Tollgard features on Luxdeco Top 100 Interior Designers of 2020

Luxdeco’s annually published list celebrates the world’s leading interior designers for the creativity, positive impact and commitment to luxury design which they contribute to the design world. We are thrilled to feature on this global list – it is a huge honour.

Fanø summer house

We were delighted to hear what LuxDeco had to say about us too –

“The husband and wife team behind Tollgard Design Group recently observed: “Unlike other industries, design is not obsessed with youth. Experience really matters when designing anything of importance, and there is still a very healthy respect for people who have been doing this for a long time.” However, after 15 years in the industry, it might be said that the duo finds themselves in a sweet spot which captures both youth and authority. With their portfolio of hushed luxury, the studio enjoys the industry clout which comes with such tenured experience whilst retaining the dynamism of a studio which is barely getting started.”

Click here to read the full article at LuxDeco: www.luxdeco.com/blogs/styleguide/top-interior-designers

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Enki Magazine featuring Our Danish Summerhouse

Read the fantastic article and 20 page spread on the design of our Summerhouse project on the remote island of Fanø in Denmark completed in conjunction with KBH.

Click here to read the article.

KBH furniture

WIN Awards 2019: Fanø Summerhouse

We are delighted to announce that international interior designers Tollgard Design Group are the very proud recipients of a SILVER MEDAL at the coveted WIN awards!

Win Wan Awards, international interior designer Staffan Tollgård

The WAN Awards (powered by World Architecture News) and the WIN Awards (powered by World Interiors News) have been shining a spotlight on the very best architecture and interior design from across the globe for more than 10 years. 

This year’s Awards culminated with a spectacular event at the Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch this October, showcasing the shortlists for both the WAN Awards and the WIN Awards and providing an amazing opportunity to delve deeper into the stories behind some of the projects on display.

Says international interior designer Staffan, “The standard of competition was, quite frankly, humbling. We were delighted to be presented with this WIN award and would like to thank our incredible clients for their faith in us, as well as the creative genius of Knud Holscher for the design journey of a lifetime.”

Another key partner in the creative collaboration were cabinet makers KBH. Staffan and his London-based design team relished the opportunity to work with the Danish craftsmen and bring truly local expertise to the project, drawing a red thread through functional sculpture, joinery, kitchen and furniture. Using solid and veneered oak

Read what WIN had to say about the event here and view the project in our online portfolio.

What we look for in an Interior Designer

Being an interior designer is no easy feat; especially in London… As such an interior design education from Inchbald or KLC helps ensure the project completion process is as smooth as possible!

What technical skills does an Interior Designer need?

Our design practice started just after Staffan graduated from the Inchbald – School of Design where he did a year long course in Architectural Interior Design. We employed from Inchbald year on year as we slowly grew, confident that we spoke the same language of design as the new graduates did. Now, nearly 15 years later our studio comprises designers with degrees in Architecture, Interior Architecture, Interior Design and Interior Decoration from all around the world. As our industry has grown and matured we’ve also seen it diversify and become more specialist. New graduates can choose a myriad of paths, specializing in residential or commercial, technical or FF&E, even focusing on different stages of the design journey for example: concept visuals rather than working on site.

360 degrees: the ultimate interior designer

We are a technical studio, relying on CAD and Sketch-up rather than hand-drawing to communicate with our clients. For us a designer needs to come to us with these skills but, more importantly, they need to demonstrate that they have a 360º approach to interior design. This is because our studio doesn’t silo designers into one part of the creative design journey. We believe that the same designer should take a client’s brief, develop it through concept stage, draw it up in CAD, turn the spaces round in Sketch-up and then furnish it – right down to the final fabrics and accessories.

interior designer, inchbald
Monique & Sharon working on a design scheme in the Tollgard studio

We often ask our clients to imagine their house as a doll’s house. Or a box that you can turn upside down and shake. Some pieces are going to fall out first: the furniture, cushions, rugs, lights and accessories. If you shake longer and harder eventually the floorboards will fall out; the bath and eventually the walls. We use this metaphor to explain the different between interior design and interior decoration, or FF&E.

