Charu Gandhi

Elicyon’s design approach for the One Casson Square show apartment is firmly anchored in the buildings very specific locality and rich environs overlooking The Thames on the South Bank. This part of London courses with vibrancy, eclecticism and culture which Elicyon have masterfully captured through their interiors. 

London-Based Designer shares her approach and inspiration for this apartment

 

 

Charu, please can you tell us a bit about the overall approach and inspiration for this apartment?

The design approach for the project is firmly anchored in its very specific locality and rich environs overlooking The Thames on the South Bank. This part of London courses with vibrancy, eclecticism and culture and possesses an inspiring heritage. The apartment’s design pays homage to a history grounded in natural arts including potting and weaving and sits on the site of what was once the home of woollen cloth manufacturers, dye houses and tenter grounds. 

This innate creativity is subtly reflected throughout the apartment with a collection of carefully collated artworks. A striking piece of woven art by British artist Jo Robyn Elbourne hangs in the study and another by Christina Hesford can be found in the kitchen. Contemporary weaving techniques are notable throughout the dressings and fabrics which feature bleached cloth, natural dye and a number of bouclé selections.

The show apartment is beautiful, how do you combine beauty and function?

Sometimes we choose pieces simply because they are beautiful; we don’t believe that everything needs to serve a purpose. However, here we have been able to incorporate a number of exquisite pieces of furniture and also joinery that are at once beautiful and purposeful. The dining chairs are pieces of artwork in themselves – their sculptured form adds a great deal of interest and beauty to the dining space, but they are also exceptionally comfortable. The shelving in the study also blends form and beauty with function. 

The geometric design catches the eye and adds a sense of playfulness to the room whilst obviously serving a purpose

Have you shaped your design of the apartment around the views onto the River and across to the City?

We wanted to ensure we weren’t cluttering the incredible views, so avoided placing any furniture too close to the windows and specifically chose sculptural chandeliers of a certain size and drop that don’t overcrowd the space or interrupt the outlook. In the living area, we positioned the two George Smith sofas at a 45-degree angle to capitalise on the easterly views across The City – they really draw the eye out onto the skyline. In the master bedroom, which looks across to the river, we used elegant yet simple curtains to frame the views.

Have you shaped your design of the apartment around the views onto the River and across to the City?

Have you applied any ‘signature’ elements to the design or is it entirely specific to Southbank Place?

As a studio, we always take a very considered and thoughtful approach to each and every project. Our ‘signature’ is less of an exact style and more of a response which is tailored to the specific brief and the specific space.  This can be seen in the show apartment at Once Casson Square through the subtle references to the site’s singular location and history, as well as the ways in which our design celebrates the physical layout and flow of the apartment.

Mirroring the previous question, has the abundance of natural light through the floor-to-ceiling windows played a part in how you’ve set up various rooms?

We wanted to celebrate the abundance of natural light throughout our design. The amount of light allowed us to use slightly darker, rich tones on the walls and lots of textures – the master bedroom features beautifully textured wall coverings and there are moments of deep, rich colour throughout the apartment. We didn’t want to bleach the space and so worked with a ‘new neutrals’ colour palette – this complements the natural light and creates a space that is rich, warm and heartening, defined by autumnal colours, burnt oranges, mustards and rusts mixed with sandy tones.

What was your main inspiration behind the design of the apartment? Did you work with the design and shape of the building or the height and position of the apartment?

We wanted to root the design of the apartment in its context, and so our design approach for the apartment is firmly anchored in its very special South Bank and Thames-side location and in the site’s rich heritage. We wanted to subtly reference the vibrancy, eclecticism and culture of the area and its history as a hub of natural craft and art. This inspired our considered selection of textured artworks and bespoke furniture; our choice of dressings and fabrics featuring contemporary weaving techniques and the warm palette used throughout.

The height and position of the apartment, along with the outstanding views, also influenced how we designed the flow of the space.

Can you tell us about a particularly exciting or challenging element of this project?

When designing a show apartment, one challenge is that there is no end user or homeowner of the apartment; as designers we need to think very carefully and creatively about how to tailor the space so it will appeal to prospective buyers. The end result is testament not only to the designer but also to the development team – at One Casson Square, they had a very clear vision for the development and the living spaces they wanted to create for its future residents. This clarity of brief helped us to achieve our design vision and work in a highly collaborative way with the wider team to make that vision a reality.

On a wider note, given your work in luxury interiors can you tell us what does luxury mean to you and how that impact your design process?

When I think of luxury, I think of something that is unique and non-generic; something that has been tailored specifically for you or for your space. This bespoke and tailored approach to a design then comes through in its craftsmanship and in the quality of execution, which again speaks to how I would define luxury. In the show apartment, we took this tailored, considered approach across each and every element of the space in order to create an apartment that felt luxurious and also welcoming.

When I think of luxury, I think of something that is unique and non-generic; something that has been tailored specifically for you or for your space.

What’s the most important amenity to have in a home right now?

A home office and outdoor space – both of which this apartment offers. I particularly like the way in which the balcony connects the living area and the master bedroom; it isn’t an external space that is disconnected from the home, it is an integral part of the overall flow of the apartment. We also loved the designing the home office; we wanted to create a space that is practical yet also interesting and playful, somewhere in which the owner will look forward to working and spending time.

What value does bespoke add to an apartment? From furniture to particular pieces of artwork and homeware.

We don’t believe that one needs to incorporate bespoke for the sake of it, there are so many beautiful existing pieces of furniture, artwork and accessories that we can draw into our projects. However, bespoke offers us the perfect opportunity to create something tailormade for a space, something that fits the needs of the client and our design vision – this speaks to our idea and definition of luxury. 

We have incorporated a number of bespoke pieces successfully in this project and in many ways, they are the final flourish that brings everything together.

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