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DROO Creates Space for Work and Study in City Approach Apartments



Architecture office DROO has added four apartments atop a London warehouse building, with flexible interiors designed to facilitate co-living, home-schooling or working from home.

The project involved slotting two glazed storeys behind the parapet of City Approach, a six-storey brick Edwardian warehouse building located in a conservation area in Islington.

Built in the midst of the pandemic, these two- and three-bedroom apartments were designed to be adaptable, to suit a range of different living situations.

They could be occupied by either families or co-living sharers. They can also allow for various activities to take place simultaneously, making it easier for occupants to work or study from home.

“Due to the increasingly pervasive nature of technology, there is a major shift in many households towards hybrid work arrangements,” said DROO co-founder Amrita Mahindroo.

“Most people are bringing work home and juggling a live/work lifestyle of some sort, no matter how well-suited their space.”

“We can’t change the nature of the technologies, with notifications popping up left, right and centre, impacting our ability to to set boundaries around work life and home life,” Mahindroo told Dezeen.

“We can however design spatially distinct boundaries, so people feel they can separate themselves spatially from other parts of their domestic routine.”

Overseen by project architect Harikleia Karamali, the City Approach apartments do this in several ways.

Firstly, each home is divided up into two zones. For the two multi-level homes these are separated by floor, while the single-storey homes are simply split in half.

DROO and NAME create London apartment block with dramatic curved window bays

The first zone contains the most private spaces, namely the bedrooms and bathrooms, while the second is a social zone facilitating both home and work activities.

Within these zones, different areas have been created with specific activities in mind.

In the social areas, there are different areas for dining and working, to help keep these activities separate. Each home also features a dedicated area for meetings, designed with Zoom in mind.

The two multi-level apartments also feature separate lounge or study spaces in the private zone, to give residents more options.

Other details are more subtle, for instance, extra-wide corridors allow space for desks or seats, while niches create cosy corners where introverted residents can feel more comfortable.

“We turned the open plan on its head,” said Mahindroo. “We’ve long felt that open plans are spatially desirable for flexibility however they are the result of space designed by extroverts for extroverts.”

“Designing for inclusion means thinking about the types of space that make a diverse range of people feel safe and productive, that are scaled for intimacy and privacy, and that offer the right kind of acoustics,” she stated.

City Approach is the latest in a series of recent residential projects in London completed by DROO, following a building with a “crumpled paper” facade and a block with dramatic curved window bays.

The project was challenging to construct, as the floors below needed to remain functional throughout the build.

A cross-laminated timber framework was used, helping to reduce the load on the existing steel structure, while triple glazing and air source heat pumps help to lower the building’s energy use.

Although the project was designed before the pandemic, Mahindroo believes it shows how future homes will adapt to the lifestyle shifts that have taken place since.

“I think live/work is the result of economic shifts and childcare, rather than the pandemic alone,” she said. “I think these hybrid arrangements are here to stay as they are a step towards more inclusive futures for work.”

Photography is by Henry Woide.

Project credits

Interior architect: DROO Architects
MEP: Andrew Reid
Structure: Fairhurst
Planning consultant: Firstplan
ROL and party walls: Fidler Associates
CDM: Fidler Associates
Acoustic: Syntegra
Fire: Affinity

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Home & Kitchen

Luke McClelland Gives Georgian Apartment in Leith a Modern Update



Scottish architect Luke McClelland has transformed a dark and ill-conceived apartment in Edinburgh‘s port area of Leith into a bright and contemporary home.

The ground floor flat, which dates back to the early 19th century, had been rented out for more than a decade before being purchased by its current owner.

The Leith apartment is defined by its use of timber (top image) and terrazzo (above)

As a result, its interiors suffered from a convoluted layout, considerable wear and tear, outdated facilities and several level changes in the floor, which sprung up as the basement of the Georgian building was converted for residential use.

“There was a lack of connectivity between the primary living spaces and a lack of light in the poorly planned kitchen,” McClelland explained. “The property also needed to be fully rewired and re-plumbed.”

The kitchen leads into a dining room with white walls and oak parquet flooring

Despite a restricted budget, McClelland found ways to brighten the apartment and improve how its living spaces are linked together.

