I spent many many months immersed in 1950s detailing and design while working on the refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall in London. It is an incredible building that gets under your skin the more you experience all it has to offer – from the huge range of concerts, theatre, backstage and dressing rooms, the organ, the acoustic detailing to the voids and hidden spaces around the cavity of the theatre. During the design process I met Robin Day (the designer of the original auditorium chairs that we were trying to refurbish) and his wife Lucienne Day (who was re- releasing her fabric range), attended an incredible number of concerts all in the name of research, so I am thankful to Allies and Morrison for such a great job!
We kept uncovering beautiful details and original materials locked in back rooms and sheds – it was like a treasure hunt for gems like original cafe chairs and door handles. Great design and orginal thought lasts – it has a big impact on the quality of the spaces from the biggest concert hall to the smallest renovation. Its also taught me how the big ‘concept’ for a building can be infused into the design from the main structure right down to the smallest detail. This layering of design adds to the rich experience of a building and needs to be properly considered in today’s separation of ‘interior design’ and ‘architecture’, they need to be fused successfully to create a building that speaks clearly and concisely.
Learn more about the Allies and Morrison Refurbishment here: