Constructed as an office block in 1966 with 34 storeys, Centre Point stretches to 117m in height and has dominated the London skyline for many years. One of the capital’s original skyscrapers, its dazzling facade gets its sparkle from the Portland stone used in the manufacture of the concrete from which its honeycombed structural exoskeleton is constructed.
In 2011, Centre Point was acquired by property investment and development company, Almacantar which embarked on a £350m project aimed at re-establishing Centre Point as one of the capital’s foremost destinations by transforming the building and its immediate surroundings into a mixed-use venue comprising restaurants, retail outlets and 82 luxury apartments.
Conran and Partners was appointed as the architectural team for Centre Point Tower and tasked with delivering Almacantar’s vision to create high-spec modern residential facilities whilst retaining the building’s 1960s heritage. Instrumental in producing this retro-contemporary feel was the visible hardware that would be used within the apartments as well as throughout the common areas.
Conran and Partners selected Samuel Heath to collaborate on the design and manufacture of the fittings, developing a suite of coordinating hardware, including handles for the main entrance and interior doors, escutcheons, thumb turns and releases, pull handles, flush pulls, wardrobe pulls and shower door handles.
Samuel Heath’s Specification Sales Director, Rolando Guselli, explains: “Conran and Partners were looking for a manufacturer who could provide the complete design and manufacture service for the hardware required and invited us to work with them on this prestigious project.
“Our ability to produce rapid prototypes and metal prototypes gave very tangible feedback at key stages, allowing the design team to appreciate how the products would look and feel before they went into final production stage.”
Visual cues for Centre Point residences’ interiors were taken from some of the building’s original facade and finishes which favoured geometric patterns and monochromatic styling. This theme has been extended to common areas and apartment interiors.
Conran and Partners have employed a dark palette across the internal spaces, while using brighter, lighter palettes to enhance the lightness of the habitable spaces and the feeling of being in the skyline. They have made generous use of black-stained and blonde-limed oak throughout the scheme as well as natural stone and terrazzo.
The bespoke levers and handles were designed to complement this theme, referencing Centre Point’s strong geometric patterns in an elegant manner whilst providing a highly tactile cue to the luxurious feel of the apartments.
Tim Bowder-Ridger, Senior Partner at Conran and Partners, comments: “The proprietary ironmongery products used in the scheme draw their inspiration from the original spirit of Centre Point Tower, enhancing the sense of place, and are of an exceptionally high standard.”
Centre Point Residences underlines the value of designers working closely with architectural ironmongery manufacturers at the early stages of a project. It is also a showcase for the very best in British-designed and -manufactured hardware.