Significant alterations were made in the kitchen, where the architect replaced the old cupboards with sleek off-the-shelf cabinets from IKEA.

A portrait by a local artist is centred between two alcoves in the lounge

The muted sage-green hue of the cabinet fronts was chosen to complement the grey terrazzo splashback, which features black, white and reddish flecks.

Natural light floods in through a reinstated window that was previously obstructed by the kitchen counter.

Oak panelling runs underneath the windows and along the chimney breast

A new doorway lined with oak offcuts from the kitchen worktops now leads into the dining area.

Like the rest of the apartment, this space is finished with white-painted walls and oak parquet flooring laid in a chevron pattern.


Architect couple turns Edinburgh apartment into modern living space

In the living room, McClelland installed oak-batten panelling beneath the window sills and across the chimney breast to replace the original surrounds, which a former tenant had torn down across the entire apartment save for the bedroom.

The lounge also accommodates a charcoal grey sofa alongside a geometric floor lamp and a few prints, including a striking portrait piece by a local artist.

The apartment’s original panelling is retained in the bedroom

The bathroom was reconfigured so that its curved wall becomes more of a focal point.

Before the renovation works, the wall was partially blocked off by a storage unit, which has now been removed.

A curved wall takes prominence in the bathroom

The walls are covered in a mixture of terracotta-coloured tiles and the same terrazzo that appears in the kitchen.

A tall mirror above the sink emphasises the loftiness of the bathroom, which is the only space in the apartment that went unaffected by the basement conversion.

Surfaces are clad with terrazzo and terracotta-coloured tiles

Elsewhere in Edinburgh, Luke McClelland has previously revamped his own home in the Comely Bank neighbourhood.

As part of the project, the architect carried out a number of changes to the floor plan, converting a disused pantry into a shower room and splitting the former living area into two bedrooms.

The photography is by ZAC and ZAC

The post Luke McClelland gives Georgian apartment in Leith a modern update appeared first on Dezeen.

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Raw Concrete Penthouse and Event Space Created Inside Former Athens Warehouse



Raw concrete walls serve as a backdrop to vintage furnishings in this rentable venue and guest suite that Studio Andrew Trotter, Gavalas Ioannidou Architecture and Eva Papadaki have created within a converted 1970s industrial building in Athens, Greece.

The six-storey warehouse, now named 10AM Lofts, features a multi-purpose event space spread over its basement and ground floor, which can host anything from exhibitions and dinners to photoshoots.

The event space is spread across the building’s ground floor (above) and basement (top image)

The penthouse, which spans the top two floors, can be used as part of these events or booked for private gatherings and longer-term residencies.

Both spaces were designed by Barcelona-based Studio Andrew Trotter with local studio Gavalas Ioannidou Architecture and Eva Papadaki, while a number of other designers have put their personal touch to the four lofts that are spread across the two remaining floors.

A spiralling concrete staircase leads up to the mezzanine

To make room for the event space, the two lowest floors were stripped back to their raw concrete shells.

To lighten up the ground floor, the studio inserted a couple of new windows, inlaid an entire wall with translucent glass bricks and painted surfaces white.

White paint was also used to finish the balustrade fronting the mezzanine-level workroom, which can be accessed via a set of spiralling concrete steps.

Glass bricks let light through to the interior

Guests must descend a twisted Corten-steel staircase to reach the basement, which has a markedly moodier ambience.

Apart from the illumination provided by a handful of pendant lamps, light can only trickle through to the space from the narrow openings left in the ceiling.

Vintage furnishings have been sparingly dotted throughout to soften the harsh industrial look of the space.

Twisted Corten-steel stairs lead down to the basement

The penthouse, which is set over the building’s fifth and sixth floors, features surfaces rendered in lime plaster and paint rather than concrete to create what the studio describes as “a feeling of rough luxury”.

The fifth floor accommodates a cosy living room, furnished with a plump beige sofa and armchair as well as a weathered sideboard topped with a couple of antique vases and a marble bust.