The right designer for us is someone who cares about the box, the shape of the box, what those walls are going to look like and where they’re going to be as much as the pieces inside: a 360º interior designer! Someone who is committed to all elements of the design journey, who has the technical skills & relevant experience but who also is deeply interested in the final pieces that arguably have the most physical and emotional impact on the people living in these spaces.

As the designer grows with us so will their skillset: at first working with the elements of design that they’re most comfortable with, to becoming a rounded interior designer that can work with all aspects of design.

To view our project work click here

Becoming an Interior Designer:
Inchbald School of Design

London based Interior Design School Inchbald

Founded in London in 1960, Inchbald School of Interior Design has provided exceptional interior designer courses acknowledged throughout the interior design profession.

Inchbald alumni have included many of the best known names in the profession including Lady Henrietta Spencer Churchill, Stephen Ryan and Luciano Giubbilei , confirming that the challenge of a course at the Inchbald School of Design is not only an enjoyable experience but it is also professionally relevant.

They offer various courses including the Inchbald Diploma which prepares graduates for professional practice through the exploration and development of practical and aesthetic design skills. This was the qualification that both Staffan and Erik (head of showroom) took together at Inchbald.

By tackling a variety of residential & commercial projects informed by design methodology, technical detail & research which are set during the course of the year thereby learning to develop their ideas through drawing & presentation skills which are taught across the duration of the programme.

The London based school also offers short courses focusing on Interior Decoration and complementary vocational skills related to interior design which Monique undertook. They offer a useful introduction to advanced study or to provide further skills development for students already involved in the field.

interior designer, inchbald

Most importantly the tutors are all working designers recognised for their professional standards & creative input. Lecturers are drawn from relevant practices and academic institutions. We are fortunate enough to have Monique be a regular lecturer at the school.

The highest priority of Inchbald teaching is the development of every individual student’s talent and potential; allied to a clear understanding of the possibilities of interior space. This is the very basis of the design confidence which is essential to professional life.

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Staffan Tollgård interviewed in The Times – Bricks & Mortar Oct 2019

Tastemakers: Staffan Tollgård, designer

Swedish-born Staffan Tollgård, 47, never intended to become a designer. It was his wife, Monique, who persuaded him to pursue his interest. While renovating their first home together, she encouraged him to enrol at the Inchbald School of Design.

The couple set up Tollgard Design Group 15 years ago and it has grown into a bustling interior design practice, with three London showrooms, and a contract sales and product design division. Their present projects include a listed apartment in Copenhagen and the offices of a tech company in Paddington, central London.

Click here to read more

Winners of the International Design & Architecture Awards 2019!

We are simply overwhelmed to have won the Design et al International Design & Architecture Awards 2019 for Interior Design Scheme Europe with our Danish Summerhouse Project.

International design and architecture awards 2019

We would like to thank everyone that took the time to vote for our project in the International design & architecture awards 2019 – we are very grateful! It was a formative opportunity to work with world-renowned architect Knud Holscher in an unrivalled setting. Add to this the best clients in the world and this was the project of a lifetime. To have it recognised by some of the best architects and designers in the world was the icing on a fairly terrific cake.

Just a few statistics from Design et al: 86,923 verified votes counted and an average voter spent 53 minutes looking at all the shortlisted projects. The standard of the projects showcased was phenomenal and we feel very honoured to have come home with the trophy. As you can see from the images on the night – we were delighted.

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‘Only connect’. The Fanø Summer House fuses architecture, interiors and environment. It is a place to decompress, to connect as a family and appreciate the bigger, more important picture.

The island of Fanø has always been a special place for the clients and their family: the Danish-born wife spent her summers as a child there, and in turn her family has owned a summer house there for over a decade. The family fell in love with the simple yet striking buildings that architect Knud Holscher had completed in the past. Having worked with Staffan Tollgård on their home and commercial premises in London, they invited him to join their design journey.

Born and raised in Stockholm, the idea of the summer house retreat is one that speaks strongly to Staffan’s own childhood and values:

“I take my own children back to our family’s summer house on the lake as often as I can. The connection with nature and the escape from city life act as a reset button for all of us. When designing the interiors of Fanø, I was determined to connect it as coherently to the landscape as possible: to create a retreat from city life that extended to the choice of every material and piece of furniture”.

