cassina were onboard to dress a beautiful three-bedroom apartment within the iconic framework that is the Helios building. Evoking opulence from the onset, from the bespoke furnishings, luxe fittings and clever additions, the final result is an indulgent space which manages to keep that reserved feel intact. The overall neutral colour scheme punctuated throughout was more than just a design decision, allowing for the one of a kind furnishing pieces to shine on their own and showcase their narrative within the space they were placed in. Cassina’s Chief Executive Officer, Luca Fuso, dished all there was to know about the design process and story behind their decision in dressing the home.
What interiors aesthetic did Cassina plan to evoke in their styling?
The design aesthetic considered for our first fully furnished penthouse in London at the prestigious TVC best represents ‘The Cassina Perspective’. This concept unites the collection’s most innovative designs with iconic classics, unique to Cassina, to create complete, and, above all, warm and welcoming atmospheres. The Cassina aesthetic is propelled by avant-gardism, authenticity, design excellence and the combination of technological capability with skilled handcraftsmanship. The project respects the heritage of the building while incorporating a sophisticated interior for a London clientele who is particularly interested in design and high-end, quality products.
Did the legacy of the building influence your approach to the project?
The building’s legacy was fully respected by Cassina. With over 90 years of design history, we understand the importance of maintaining authenticity and safeguarding patrimony while evolving to respond to modern times. This concept is particularly evident in the way that Cassina researches and develops the works in the Maestri Collection, which is composed of reissued pieces from the great architects of the 20th Century, such as Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand, Charles Rennie Mackintosch and Frank Lloyd Wright, just to name a few. We carry out painstacking research to develop the original project while working with the official foundations and heirs of the authors to produce these icons for contemporary use with the greatest aspect.
How did natural light play a role in your design process?
The apartment is flanked by East and West-facing door-to-ceiling windows, allowing plenty of natural light to filter through throughout the day. The soft and neutral colour palette was chosen to give value to this natural light and to create an open and airy view over the West London landscape.
If that’s not enough, then perhaps it’s the seemingly endless array of amenities that cater to both the residents and public. From the highly raved Soho House White City, complete with its own rooftop pool, screening room and gym, to dining hotspots Homeslice, Bluebird and the exclusive 16-seat sushi restaurant Endo at the Rotunda – this White City pocket has it all. A development which triumphs in every aspect, the Television Centre pushes the boundaries of not only design-led living, but also of what residential living is evolving into – and we’re all for it.