Studio Andrew Trotter models Villa Cardo on traditional houses in Puglia

Heavy sand-coloured linen curtains bring a sense of warmth to the natural light that filters in through the windows.

Close by lies the kitchen, centred on a wooden dining table and a set of Charlotte Perriand‘s woven Dordogne chairs.

Antique furniture decorates the penthouse’s kitchen and dining area

At this level of the penthouse, there is also a study and a bathroom with a huge blocky tub.

This sits beside expansive sliding glass doors that allow guests to enjoy unspoilt vistas of the Acropolis citadel while they soak.

The bathroom has views over the city of Athens

Sweeping city views can also be enjoyed from the main bedroom up on the sixth floor, which is bookended by glass walls.

“[It’s] a haven of peace,” explained Studio Andrew Trotter. “In the heart of busy Athens, the space is cool and calm.”

The bedroom is bookended by glass walls

The venue’s moody interiors stand in stark contrast to Villa Cardo, a bright white holiday home that Studio Andrew Trotter completed in 2019.

Nestled in an olive grove in Puglia, Italy, the four-bedroom residence is designed to resemble the region’s traditional cubic dwellings.

The photography is by Salva Lopez.

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Masquespacio Designs Cavernous Restaurant Interior That Nods to Adobe Architecture



Local studio Masquespacio added undulating, earthy-toned walls to an intimate Valencia restaurant that takes cues from the “organic forms” of Middle Eastern architecture.

Living Bakkali is located in the Spanish coastal city of Valencia and features bespoke furniture designed entirely by Masquespacio, a design studio known for its use of colour in projects.

Living Bakkali’s interiors are informed by Middle Eastern architecture

The restaurant is characterised by sloping, sandy-toned microcement walls that pay homage to the decorative motifs often found in Middle Eastern architecture, such as multifoil arches.

Designed in various hues of desert-like browns and pinks, Living Bakkali’s curved arches are arranged in intricate formations that create intimate seating areas within the restaurant.

Masquespacio used microcement to create walls, floors and ceilings

“We used the recognisable brownish colour from the East, although we added slightly different colours to the palette – such as red – but always in a soft way and through earthy tones,” Masquespacio co-founder Christophe Penasse told Dezeen.

“Middle Eastern seating is also almost always lower and more loungy than in the western world,” he added, referring to the restaurant’s low-slung dark crimson sofas and chairs.

A central hall intends to evoke the feeling of walking down a street

Guests enter the space at a central hall that is connected to the kitchen, which was designed to create the feeling of exploring a street filled with ancient houses.

“Interiors [in the Middle East] are almost never shown directly from the outside, although you can [often] find windows of arch forms that create a sense of double walls,” explained Penasse.

Intimate booths are framed by the cavernous walls

The restaurant’s thick walls are interrupted only by cut-out holes that create small windows between each table, some of which are tucked away in intimate booths. Among the various dining areas is a private room, which is reached through a corridor flanked by gauzy curtains.

Described by the restaurant itself as an “ode to adobe architecture,” Living Bakkali takes cues from this natural construction material, as Masquespacio said that the venue’s walls were designed to create an adobe effect, which means mud-brick in Spanish.


Studio Wok designs cavernous pizza restaurant to recall rocky coves of Sardinia

The studio also designed all of the floors and ceilings in microcement in order to immerse visitors in a wholly cavernous environment that is intended to be reminiscent of traditional Middle Eastern houses.

Penasse said that Masquespacio’s design process for Living Bakkali involved the exploration of many aspects of Middle Eastern culture – from architecture and materials to ways of eating through history.

A private dining room can be reached through a narrow corridor

“We got connected with the organic forms that have been used throughout Middle Eastern architecture, which was made mainly with clay materials by hand,” Penasse explained.

“We wanted to bring the [traditional] Arabic aesthetic to the future in a new and more modern way, but still sought to maintain its essence,” he said.

All of the seating was designed to be low-slung

Masquespacio was founded by Penasse and Ana Milena Hernández Palacios in 2010. Similar projects by the studio include Pukkel, a restaurant in Aragon that features winding stucco walls that were informed by the curvature of the nearby Pyrenees mountains.

The photography is by Sebastian Erras.

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