Dolphin Square targets young professionals

The newly modernised Dolphin Square development in London’s Pimlico, which has housed MPs, spies and members of the Royal family, opens its doors today to reveal a complete renovation.

The complex was acquired in January 2006 by Westbrook Partners in a controversial cut-price deal, in which several residents felt forced out because of a hike in rents.

Since then, refurbishment has been ongoing. This includes renovation of the apartment interiors, a complete redesign of the common parts by architect Potter & Holmes, the development of the marketing suite and service apartments with concept design by interiors architect Louise Dixon Chapman, and a rejuvenation of the branding and wayfinding by Ico.

Architect The Tooley & Foster Partnership has implemented the design of the marketing suite. Covering 1.2ha, the 1930s complex also boasts a health spa, gym, swimming pool, squash courts, riverside tennis court, croquet lawn, brasserie and bar, and its own shops.

The building offers a total of 1200 rental-only flats, as well as a new marketing suite, service apartments and communal areas.

According to Dixon Chapman, the marketing suite area was quite old and tired. ‘It needed a bit of sexing up. I had to look at it holistically. It was about taking the 1970s “greenhouse” off and giving it more of a presence,’ she says. ‘It was [also] about really upping the image, putting it in competition with, or at least in the same quality bracket as, developments such as Chelsea Wharf.’

‘Obviously, Dolphin Square has a lot of history,’ Dixon Chapman adds, ‘so I tried to design with this in mind and to appeal to young professionals.

It was about making it a lot brighter, but not flashy.’

The communal areas have also been freshened up. ‘The brief was really about trying to cheer up what hadn’t been worked on for years,’ says Lucy Grindley at Potter & Holmes. ‘The area was quite tired and we injected some life into it. The brief was to appeal to much younger, image-conscious urban professionals and remove the dated stigma that had previously prevailed.’

The space now features linear lights, light monochrome walls, as well as contemporary signage and colourful carpets. Additionally, each of the 12 entrance areas received a makeover.

Ico was appointed 18 months ago, following a three-way pitch, to rebrand the square and its sub-brands. The consultancy started with the identity and is also involved in the website design, communications literature and wayfinding.

The new identity aims to be a more ‘sophisticated and contemporary’ design. Elements of the Dolphin form have been extracted and developed as part of the branding.

Separately, Dolphin Square Foundation, a trust set up following the sale last year, has launched its corporate identity, by 400.

• Dolphin Square has had a colourful mix of residents, ranging from British royalty to Soviet spies, as well as Lord Coe
• The development was sold at the beginning of last year by Westminster City Council and the Dolphin Square Trust in a controversial cut-price deal
• The complex features gardens, a fountain, apartments, a croquet lawn, restaurant, health club, tennis courts and a swimming pool

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