Frette x Dimorestudio

London's Mayfair has just had an injection of modern Italian style at the new Frette store in South Audley Street. The Fizz says molto bene!

BY DEE IVA

Emiliano Salci and Britt Moran of Milanese design studio Dimorestudio have brought the glamour and sophistication of a sleek Italian palazzo to the new Frette store in London’s Mayfair.

Opulent materials such as Marquina marble, emerald green glass and brushed brass create a stylish space to showcase Frette’s new Autumn Winter collections of luxury bed, bath and table linens, and nightwear. We’re particularly loving the beautiful duck egg blue walls, the colour-zoned floors and the elegant illuminated stairwell which features black glazed metal set on opal white glass. If you feel the need to take a pew, classic designs including Gerrit Rietveld's 'Utrecht' armchair and Charlotte Perriand's 'LC7' chair for Cassina are dotted around too. 

ABOVE: Glossy dark blue cabinets with brushed brass handles, full height sliding panels and clever lighting are just some of the luxe details in Frette's new London showroom
BELOW: Black marble and polished concrete is used to great effect. We love the change of colour in the floors to mark out different zones 

ABOVE: Incorporating emerald green and opal white glass, black metal, concrete and steel, the illuminated stairwell is a masterful mix of materials 

To mark the opening of the new Mayfair boutique, Brit designer Ashley Hicks has collaborated with Frette on a new range of embroidered geometric bed linen that will be exclusive to the store and available online in the UK. If you’re in the market for something more bespoke, head down to the lower ground floor where you can add your own touches to any item from Frette’s collections. 

Dimorestudio has pulled out all the design stops here, so much so that we just want to bed down and snuggle up for the night. Zzz...
frette.com  dimorestudio.eu

Frank Gehry's Sydney showstopper

Architect Frank Gehry's first Australian building puts the beauty into brick and makes wonky angles work wonders 

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Here at the Fizz we weren’t sure if we’d like Frank Gehry’s first Australian architectural offering. Described as looking like a ‘crumpled paper bag’, the new Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, home to Sydney’s UTS Business School in Ultimo, provoked the usual flurry of divided critical opinion when it was unveiled this February. Standing in front of the university’s striking new edifice, though, on a crisp, blue-sky day, we felt an unfamiliar emotion. Brick lust.

Another brick in the wall
Rarely has brick looked so beautiful. Gehry Partners' team has used around 320,000 custom-made pale-coloured bricks, which reference Sydney’s elemental sandstone heritage. We loved the way the five different brick types have been staggered in sweeping, undulating relief to create a textured, layered, lyrical feel. Achieving this fluid, curved surface on the east-facing facades required corbelling (stepping) bricks to express the building’s organic form. Hand-laid on reinforcing panels, individual bricks jut out to catch the play of light. It’s a subtle yet stellar look.

'The idea of using brick was part of the community here,' says Canadian-American starchitect Gehry, who admires Sydney’s humane 19th-century high-rises. 'Creating a sense of movement to replace decoration is a primitive one, actually. It comes from the fold.'

TOP: Sydney's Dr Chau Chak Wing Building rising above Ultimo
ABOVE RIGHT: The curvy, tessellated surface of brick and angled glass
BELOW: Five, custom-made brick types form the textured exterior

71UTS23115.jpg

Cubist angles
Ah, those Cubist artists would love Gehry’s signature radical geometry, which gives the building’s different modules a fantastical, disjointed Dr. Seuss appearance, with blocks piled upon blocks at jaunty angles. Inspired by treehouses, Gehry wanted his creation to be a ‘growing learning organism with many branches of thought, some robust and some ephemeral and delicate.’

Windows to the world
We also liked the multiple, deep-framed windows on the exterior, which are often sited quite close to one another, yet reflect wildly different views. Due to their alternating angles, you might see a tree reflected in one, a wall in another, a nearby edifice in a third and the sky in a fourth. It’s a cornucopia of vistas that keeps the experience of looking at the building dynamic and ever-changing. A vertiginous glass ‘curtain wall’ on the west-facing aspect is another dramatic detail, dropping down the building like a crumpled shard, providing a ‘waterfall’ of clashing reflections.

