The Business in January and February


News and pictures from the design sector

Jean Nouvel completes first phase of residential development in Ecuador

The first phase of Jean Nouvel’s Aquarela residential project in Quito, Ecuador, has been completed. Located in the Cumbayá neighbourhood of the city, the project, developed with local leading architecture firm Uribe Schwarzkopf, is centred around Nouvel’s striking complex, designed to feel like a mountain pass.

It features a stone facade and more than 1,000m2 of vertical gardens filled with native plants from the region. The complex of towers has an interior courtyard through which its varied amenities are accessed – including an ice skating rink, bowling alley, music room, mini-golf course, screening rooms, mini-soccer field, swimming pool, jacuzzis and spas. Other facilities will be located on semi-private rooftop areas for each tower.

The masterplan for Aquarela responds to the natural topography and materials of the surrounding valley, its monolithic nature allowing for ‘harmony’ between the building and the physical features of the Cumbayá valley.

Interiors have been designed by Uribe Schwarzkopf, using furniture from Pedrali, Dedon, Konkretus and lighting from Flos, Vivia, Marcet and Faro Barcelona. Design objects and art works have been chosen to reflect the local environment’s history and culture, including a front desk of wood salvaged from a lightning storm and game room furniture made by a local billiard champion. An eco-efficiency matrix has been used to minimise use of non-renewable resources. Alongside Ateliers Jean Nouvel and Uribe Schwarzkopf, the associated architect is Alberto Medem – Humboldt Arquitectos.


Fritz Hansen collaborates with Sebastian Herkner and Mette Schelde

Fritz Hansen has collaborated with two emerging design talents, Sebastian Herkner and Mette Schelde for two new products aimed at the contract market.

The Let lounge chair by Sebastian Herkner is designed for high-traffic spaces, suitable for commercial or residential use. The chair comes fully upholstered in textile or leather, with a variety of base options. ‘The curved back of this chair is designed to cradle and comfort,’ says Christian Andersen, Fritz Hansen’s head of Design.

‘This is an excellent design alone or arranged in groups for socialising.’ The chair is made without glue, thus making steam cleaning possible for high-use settings such as corporate waiting areas, hospitality sites and hotel guestrooms.

Stub is a side table by architect Mette Schelde made of wood and glass. Inspired by wood stumps, a clear circular glass tabletop attaches to the sturdy stump-like base without visible screws or mountings.

Design District offers £5 per square foot rent for a year to support creative recovery

In response to the impact of Covid-19 on the UK’s creative sector, Design District, launching in early 2021, has announced a 12 month rent reduction for creative businesses across its buildings, down to L5 per sq foot. The district has 16 buildings, each independently designed by leading architects, and the total space amounts to 150,000 sq ft. Beyond the 12-month reduction, the district has worked with the Mayor of London’s office to ensure affordable workspace is available, with rents ranging from L7 per sq ft to around L45 per sq ft.

Two wins for BDP consultants at WICE awards

In November’s 2020 Women in Construction and Engineering (WICE) awards, BDP won two awards. Lucy Townsend won the award for best woman in environment and sustainability. Current work includes leading the sustainability strategy for Parliament’s Northern Estate Programme, involving the refurbishment of a number of historic buildings. Michelle McDowell, BDP’s principal and chair of civil and structural engineering, won the lifetime achievement in engineering prize. Her career to date has included the Royal Albert Hall redevelopment, Court 1 at Wimbledon. She currently leads BDP’s interdisciplinary design team on the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster.

Portview awarded £24m fit-out of London College of Fashion Campus

The London Legacy Development Corporation has appointed Portview to fit out University of the Arts London’s (UAL) new London College of Fashion (LCF) campus in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford.

Currently based in six separate sites across London, the £24m contract will unite LCF’s 6,500 students for the first time. Across 36,000  the campus will contain specialist facilities, a library and archives, as well as public-facing spaces for exhibitions, community events and enterprise activity. In its new location, LCF will sit alongside cultural institutions such as the BBC, Sadler’s Wells and the V&A, as well as University College London. John McMahon, contracts director of Portview, said: ‘This is a hugely exciting project for us, and we’re delighted to have been entrusted by the London Legacy team to deliver its vision of a world-class learning facility that will go on to nurture the very best talent in arts and culture.

‘We recognise that this project is so much more than just bricks and mortar. It’s about building a cultural destination where people can come together to learn, work, socialise and thrive. It’s about building a legacy that provides opportunities for people to grow professionally and personally throughout the generations. That’s what makes this project so exciting, and we can’t wait to bring this extraordinary vision to life.’

