AHR applies innovative biophilic design principles at The Spine building
For the northern home of The Royal College of Physicians, AHR Architects was tasked with creating a building that leaves its occupants healthier.
Working with 22 Bishopsgate architects PLP Architecture, Bill Amberg Studio has completed an innovative and impressive project in the heart of the City of London, demonstrating the studio’s craftmanship on a large scale, and the versatility of leather in modern interiors.
The design concept comprises flat and twisted padded leather panels, which rise from the escalator soffit at ground level, twisting like a ribbon up to and within the ceiling, before returning to floor level on the opposite side of the entrance hall. A Barrisol background allows for light and air into the space, while maintaining the uniform shape for both elements.
A visual impact was required to draw people into the space, and leather-clad panelling to the ground and first floors continues the theme across the core reception walls of the atrium, creating a sense of continuity within the building. Providing a warm heart to the building, the concept was created in the tower’s ground and first floor atrium, known as ‘The Library’- the centre point between the tower’s two entrances, and doubles as a gallery with curated temporary art exhibits.
Designed to work with the building’s internal finishes of stone and steel, the studio developed a heavily drummed and naturally grained leather, in collaboration with its European tannery. In a soft tan, the leather has colour and textural variation across its surface, creating warmth and a subtle tonal difference between each panel.
The twisted ribbon-like construction of the ceiling panels was developed in a two-part shell, designed and developed at the studio, with the leatherworking carried by hand by specialist craftspeople in the Bill Amberg Studio workshop in Park Royal, north London.
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