The Scandinavian notion of the red thread is one that Staffan uses in every project as a shorthand to describe the creative design DNA. Pulling together clues from the architecture, from the cultural history, environment, from the client’s own personalities and the questions of living that need to be solved by the design, the red thread draws a protective framework around the project, linking architecture with interiors, client with design.

For this project the red thread was the visual and sensory connection with a uniquely Danish natural setting. This was expressed by fusing inside with outside as seamlessly as possible, using vernacular and true materials as simply as possible. Comfortable, functional minimalism was the goal so that the clients could enjoy every space to its fullest and detach from the buzz of city life left behind.

Design et Al

Family values

The summer house is a coherent, hard-working family house that has evolved from its setting and from the clients’ clear vision of how to embrace and enjoy this environment. It is a house that puts family life first – and as a design practice that specialises in designing for families this was our favourite aspect of the project.

The key ingredients of the house are deliberately low-maintenance: one of the decisions to use a natural-looking ceramic floor tile was based on this connection between inside and outside that had to be managed (in order to be enjoyed!). Lots of sand and water get tracked into the house by the kids as well as the family Portuguese water-dog. Decisions to use low maintenance, easygoing fabrics and bullet-proof floor tiles allow the family to genuinely relax together and use the spaces in an unpressurised way.

International design and architecture awards 2019

The layouts of the open-plan living room encourage people to sit down together, enjoy the view, play board games, cards or just chat. The TV is hidden for most of the time in a bespoke cabinet so it’s deliberately not the focal point of the room.

The two seating areas are anchored and connected by a double-sided modular sofa from Living Divani. Neutral, slubby linens are the base layer for the fabric design, accented by teal backed cushions from UK designer Eleanor Pritchard whose designs have a decidedly mid-century feel to them. The mirrored seating areas tell stories of two eras of Danish design history. On the one side, KBH’s sculptural armchairs are certainly a future design classic. On the other side near the fireplace, two Carl Hansen lounge chairs whisper their firmly established design pedigree.

It’s a room all about connection: strengthening family life through shared hobbies and easy-living spaces, delighting through a love of design: Danish and further afield, connecting with the seascape beyond and nature’s call to be at one with the world.

A perfect marriage of architecture and interiors

The design fully answers the client’s brief of creating a retreat that puts family life first through a strong connection with nature, and by designing in the opportunities for a family to connect with each other. There is a seemingly effortless connection between the interior and exterior architecture, and then between inside and outside. For so many of our projects we insert a contemporary interior into a 300-year-old building. Of course, the juxtaposition created by this has its merits. Here though, it was enormously satisfying to create the interiors in real time alongside a world-renowned architect crafting a modern dwelling entirely fit for purpose.

Design et Al

For Staffan it has been the project of a lifetime.

“I left Stockholm for the UK more than half my life ago and have worked on design projects in Asia, America, the Middle East and all over Europe.

Here is a family who have lived internationally for years but whose souls also long for home – the design journey into this shared heritage was all the more rewarding.

The hero of the piece

The house and its interiors were explicitly designed to reflect and lionise the exterior setting. It is the hero of the piece in a way that most of our projects are not allowed to be. A few, very carefully curated materials were selected so as to blend into the environment and make sure that attention is never deflected away from the view.

The external cladding of the private wing becomes the internal backdrop of the entertaining wing, the same material (oak) then used in an unstained format in the kitchen, bathroom cabinets and wardrobes. A large format, roughly textured neutral floor tile is used throughout the house on floors and in the bathroom walls, making the inter-connected spaces feel even larger. Large floor-toceiling windows frame curated views into the landscape, almost like still lives. Exposed brickwork on the chimney breast expresses the truth to materials so common in Scandinavian design. The natural world, or materials as close as possible to nature bring the outside in at every key junction and design decision.

Design et Al

KBH: key collaborators

An important design decision was made early on to work with Copenhagen-based atelier KBH on the bespoke kitchen, wardrobes and bathroom cabinets, ensuring an easy flow of materials through room to room. Hand-etched lava stone for the basin tops from Italian atelier Made a Mano introduces subtle geometric patterns, an example of how natural materials are elevated through craft and subtly layered to create interest.