This is Portview’s second regeneration project in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, after the hospitality areas of London Stadium’s West Stand.

David Chipperfield among architects on New Year’s Honours list

Image Credit: Benjamin McMahon

David Chipperfield has been awarded one of the highest awards in the 2021 New Year Honours – added to the elite Order of the Companions of Honour. Chipperfield is the second architect to receive the award after Richard Rogers, while other members include David Attenborough and Judi Dench.

Other honours were awarded to Tom Emerson and Steph Macdonald, founders of 6a architects; Macdonald receiving an OBE for services to architecture, and Emerson an OBE for services to architecture and education. Ex-architect Sam Webb, a campaigner for tower block safety, was awarded an MBE, and Yinka Ilori was awarded an MBE for services to design.

Landsec and Bennetts Associates’s net zero office development secures planning permission

Landsec has secured planning permission for Timber Square, its proposed net zero carbon office development in London’s SE1, designed by Bennetts Associates.

The 370,000 sq ft office development will comprise two main buildings, The Ink Building and The Print Building, featuring 17 terraces and landscaped public realm. 10% of the space will be designated as affordable workspace for SMEs, and will prioritise local businesses for the retail leases on the ground floor.

Peter Fisher, director at Bennetts Associates, said: ‘The project has the potential to be a game changer regarding operational and embodied carbon impacts, as well as well-being. We hope to prove what’s possible in sustainable development, and set a new standard of what businesses expect of their offices.’

In order to meet ambitious sustainability targets, the project will retain a quarter of the existing building, and will use natural and recycled materials. The project, due to complete in early 2024, aims to be the largest commercial development in the UK to use cross-laminated timber.

With the scheme coming a decade before the UK Green Building Council’s target for all new developments to be net zero carbon, Landsec also became, in 2016, the first commercial real estate company globally to have its carbon emission target approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative.

Laing O’Rourke has been appointed by Landsec on a pre-construction services agreement. |

Laufen opens an innovative Berlin showroom designed by Konstantin Grcic

Image Credit: Gerhardt Kellermann

Bathroom manufacturer Laufen continues its collaboration with Konstantin Grcic for the design of its new Berlin showroom. Joining Laufen spaces in Vienna, Madrid, Moscow and Miami, the new German showroom is located in Charlottenburg in the western part of the city. Grcic commented: ‘The DNA of the Laufen space essentially consists of three elements: the archive, the LED wall – a virtual extension of the real space, a kind of window that affords deeper insights into the Laufen world – and the freely configurable area. This free area initiates a dialogue with art, architecture, design and film – and, in the broader sense, with the public.’

Two homeworking advice initiatives launched by BDG Architecture + Design and Trifle Creative

In response to an increase in homeworking, two companies have launched advice packages: BDG Architecture + Design’s WorKit, and Trifle Creative’s HomeWork.

HomeWork offers products and support packages for both business and individuals: a series of five ‘ready to buy’ packages are centred around ergonomically designed furniture storage and lighting, with additional planting and stationary to complete them. Consultation services range from space planning, use of natural light and how to utilise existing furniture.

BDG’s initiative is led by architect and creative director Jorge Méndez-Cáceres; senior associate and creative director, Adam Childs, and chief creative officer Colin MacGadie, using their 30 years of workplace design experience to offer curated solutions with products from USM, Humanscale, Vitra and more, arranged in curated room-by-room collections to suit living situations.  |

Milliken and Loughborough University carpet tile competition winners

For the second consecutive year, a project between Milliken and Loughborough University has asked students to design a carpet tile for a commercial environment using Milliken’s Millitron patterning technology. 2020’s winner was Annabelle Loweth, a visually impaired hand weaver and textile designer, whose distinct perspective led her to focus on textures and close structures of media that others may overlook. In second place was Dani Nash, and in third Morgane Dumas.

United in Design launches apprenticeship scheme and mentoring programme

United Design, co-founded by Sophie Ashby of Studio Ashby and Alexandria Dauley of Dauley Design to increase diversity in interior design, has announced its first apprenticeship scheme aimed at aspiring designers from BAME or low socioeconomic backgrounds. Open to all final year graduates of interior or spacial programmes, the apprenticeship will offer a series of short work placements over the year, and will be supported by a salary of L22,000. The mentorship programme matches applicants aged 18+ with experienced design professionals for guidance on entering the profession.

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