Text description provided by the architects. Bespoke use of hand-crafted ceramic tiles heralds a new concept in building design
The opening of 24 Savile Row celebrates a unique collaboration between art and architecture. Occupying a corner site between Mayfair’s Savile Row and Conduit Street, the seven-storey mixed-use office and retail building is a work of art in itself, clad in 10,000 crystalline hand-glazed ceramic tiles and positioned on a decorative sand-cast bronze plinth.
Savile Row’s unique tailoring heritage, in which the concept of the ‘bespoke’ was born, demands a setting of elegance and style where design is at the forefront. With this in mind, when EPR won the commission for the multi-million pound project in 2012, project leader Stephen Pey felt that the site warranted something truly distinctive: “The word bespoke was invented in Savile Row, where suits were ‘to be spoken for’ by a specific client. So, we knew we had to create a bespoke building, featuring material and design of the sort of quality to match and echo that tradition.”
EPR therefore devised a scheme that would pay homage to the historic setting in its creation of high-end workplace and prime retail units, and also showcase the very best in contemporary design in the arts and crafts.
Inspired by local context, the Conduit Street elevation was carefully designed to reflect the historic plot widths, with added depth given through the façade’s projecting and recessed window treatments and dark recessed reveals. This was further enhanced by the unique hand-glazed elevation, which was developed in collaboration with renowned London-based ceramicist Kate Malone, and draws on the Mayfair Conservation Area’s natural grain in its choice of tones.
It is this use of Malone’s individually-crafted ceramic tiles on the main elevations that makes this building truly unique – where the cladding is art itself and the whole building becomes an ever evolving canvas as the tiles reflect and refract daylight, capturing differing moods and subtly changing the appearance and tone of the building, depending on the weather and time of day.To create this effect, Malone – in collaboration with EPR – researched and produced a series of bespoke hand-mixed crystalline glazes exclusively for this building to ensure that each tile has a unique appearance.
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.”
Sustainability was also a key factor in the design, which has resulted in a BREEAM Excellent rating. Among its sustainable credentials are its use of more than 1,000 sq ft of photovoltaics, a highly efficient VRV cooling system and its green/brown roofs complete with terraces. It is also one of the first buildings in London to be entirely LED-lit.
In recognition of its ground-breaking concept of combining art and architecture, craft and science, 24 Savile Row has been shortlisted for both the International Design & Architecture Awards 2015 Office Category and the London Design Awards 2015.