The collaboration with KBH also resulted in some key functional sculptures that act as room dividers, furniture and social magnets and continue the expression of the red thread. The open plan living and dining spaces are gently zoned using a cabinet on stand that can be accessed from both sides: bar, TV cabinet as well as storage for games and hobbies. Continuing this multi-functional theme, the dining table effortlessly becomes a ping pong table – one of the family’s shared passions.

Famous last words …

Fanø is a place to decompress, to connect with nature, to put down cell phones and look out at the bigger, more important picture. To be with their children, to be more at peace and live a simpler life. These were the client’s hopes and dreams for their sand dune retreat. The amount of time they are drawn back to it, is testimony to its success and here at Tollgard Design Group we’re so very glad that it won the International design & architecture awards 2019: European Interiors Scheme.

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Shortlisted for Interior Designer of the Decade

What an honour for Tollgard Design Group to have been shortlisted by The International Design & Architecture Awards for their ultimate accolade: the Global Interior Designer of The Decade Award.

interior designer of the decade

So let us take you on a journey through time as we look back on all of the shortlisted and award-winning projects over our last decade of interior design.

Coombe Hill Mansion

Coombe Hill Mansion: Winner 2012

A contemporary Arts and Crafts mansion on the outskirts of London. With apparently conflicting client requirements of a boutique interior combined with a fun family home, the challenge was to reconcile these elements in a design with overarching coherence.

The luxury boutique requirement was broadly a wish for chic, stylish interiors, but it also became apparent that there were two separate elements within it – public entertaining vs. private retreat.  We decided to interpret these distinct requirements in the interior design using a combination of impressive ‘public’ statement pieces set against a backdrop of calming spa-like features. 

We achieved the boutique retreat feel primarily through careful use of materials, predominantly pure and calming natural stone and wood which, in line with Arts and Crafts aesthetics, were displayed in a simple form to reveal the materials’ inherent natural variation and beauty.  The key natural materials – walnut, limestone, basalt (and, to a lesser degree, quartzitic slate) – were used throughout the property as a unifying element. 

Through this consistent use of materials in the interior architecture and joinery, along with the introduction of an Arts and Craft inspired decorative motif we achieved the overall stylistic unification of the house.  The motif in particular allowed us greater freedom to delineate the separate areas using differing furniture styles and colour, whilst still retaining a feeling of overarching coherence, from the large scale architectural elements and finishes, right down to the furniture, soft furnishings and artwork.  The considered approach to full scale unification of the house provided the clients with a highly unique, bespoke and boutique interior, with which they were thrilled.

To view more of the Coombe Hill Mansion project – click here

Quinta Do Lago: Winner 2012

A sculptural, innovative, dynamic architect’s vision realised on Portugal’s sunshine coast. With huge spans of glass, concrete and stone, the challenge was to bring colour and life to this temple of light.

The clients wanted a very modern, dynamic interior to match the architect’s bold vision. The house is incredibly eye catching – people stop their cars, golfers pause mid-game to look at it. The architect, Armando Guerreiro, has created a house to look at, and look out of – glass is the house’s most significant material, and the clients emphasized again and again the importance of light in our meetings.

Key to Tollgard Design Group’s philosophy is the Scandinavian notion of the ‘red thread’. The thread is the guiding principle of creative endeavour and what ultimately gives each design we work on a sense of coherence and continuity. The client’s obvious and avowed love of art and sculpture and their appreciation of furniture as crafted, designed pieces – functional sculptures- provided an early avenue of inspiration.

Concrete, glass, stone, some wood: the building blocks of the house were key to working out our argument for the softness, colour and warmth we needed to add to this bold new 21st century villa. Everything that we added to this sparse palette had to give the client’s pleasure. We wanted to exceed their expectations: of us as designers, and of their new home and modern lifestyle. We therefore added the architect’s dynamic motif to the interior architecture of doors and used the same material for the bespoke joinery we designed. We added colour in a bold, graphic way, introducing it almost as an architectural material. We worked with the same vision that the architect brought to the project, and in this way married the inside of the building with its innovative architecture.

As designers, we are extremely proud of the project, and overjoyed that the clients are too. It has become more than a holiday house for our clients. It is a home that they love, and return to whenever they are able to. That is more than we could have hoped for. This email was sent to us during the project:
“As I have said before, you and your team have made this whole project
so easy for us. You have given us great ideas and steered us in right
direction and the end result will be a wonderful villa which we could not
have managed without you. Walking into Staffan Tollgård’s office was
the best thing we could have done!”

