Dramatic perspective: Showroom in London
Architects: Lily Jencks, Nathanael Dorent
Location: Capitol Designer Studio, 42 Chalcot Road, London, NW1 8LS
Structural engineering: Manja van de Worp, NOUS Engineering, London
When they were commissioned with designing a showroom, architects Lily Jencks and Nathanael Dorent responded with two ideas. On the one hand, by incorporating all the wall dimensions of the Capitol Designer Studio into their design, the tiles would be highlighted as a product for sale. On the other hand, they would create an interplay of spatial perceptions in the grey area between illusion and reality among visitors to the studio. Instead of creating a conventional space devoted to commercial transactions, the idea here was to convey the identity of a place for art and culture by means of a spatial work of art.
The zigzag arrangement of the Marazzi SistemN tiles gives the room dramatic depth and leads visitors through the individual spaces. Lighting strips in the joints of ceiling and floor emphasize the direction of movement. While the tiles differ only in their colour and not in size or shape, the herringbone bond creates a spatial dynamic with unique optical effects. The colour gradient of the tiles, which flows between dark and light, gives the walls the appearance of a pulsating wave, hence the name of the showroom. Seating has been integrated into the tiled surfaces. This means not only that the walls and furniture meld into a single entity. The protrusions and recessions also create a dynamic interplay on the space’s various levels.
Special attention was paid in order to create tiles surfaces with immaculate, seamless transitions – even the smallest deviation would have disrupted the pattern and its perspective-altering appearance.Architects Lily Jencks and Nathanael Dorent, and Mark Williams from the Capitol Designer Studio, explain the design concept in this film.
With this installation, the architects have not only made the product on offer the protagonist of the showroom, but they have also turned the tiles into a form of architecture and a walkable work of art. Surfaces blend together; spatial boundaries start to blur. This over-the-top presentation makes the space ‘pulsate’ and involves visitors in a game of perception.