 

ABOVE: A vertical 'curtain wall' of glass reflects the environment
BELOW, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Deep, angled windows capture multiple views of the surrounds

Cocooning classrooms and cloud nine
Two oval classrooms add form to the ground-floor atrium void, constructed from around 150 chunky, glue-laminated radiata pine beams from New Zealand. They also feature the world’s longest timber-concrete composite floor. Their intimate log cabin vibe and oval tables are intended to bring people together, with smaller classrooms and more flexible, open-plan spaces encouraging creative learning. Acrylic cloud-shaped pendant lights in the lower public areas and cafés bring papery textures to the interiors, and are a whimsical reminder of the sky. Let’s hope our invite to a party on one of the lofty terraces is in the post…

BELOW: Oval classrooms are a cocoon of warm wood

Eco smart
Ticking eco-friendly boxes, the building has a five-star Green Star Design rating, using sustainable timber, energy-efficient air-con and harvested rainwater in a roof-top tank for use in toilets and irrigation. There are also 160 bicycle parking spaces in the basement, along with showers, lockers and changing areas, to encourage cycling (compared to just 20 car spots).

Space-age stairways
Dominating the main lobby, a polished, jagged stainless-steel staircase forms a sculptural focus point, typical of Gehry’s space-age style. Manufactured by Queensland's Urban Art Projects, it’s intended to encourage flexible interaction of people and ideas. There are 12 storeys above ground, and 14 in total. Another stairway, made of Victorian ash, wraps around an oval classroom on level 3, linking to a student lounge above. Cocooning just got contemporary.

ABOVE: Sculptural staircases include a stainless-steel lobby head-turner 

Cultural ribbon
Named after the Australian-Chinese businessman and philanthropist who donated $20 million to the project, the landmark Dr Chau Chak Wing Building is bounded by Ultimo Road, Mary Ann Street and Omnibus Lane in Ultimo, rearing over nearby Chinatown. An entrance is also planned from The Goods Line, a pedestrian thoroughfare similar to The High Line in Manhattan, currently being developed by Aspect Studios as an urban space. Sydney’s newest icon will also form part of the ‘Cultural Ribbon’, a foreshore walk which will run from the Australian Museum, Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Opera House to the design-focussed Powerhouse Museum at the southern end of the city via Barangaroo and Darling Harbour’s Maritime Museum.

Crumpled paper bag? We consider it a compliment. 

Pictures: Sophie Davies, Andrew Worssam worssamphotography.com 

The Beaumont: the ultimate art hotel?

The newest art hotel on the block is London's The Beaumont, which boasts a sculptural sanctuary for sensational stays

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

Fancy living inside an artwork? Then book a sleepover in ROOM by Antony Gormley, an inhabitable sculpture squatting on the façade of London hotel The Beaumont. A monumental, three-storey, cuboid figure, it's crafted from welded stainless steel plates – pale and matte just as they came from the mill – and is based on the British artist’s own physique. ‘I take the body as our primary habitat,’ says Gormley. ‘ROOM contrasts a visible exterior of a body formed from large rectangular masses with an inner experience.’

Opened in October, the Beaumont is the first hotel by London hospitality wizards Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, the genius duo who gave us grand cafés The Wolseley and The Delaunay, Gallic-glam Brasserie Zédel, convivial eatery Colbert and 2014’s Viennese-inspired Fischer’s (the Fizz loved its Euro-kooky interiors almost as much as its konditorei).

ABOVE: Gormley's dazzling ROOM sculpture squats alongside the listed Mayfair hotel
ABOVE RIGHT: Entry to its inner sanctum is via white marble stairs and a black curtain
BELOW: Gormley's minimal, wood-lined master bedroom creates a serene sanctuary

The radical ROOM sculpture sits on a low-level wing of the hotel’s façade, which serves as a readymade plinth. It's reached by ascending seven steps from a pure marble bathroom, then entering through a black velvet curtain. Once inside the crouching geometric giant, you’ll discover a sultry, fumed oak-clad bedroom, an elemental sanctuary that’s minimal, modern and mesmerising. It’s a space of mysterious contrasts; dark and light, cavernous yet enveloping, a meditative break from the norm. The room connects to a second-floor suite in the main building, where a conventional sitting room, hallway and guest bathroom beckon – Gormley intended to dramatise the passage between the two zones, as you leave the luxurious decor and bustling city behind to escape into another realm.

‘The interior of ROOM is only four metres square but 10 metres high; intimate at body level, but open above,’ explains Gormley. ‘The idea was to reveal this slowly. I wanted to structure night as a preamble to sleeping and dreaming, and reinforce the feeling of being fully enclosed so the window only gives a view of the sky. At night, the shutters allow total enclosure and blackout. The very subliminal levels of light allow me to sculpt darkness itself. My ambition is to confront the monumental with the most personal, intimate experience.’ 

FROM LEFT: Vintage sport murals and photos line retro-chic grill restaurant The Colony; The American Bar pours old-school cocktails, familiar to Hemingway or Fitzgerald

A world away from Gormley’s ultra-contemporary architectural extension, the hotel boasts a grand Grade II-listed 1926 exterior, with art deco interiors evoking the elegance of pre-war Mayfair. London's ReardonSmith Architects collaborated on Corbin & King's conversion, with interior design by Richmond International. Alongside 73 trad-modern rooms – including the lavish Presidential Suite – The Beaumont hosts a residents-only lounge-bar, The Cub Room, plus a spa with hammam and gym.

