July sunshine and the smell of newly mown grass hit me as I stepped out of the latest show apartment at One Tower Bridge on Monday morning. How evocative of a British summer at its best.
Built by Squire and Partners for Berkeley Homes, it is this, the development’s iconic location on the south bank between Tower Bridge and City Hall, that inspired the interior designers, Johnson Ribolla, with the theme for the final show apartment.
As Tower Bridge is such an icon of Britain, why not take the concept of “best of British” and interpret it for each of the rooms? With all the turmoil of Brexit, I was caught by the idea that they had scrutinised the idea of brand Britain and picked out our world-beating fashion designers as not only something to celebrate, but who also convey the idea of best of British quality, craftsmanship and creativity to potential buyers from here and abroad.
With its terrace on the fourth floor, having arguably the best view in London facing the park, the river and the bridge, it’s a spacious 2,400 sq ft three-bed, all en-suite apartment.
The sitting room and kitchen/diner are channelling Savile Row; the master bedroom takes its cues from Burberry; the second bedroom from Paul Smith, guest bedroom from Alexander McQueen, and cinema room from Aston Martin’s Bond (OK, not strictly fashion, but a good enough reason to squeeze a designer drinks cabinet into the mix, made in North London to boot).
Each room was created by different members of the team, explains co-founder Giacomo Ribolla, and if you love design there’s a vast amount of eye candy to take in – a lot of stuff – even designer clothes in the wardrobes; all that’s missing is the smell of ground coffee and baking bread.
A show home sits somewhere between the design team’s expression of taste and style and a corporate carrot – their brief is, after all, to work their magic to shift product at the top of its value (only 23 of the 376 apartments are still available).
With new builds you don’t have architectural heritage to work with – no period details, no fireplaces and often no staircase - so the designers have embraced colour and texture with the current trends for touchy-feely wallcoverings (Savile Suiting by Phillip Jeffries); original artwork by Angie Lewin from Scotland and Mick Manning from Yorkshire; bespoke headboards made locally in SE1; curtains and cushions made just outside London; even an Alexander McQueen scarf framed as an artwork.
Moving from the enveloping walnut calm and signature striped headboard of the Paul Smith bedroom to the chic pale prettiness of Alexander McQueen it’s arresting and fun. I’d like to get comfy here and take tea.
In a twist of fate, however, this apartment sold (for around £6m) even before the show flat design was complete (luckily a similar one on the same floor is available). Such is the power of Great British design.