Client: Aerium and Terrace Hill Group plc
Location: London, United Kingdom
Completion date: 2015
Kate Malone Ceramics
Aerium and Terrace Hill Group plc
Right of Light
Gordon Ingram Associates
Approved Building Inspector
Following a successful competition in 2012 EPR sought to reference Savile Row’s rich character and culture of tailoring to a corner site by celebrating the arts and crafts heritage of the local area.
Early and continued collaboration between the architect and the artist has resulted in a building adorned with 10,000 artist designed hand glazed ceramic tiles positioned on a sand-cast bronze plinth. The building is a piece of art.
The word bespoke was invented in Savile Row, where suits were ‘to be spoken for’ by a specific client. The goal was to create a bespoke building, featuring material and design quality to echo that tradition and create an artisan building for a special place within London. Like a Savile Row suit, we knew that the building should be formed of a simple ‘cut’ using the finest materials.
Art is integrated into the fabric of the building using a bespoke glazed ceramic tile on the main elevations, a collaboration with renowned ceramic artist Kate Malone. Crystalline glazes on the tile are effectively three-dimensional and come in four types of differing textures: three white and one black with blue crystals. Each crystalline pattern is natural and unique. The tiles reflect and refract daylight, capturing differing moods and subtly changing the appearance and tone of the building, depending on weather and time of day.
Each tile was hand glazed, weighed and fired to temperatures over 1260C. All of the 1500 litres glaze were hand mixed at Kates London studio, with over 1000 actual test glazes being produced prior to achieving the final 4. The façade brings art directly onto the streets of Mayfair.
A lot of the time when you get a collaboration between an architect and an artist, there isn’t really a collaboration — the artist will put something on the building at the end. We worked with Kate right from the start. What’s interesting about this project, with its uniquely decorated facade, is that it has brought art on to the street. A lot of buildings can be quite anonymous to the passer-by however here we’ve noticed people walking along the street stop to take a photo on their phones.
Rich Miller at Froyle tiles, an artisan pottery and his team took on the task of glazing and firing the 10,000 tiles. The level of skill and attention to detail by all involved is testament to the quality of the final result.
Malone says, “The vision of EPR Architects and their willingness to take pleasure in the craft of making, and the climax of 30 years of my own research, has made this a most extraordinary project. The result , a sharp, modern and intensely crafted work of art that stands on the streets of London to glisten and delight the public… a public work of craft.”
Please see these videos which document the process of design and research and development of the façade from the various perspectives. There are 4 videos (Savile Row). https://www.youtube.com/user/eprarchitects