Jestico & Whiles has been appointed by the Chinese Embassy in London to convert and design interiors for a property that will become its trade and research headquarters.
The embassy has this week submitted the five-storey building in Lancaster Gate for planning consent. Jestico & Whiles was appointed last week after its scheme designs, submitted for a creative pitch last December, were signed off in Beijing.
The consultancy starts working on site next month.
The core of Jestico & Whiles’ work is to convert the entire space, which was previously occupied by the Football Association, from its current amalgamation with the adjacent building.
It is reinstating the ‘grand proportions’ of the original reception rooms, a main staircase and a lift, says Jestico & Whiles associate James Dilley, who is heading the project.
The stair is a key feature. It is designed to make ‘oblique reference to the organic elements of nature in its spiralling form’ and represent the growth of the Chinese economy, Dilley says.
The interiors will reinterpret Chinese flavours for a contemporary audience, he adds. ‘We are introducing subtle Chinese motifs, including jade-coloured Chinese slate, silk, accents of red and polished lacquer. It is important to communicate the Chinese trade ethos,’ Dilley explains.
The building aims to be a showcase for Chinese products, and will display images of the latest developments in trade and industry in backlit panels. The project should be completed by March 2004.