Abode2 discovers what it takes, designing the penthouse at Belvedere Gardens

Prominently positioned at the forefront of Southbank Place, with sweeping views of the Houses of Parliament, London Eye and across the River Thames onto the City of London, is The Penthouse at Belvedere Gardens, a spectacular four-bedroom apartment. Designed and dressed by the award-winning luxury design studio Goddard Littlefair, a collection of bespoke features, details and artwork have been specially curated to create one of London’s most exclusive residences.

Goddard Littlefair has celebrated art and craftsmanship throughout the apartment, working in partnership with boutique UK artisans such as art specialists Studio Graphite, with the interiors depicting culture and nature through subtle elements that tailor to the design narrative in each room.

Jo Littlefair, Co-Founder at Goddard Littlefair, commented: “From the outset, London and in particular the Southbank has influenced the design narrative for the interiors at Belvedere Gardens. The optimism of the Festival of Britain, the investment in the future, the innovations in architecture and design that spiralled out of that era were all deeply inspiring as was the fact that all the arts play a part in creating the ambience that is the Southbank.

“When it came to commissioning the art collection for the penthouse, we very much wanted to engender the feeling of a private collection united by a passion for this international city.  We felt there would be an underlying desire to commission and collect pieces that were both created by local artisans and reflective of the city in less obvious ways. We’re delighted with the results which are all completely bespoke and original.”

A key room in the penthouse is the dining area, which has been designed to impress guests and provide a memorable setting. The hand-crafted dining room table stretches 4.4 metres in length and features Patagonia stone with bronze tubular legs. Long, narrow tables maximize the number of guests along the perimeter and create a sense of occasion.

Overlooking the grand dining table, hung from bespoke metal rods over the silk panel wall, is a set of five original acrylic paintings on canvas (‘Deco’ series) designed by the Studio Graphite team. The paintings consist of abstracted shapes in subtle tones inspired by mid-century painters, with interlocking organic forms and black shadow details.

Positioned in the niche of the kitchen/dining area is an original acrylic painting by Louise Seabrook (Rust Abstraction), which presents a dark form contrasting with the rust-coloured surface. Light action brush strokes draw your eyes in and provide a captivating feature artwork that adds a touch of sophistication to the room.

The design of the double height lounge has been assembled for residents to watch the sun set or rise, with the apartment’s elevated position lifting them above the cityscape, in perfect view of the London Eye. One of the main features in the lounge is the Amber handblown glass disks, suspended on antique brass clasps to lift the eye and appreciate the double height space in the lounge, forming a large chandelier.

The disks on this stunning chandelier have been created by using bicarbonate of soda. This has created a delicate effervescent texture to the glass that glistens in the light during the day whilst becomes like a constellation in the evening. By choosing a large stand out chandelier in the lounge, it also doubles up as a piece of artwork and sculpture.

Also in the lounge is a captivating brass wall sculpture (Icarus), which is a twisting wing of curved brass fins, designed by Studio Graphite, developing organic forms that splay out from the wall letting the light filter through, casting playful shadows. The artisans worked with a jeweller to create delicate shapes and a planished finish that create beautiful shadows whilst shining in the natural light.

Discussing the design of the sculpture, Louise Seabrook at Studio Graphite, commented: “Inspired by nature and the articulation of a birds wing, the feathers splaying out, a rhythm, a turn in flight, a re-imagining of the London eye as the sun. Open and light in form, this sculptural piece required a careful balance of metal blades supported from a twisting spine. It was pre-assembled piece by piece and re-adjusted before final silver soldering.

“Creating the wall sculpture for this prestigious penthouse required a careful balance between making an impressive statement piece, but not forgetting it’s residential setting. High quality craftsmanship was of the utmost importance to us and working closely with a jeweller whose attention to detail was remarkable allowed us to realise our vision.”

The views across London are a real eye catcher and are reflected in the double height mirrored fireplace, located between the lounge and the dining area. The fireplace enlarges the appearance of the dining room and offers views through to the lounge and furthermore provides reflective views across the city. The artwork series in the dining area is mounted on antique brass arms with bronze silk panelling which helps to create a homely feeling to this grand apartment.

Across the entrance hallway are the two master bedroom suites, which both include spacious walk-in-dressing areas. The principal double-height master, located at the front of the penthouse, includes access to a private balcony, and features an impressive headboard with embroidery that shimmers in the light. This wonderful headboard has been handmade by a team of artisan embroiders in India, the piece combined craftmanship and evokes memories of the couple’s travels to the country. The design of the headboard has been inspired by the Gingko leaf.

Also in the master bedroom is a paper sculpture artwork by Quentin Wright (Circles), with 144 hand ripped water colour fins spaced and cut to form a captivating floating circle. Within this is positioned a further hand painted circle, which reveals itself as the viewer moves to the front of the piece. The artwork is presented in a beautiful clear acrylic box frame and accentuates the bright space.

Goddard Littlefair were also responsible for the design of the interiors across the entire Belvedere Gardens development, which comprises 97 apartments across 20 floors. The studio designed all apartments, the communal areas, entrance lobby and resident’s lounge. For the public spaces, Goddard Littlefair continued to refer to the narrative of the lifestyle and culture created by Southbank Place, whilst taking inspiration from the Festival of Britain, which was located on the site in 1951.

Upon arrival there is an oversized glazed, bronze lined double door which leads to a double height lobby area. The most striking feature is the three-dimensional stone sculpture, the mesmerising design was created from hand sketches by Martin Goddard who oversaw the selection of the stone.

The super-luxury spa and health facility located at Southbank Place was also designed by Goddard Littlefair. The health club creates an immersive feeling of light and space due to innovative lighting concepts and a fresh and light palette of materials. One of the challenges with the health club was the fact that it is in a basement. To overcome this, Goddard Littlefair collaborated with the team from Design Plus to introduce a system of sensory experiences throughout the spa.

Residents of The Penthouse at Belvedere Gardens can enjoy use of the 17,000 square foot health club located in the basement of the development. The exclusive amenities space includes a 25-metre swimming pool, his and hers steam and sauna rooms, expansive gymnasium with specialist workout rooms, relaxation pods, treatment rooms and a hair and beauty studio.