Interiors Inspiration: Design Week’s favourite new projects

From a Japanese-Peruvian style restaurant to a nursery space incorporating natural materials, here are the interior projects that have caught our eye this month.

The Learning Tree, by Delve Architects

This warehouse-turned-nursery in East London has been designed by Delve Architects with a focus on sustainability through its use of natural materials. The studio, which has experience in early learning education design, used timber-framed, pine-faced plywood walls and recycled rubber flooring to construct the new learning space. Though making the space durable was a consideration, the materials also serve to introduce a variety of surfaces not normally seen in education areas to young children.

At the heart of the nursery is a communal dining space which can be accessed from all rooms. Each social area is flooded with natural light as a result of the glazed partitions installed around the space.

Differentiating The Learning Tree’s interior form other nurseries are its curved partition walls, round arches and portholes, which aim to give the space a softer more playful look and feel. The whole of the interior design is meant to work in harmony with the “curiosity” education approach, which is a modern child-led learning method that the nursery will use. According to Delve, the designs allow for “exploration, freedom of movement and multiple uses of each space”.

Earthrise live-work studio in Hackney, by Studio McW

This two-floor live-work space is owned by climate activists and filmmakers Jack Harris and Alice Aedy, who commissioned Studio McW to design an interior that would balance the needs of their media company Earthrise and their personal lives. Harris and Aedy’s brief requested that the studio enhance the building’s original features while creating better spatial flow and more storage space.

By opening up the ground floor partitioned bedroom and dressing room, the studio hoped to improve spatial flow and draw in more natural light. On the upper level, redundant overhead features were stripped out to make the space appear larger and the layout was reorganised to create separate zones for work, rest and dining, while encouraging flexibility.

Studio McW sought to enhance the already bright neutral interiors by matching custom oak and concrete joinery, with a large concrete island – which doubles as a dining bench – standing in the centre of the kitchen space. Offering both seating, storage and display is a long concrete sideboard with oak cabinetry and shelving.

Keeping in line with the studio and the client’s values, Earthrise Studio is finished with toxin-absorbing, matte clay walls across the two storeys with a custom black mild steel railing which allows light to reach the floor below.

Chotto Matte Soho, by Andy Martin Architecture

Chotto Matte restaurant has recently reopened after an interior renovation, which features both Japanese materials and an interpretation of a Peruvian landscapes. A key aim of the redesign was to keep the essence of the Chotto Matte brand – in line with its other locations in Marylebone, Miami and Toronto – while giving the Soho flagship restaurant its own unique characteristics.

The studio used shou sugi ban wood – a traditional Japanese material – throughout the restaurant. The term shou sugi ban means “charred cedar board”, which refers to the technique used to give the wood its matte finish. In 18th century Japan, builders started using the technique of charring wood to make building materials more resistant to the elements, as the process strips the wood of its natural oils, making it fire-proof. It also gives the material a longer life.

A volcanic by-product called Fujizuna, or Japanese lava stone, is also used across the base of the open kitchen, sushi counter and new robata grill. To further embrace the culture of urban Tokyo, the studio selected a variety of wall art that seeks to compliment the restaurants new contemporary interior.
Among the hues of the green, purple and orange furniture pieces is vibrant tropical foliage native to Peru, which aims to recreate the country’s exotic rainforest environments.

Tessuti Liverpool, by Counterfeit Studio

London-based studio Counterfeit has attempted to merge historic Liverpudlian architecture and classic Italian style in this new digitally enhanced retail space. Avoiding obvious and cliché references to the city was an important consideration, according to the studio which turned to the Liverpool Overhead Railway (LOR) for inspiration.

Known locally as the Dockers Umbrella, the now decommissioned LOR’s arch profile is at the centre of the interior design and is visible as a recurring motif throughout the space. It is first visible at the shopfront in the form of three floor-to-ceiling digital arches that occupy the window.

Either side of the centre escalator are two elongated stainless-steel arches that interrupt the descending steel bars. The arch motif appears across wayfinding and signifying key or as a device to highlight brands. Directly above is the store’s “crown jewel”, an XL format digital screen sitting in the ceiling about the central atrium.

Arranged around the central escalator void, six neon orange digital columns called “heat zones” seek to fuse product displays and content. They will also act as canvases for brand activations and help to “punctuate the space”, according to the studio.

The Italian style comes through in the material choices used across both levels, such as terrazzo, brass and marble. These more traditional finishes intentionally contrast with the contemporary elements, like the digital features, brushed stainless surfaces and neon accents.

Zaytinya at Ritz Carlton New York, by Rockwell Group

New York based architecture and design studio Rockwell Group has crafted the Mediterranean-inspired interiors for the Zaytinya restaurant. Among the more neutral tones of antique bronze mirrors and exposed white oak ceiling beams are accents of cyan blue, for example, at the bottom of the sheer ombre curtains.

The exposed beams are laid out between acoustic linen-textured panels, which seek to create a sense of rhythm in the space by corresponding with the floor bands. A variety of textures appear throughout the space which, paired with the soft curved shapes of the furniture, is meant to transport guests to a modern perception of the coast.

Sitting across the back wall is the blue lava stone-topped bar, with a custom backlit screen behind it made of two-toned blue glass discs. Inspired by the Evil Eye “Mati” – a magical and protective Mediterranean talisman – the design wraps around the high ceiling, aiming to give a sculptural effect. Surrounding the bar is a custom-made Gio Ponti-inspired tiled floor, illustrating an abstracted olive and leaf.

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