NEO Bankside : The London Penthouse by Studio Reed

Tonight was one of my most exciting night out so far this half of 2014 because I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch party of Studio Reed’s interior design of “The London Penthouse” at NEO Bankside, one of the most prestigious residential development in Southwark, London right next to the Tate Modern, overlooking the beautiful River Thames and of course with unobstructed view of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

My excitement though, was not so much for the prestige but more for a chance to visit what most likely to be a stunning interior design masterpiece I would get to see this year.

I visited this development while it was under construction back in 2012 to view the available one bedroom and two bedroom apartments, which at the time were still just in shell and core state with partially completed public areas, and remembering what a beautifully crafted masterpiece the building was, and how wonderful it would be to live in such work of art even though I did not at all like the neighbourhood.  Don’t get me wrong, the Tate Modern and St. Paul’s Cathedral across the river are great British landmarks, but it would have been a little bit inconvenient for me because my work requires me to be in Chelsea and West End area most of the time… I’m just one of those people who do not like long morning commutes and prefer to live close to where I work.  If I work in the City or Shoreditch area on the other hand, this location would have been perfect.

Nevertheless, I am a big fan of Richard Rogers’ work, The Lloyd’s Building being my favourite modern architecture of all time in London even though it had been there since 1986.  It is the only building that I revisit almost every year since 1998 during London’s Architecture Open House because the level of detailing in this building is just mind blowing taken into account the time it was built, and the overall idea, so avant garde in its conception, that it is now without a doubt a timeless piece of architecture.  It was futuristic when it was first completed 28 years ago… Now in 2014, it is still high-tech and futuristic, one of those rare pieces of architecture that instill certain overwhelming emotions to its visitors and demonstrates what it really means to be a star architect.  So, with an invitation to visit one of the penthouses in a building designed by Richard Rogers and his team at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, obviously I jump at the opportunity!

The London Penthouse hosting the launch party was B1601 (for Chinese buyers, this is considered a very auspicious address because the numbers 1601 adds up to number 8, but actually 1601 refers to Floor 16 of the building and 01 is because it is number 1 and the only one on this floor) in Block B of the NEO Bankside Development, a 7,080 square foot duplex with triple aspect views over the city skyline.  It features 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms (2 of which are en-suites), 2 large private roof terraces on the lower level and 2 winter gardens on upper level in each of the two main bedrooms.

One of the two private roof terraces.  Photograph courtesy of Knight Frank
Panoramic view of the River Thames from one of the two private roof terraces.  Photograph courtesy of Knight Frank

The “Winter Gardens” were interesting feature for me because when I visited the two bedroom apartment in shell and core state a few years ago, I remembered thinking to myself what an awkwardly shaped space these winter gardens were… They had triangular footprint…  I was not sure how best to make the most of it… but now seeing what Studio Reed had done with the two winter gardens for each of the bedrooms, I completely fell in love with this particular feature.  They added wonderful private lounging space to the bedroom with spectacular views over London Skyline.

One of the Winter Gardens with panoramic view of River Thames.
Winter Garden in the Master Bedroom on the upper level of the Penthouse.

It was a full house party with delicious canapes by Michelin starred chef Giorgio Locatelli of Locanda Locatelli, and acoustic live performance by John Newman, but the highlight of the evening was without a doubt the architecture and interior design of the Penthouse.

Full House at The London Penthouse Launch Party at NEO Bankside

The overall interior scheme for the penthouse was definitely worthy of note, the subtle hues of blues in the main reception area perfectly complemented the greyish blues of the panoramic cloudy London sky surrounding the space.  I imagined the curvaceous sofas centrepiece were inspired by clouds?  At least the reception area certainly gave me an impression of living in clouds…

Main reception Area in deep blue hues.  Photograph courtesy of Knight Frank
Main reception Area in deep blue hues.  Photograph courtesy of Knight Frank

There were many people at the party, so I did not get to ask the designers, but my assumption for this interior scheme was that the concept was inspired by nature, perhaps the sky for main reception and circulation area, which gradually transformed to forest reflected in the use of more earthy tones and extensive use of cedar wood panels for the private living spaces on the upper level.

Soft earthy hues for master bedroom at London Penthouse.  Photograph courtesy of Knight Frank
Ensuite in Master Bedroom of London Penthouse
Cedar Wood Paneled Water Closet for the Ensuite of Master Bedroom at London Penthouse.
Cedar Wood Walk-In Closet for the Master Bedroom at London Penthouse
Mirrored Bathroom Ensuite for Second Bedroom of London Penthouse

There were some really innovative use of materials for final touches such as the metal chain curtains separating the walk-in closet from the en-suite bathroom in the master bedroom, which added great texture and robustness to the space.

Metal curtains separating the Ensuite from the Walk-In Closet of the Master Bedroom.  Photograph courtesy of Knight Frank

Another interesting feature was the wall panels with green copper patina effect lining the main reception area and the upper level corridor, which not only looked stunning, but they added so much movements and character to the otherwise would have been very long, blank, and boring wall, across the penthouse.

Copper Patina effect wall panels at London Penthouse.  Photograph courtesy of Knight Frank

Paired with minimalist contemporary sculptures and art pieces throughout, the Penthouse felt sophisticated in a very understated way…  I rather enjoyed the experience and felt that the overall design scheme was rather poetic and very elegant.

Artwork and Sculptural Furniture Piece along the Upper Corridor at London Penthouse.
Artwork and Sculptural Furniture Pieces along the Entrance Lobby at London Penthouse.

My partner in crime for the evening was my mother who happened to be visiting me in London this Summer, so after our time at the Penthouse party, I took her for a stroll over the nearby Millenium Bridge towards St. Paul’s Cathedral catching sunset over the Thames and a little sightseeing too…

Private Lift Foyer for B1601, 16th Floor of Block B at NEO Bankside with stunning view of the Shard and New Tate Modern Extension
Catching the Sunset with Mom on the Millennium Bridge with St. Paul’s Cathedral in the background
Catching the Sunset with Mom on the Millennium Bridge with The Shard in the background

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