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As mentioned on my previous post I’m going to be explaining the thoughts behind the design of each area of the Home Design Centre Show Room in East Grinstead.

Let’s start with the stair case and Hall.

Every time there is a stairs that is a beautiful opportunity to do something special as they are one of the most  attractive, versatile and strong architectural features of a building.

Two years ago I designed the first phase of  Hehku’s showroom. It is located on a first floor where you will find four sky lights. The concept was to create an aspirational and fresh look housing five kitchens.

Hehku offers more than kitchens and in order to represent their different services (four in total) a bespoke wallpaper was designed using the four colors that identify them as part of the brand identity criteria. This wallpaper was hung around the base of all those skylights.

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When discussing about the new showroom to be located at the ground floor Duaris and Hehku wanted a more sophisticated environment in tune with the offering of more exclusive products:  a sunken wine cellar and a kitchen where materials, design and details were exceptional.

The look we agreed to work on was an industrial chic as even though it can achieve a very   exquisite feel it still remains friendly and approachable.

Parallel to those discussions the interior architecture layout was being decided. The new showroom was going to be at the back of the building, ground floor level, as part of the new extension being built.

We discussed that the best access was going to be walking through the first Hehku showroom and the display of doors and windows (still to be designed)  which would allow clients and visitors to see the full range of services and products before going down to the new experience to be offered: The Home Design Centre.

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All the above influenced the floor plan layout. It was proposed the stairs to be at the back, parallel to the back wall leading to a hall where the sunken wine cellar was going to be. This hall was to become a visual and spatial connector to the kitchen, the meeting/dining room and the bar.

The layout proved to be ideal as I reinforced the cross shape floor plan positioning every room/use in each the four branches of the cross and the hall at the middle of it.

The fourth branch to be the stairs leading up.

Now the big decision: How the stair case should look?

Some elements were already decided: stairs parallel to the back wall, it will be a focal point in the first floor, use of wood, modern in look and the wood to be stained in grey so to make a reference to the grey floor of the first phase.

There was still one element to be decided and it was the background of the stairs.

In conversations with Hehku and Duaris even though both showrooms were going to be very different in character we wanted to have an element that connected them. It seemed obvious that that element should be the wallpaper I designed for the first phase with Hehku’s four colours but now adding red which is Duaris’s colour.

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This will give us a pattern of vertical lines in five colors. As I wanted to incorporate metal as part of the Industrial chic look I added rectangular section metal bars as part of the mural composition. The colour of this bars I proposed it to be like the black blue that appears on steel when is heated at high temperatures before burning.  This color would be used throughout the showroom.

This mural was going to be full high (around 6mts) accompanying the visitors in their discovery.

As I knew I wanted to work with darker colors in the showroom taking the Hehku colors to the ground floor with the same intensity was going to probe to be a too sharp contrast as they are predominantly pastel colors.

My decision was to increase the darkness of all the colors (but the red) very gradually so when they reach the bottom they are dark colors working nicely with the other ones present in the showroom.

At the top and bottom small led lights lit the mural.

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Then you reach the hall:

A big space where events can be organized (projector and screen concealed in ceiling) being at the centre the sunken wine cellar.

I chose a mosaic floor in black and white so to give a feel of spaciousness but to “frame” as well the different rooms around.

The walls were covered in a dark wall paper to add contrast.

When you arrive to the ground floor on your left hand side you see the kitchen, on the right hand side the bar and at the front the meeting/dining room.

The sliding doors of the meeting/dining room are framed by two wall lights and a tapestry I designed using the color scheme I was working on.

The veneer proposed for these doors is a beautiful stained ash with subtle burned marks and skirting and architraves painted in another shade of black blue, eggshell.

One console table at each side of the door adds sobriety to the space. The idea being to place a glass vase with white long flowers like gladiolus or Polianthes tuberose.

The only other piece of furniture is a bench in wood and leather which discretely is placed in front of the mural.

Ceiling  was painted in white with a delicate cornice that frames it and makes it more gentle to the eye.

The ceiling lights that I proposed are the consequence of an act of nostalgia as they reminded me the beautiful ceiling of the Johnson’s building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

With these lines I hope I have expressed what was at the heart and brain of this creation.

Next post: Dining/meeting room and bar.

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