Bofill found the disused cement factory – an industrial complex from the turn of the century consisting of over 30 silos, subterranean galleries and huge machine rooms – and transformed it into his home and the head office for his practice in 1973.
‘Once we felt that we had a coherent direction, we worked around the client’s desire to evoke classic brasseries of the past but with a more contemporary edge,’ John explains. ‘We drew upon our extensive experience of designing brasseries in France and combined it with our knowledge of London cool – and the result is perhaps a mix of both.’
Mirror-filled arches and Pierre Frey drapery soften the high walls of the space, while the focal point of the dining room is a 70s-inspired clock in patinated bronze above the kitchen. Mounting the clock, inspired by the front of vintage Rolls Royce cars, was a technical feat according to John, weighing half a tonne and requiring some serious structural engineering to get right.
The furniture and finishes selection were absolutely integral to the scheme, John tells us. ‘We had a very limited palette, with only two colours (terracotta and cream) and then various woods and metals. As such, it was important that the furniture and finishes carried the project. The quality of the joinery by Longpré is outstanding, and the metal patinas we requested from Rathbanna were absolutely pitch perfect. So, whilst the design might be relatively simple, it feels sophisticated.’