Open to the public are the Twenties- and Thirties-inspired American Bar, where photos of dandy Yankee and British personalities look down on drinkers, and pièce de résistance, The Colony restaurant, a classic, 100-seater space influenced by the trad American grill rooms originally found in New York and London. Vintage sport and travel murals, by San Francisco artist John Mattos, up the nostalgia quota, spanning stylish skiing and marlin fishing, along with elegant portraits of Clark Gable and co. Swing by for a Bourbon or some of Kenny's Meatloaf!

BELOW: Cutting-edge architecture meets the golden age of hospitality chez The Beaumont

The Mayfair garden square location, just a credit card’s throw from Selfridges, Bond Street's designer stores and leafy Hyde Park, attracts a well-heeled mob. Design aficionados, though, can’t beat bagging Gormley’s ROOM; think Jonah kipping in the belly of a futuristic whale…
www.thebeaumont.com   www.colonygrillroom.com

The Beaumont, 8 Balderton Street, Brown Hart Gardens, London W1. Double rooms from £395 a night, including Continental breakfast and tax.

All pictures by Nick Ingram except The Colony Grill Restaurant by David Loftus

The Most Marblelicious Bar In Town

Brit design star Lee Broom is the talent behind the marble-chic interiors of new London bar and restaurant Old Tom & English

BY SOPHIE DAVIES

British designer Lee Broom – aka Mr Marble – is a dab hand with grainy stone. During September’s London Design Festival, the only thing hotter than his hedonistic rooftop party at the Ace Hotel London Shoreditch was the elegant ‘Nouveau Rebel’ show at his Electra House boutique nearby. Marble lighting was the scene-stealer, especially the LED-lit Carrara marble 'Tube' lights, shaped like fluorescent strip lights but glowing with glamour.

Now Broom is behind the marble-chic interior design of new Soho cocktail lounge and restaurant Old Tom & English. Named after an 18th-century gin recipe (the spirit du jour), this reservation-only watering-hole is the brainchild of siblings Costas and Maria Constantinou, who collaborated with him on previous local venue The Arts Theatre Club.

Drawing on honest, traditional materials, Broom wanted to create a contemporary take on Sixties home entertaining, as if you’ve just swung by a mate’s stylish apartment for a sociable dinner or killer cocktail party. Solid oak ‘One Light Only’ pendants and slatted oak vertical panelling add to the retro vibe. Sofas and ottomans are a subtle grey, while hits of brass and red on lounge chairs and carpet up the ante.

But it’s sensual marble that rules at this sultry space, starting from the seductive marble 'Chamber' pendant lights suspended above the marble-topped, multi-level bar. A bespoke, post-modern marble fireplace surround dominates the main lounge, flanked by more marble care of sleek ‘Tube' lights, curvy coffee tables and 'Fulcrum' candlesticks. Broom’s sculptural crystal and marble ‘Globe' lights add to the mix of circular and geometric forms and signature cocktails are served in crystal ‘On The Rock’ glassware, boasting tactile marble bases.

“Marble features throughout in lighting, furniture and right through to the barware and tableware,” says Broom. “It’s a dream project for a designer and I believe it will be a real gem for Soho.” The bar is also a homage to Soho's naughty red light heritage, with rooms named after famous London madams and prostitutes, including Cynthia, Lulu and Nell.

Loungelovers in search of sin can sink into extended ‘Quilt’ sofas (originally for Heal's), while eagle-eyed design fans will spot bespoke updates of Broom's hero pieces the ‘Decanterlight’ and ‘Crystal Bulb’ recreated with new cuts.

Access to the basement venue is secret speakeasy style – buzz the bell at the heavy wooden door, then enter via a covert lobby. Inside, take your pick from pews in the bar, lounge or five vaulted cloisters, ideal for clandestine trysts or private quaffing. Drink aficionados can enjoy customised cocktails; foodies can expect twists on trad English dishes at intimate tables.

Each space within Old Tom & English has its own dedicated drinks service, such as a bar cart, revolving cocktail cabinet or vintage sideboard, from which waiters finesse your order (one even offers a surprise hatch to the bar). “I thought about the kind of personal service I like to receive, and the theatre of creating drinks in front of you or presenting food in a way which considers its interior, like you would at home,” says Broom. "The design has been created around those elements and much like the service informs the design, the design of the interior influences the service." Make ours a Martini...
oldtomandenglish.com  leebroom.com

Photographs: Luke Hayes