To view more of the Quinta Do Lago project – click here

Tollgard Showroom: Shortlisted 2014

A unique hybrid of retail environment and design practice, the Design Store offers a new retail experience: personalised, calm and complete.

This year’s crowning achievement for architectural interior design practice Staffan Tollgård Design Group was the opening of their SW1 Design Store. The ambitious fit-out transformed the flagship commercial space on the Grosvenor Waterside docks into a stunning studio & retail space over 9 short weeks.

The Store was designed to be a window into the world of the residential interiors that the Group is internationally recognised for, as well as a creative & inspiring workspace. Function was at the heart of the design brief, and the creation of a mezzanine space to house the Group’s 20-strong design team added space for a working kitchen and dining area, two bathrooms, a cinema and a bedroom. Literally a home-away-from-home for the family-run practice, the Store has been mistaken for a very high-end apartment on more than one occasion by passersby keen to acquire it.

The ‘red thread’ or DNA of the interior was the Group’s own unique blend of bold, contemporary design: the architectural layering of textures, functional sculpture in the form of furniture and lighting, strong injections of colour.

The suppliers used in the Store represent the best in their fields: each material and item from the poured concrete floor, Austrian barn-wood cladding and architectural lighting to the invisible wall speakers are available for sale and specification.

The ethos of the store is that: ‘Great design holds a story. Come and tell us yours’.

To view more of the Tollgard Showroom project – click here

Totteridge House

Totteridge House: Shortlisted 2014

A dramatic modernisation of a handsome family home, together with David Gibson Architects, has resulted in openplan and intersecting living spaces that hinge on the striking sculptural staircase. Repeated architectural and decorative refrains of glass, natural and stained wood, large format ceramics, together with contemporary lighting features create a bold and inviting home.

We were engaged to provide a full interior design specification for this renovation of an existing family home.We began work with the project in fully-fledged construction: a challenging time-line for all parties concerned.With the architectural design of the house under control, the clients wanted a full interior design specification comprising materials, finishes, bathrooms (including layouts, specification and finishes), lighting, joinery and all the FF&E. With a young family (with twins on the way), the clients wanted the interiors to reflect their fun family life and their love of design.

They wanted to make the most of the space that the new house would afford them: a huge open plan living area would be used for entertaining and movie nights with the kids; a family kitchen would see regular gatherings of 10 and more. The dining room needed to seat as many as possible and be linked with the living room beyond.

Taking inspiration from the architect’s creation of double-height spaces in the entrance area the designers created a lighting design with Moooi’s Raimond pendants taking centre stage. Visible from the first and ground floors they are functional, modern sculptures: sleek and minimal, adding to the ‘red thread’ of linear geometry that runs through the house.

“Every design decision asked whether the client’s personality was being captured: had we made an unusual decision or stuck with the norm? If the latter we reviewed it until we were happy that the house reflected a dynamic and inspiring couple with a house to match. The colour scheme ties the architectural finishes together and adds another layer of life and character. ”

To view more of the Totteridge House project – click here

knightsbridge penthouse

Knightsbridge Penthouse: Winner 2015

A luxurious contemporary lateral living space on a prestigious square through the refurbishment and integration of two separate Queen Anne apartments. 

Exquisite detail and the exceptional layered selection of textures and materials combine to create a luxurious contemporary lateral living space. Dramatic doors and passages accentuate the elegant fusion of properties into one stately home. Every feature carefully considered and executed.

We worked together with Peek Architects to create a functional, luxurious and rational spatial arrangement of the space: a series of layouts that felt as though the apartment had always existed, rather than two separate spaces that had been summarily bolted together. Our role as Interior Designers comprised of the selection and specification of the architectural finishes throughout the apartment, detailed design of the bathrooms and joinery together with the full FF&E design. 

Lighting designers Xavio Lighting played an important part in the project, with the technical elements of the home automation and architectural lighting under their scope of works. Selection of the decorative fittings throughout was given to us, though, and the final piece of the puzzle saw us able to choose the final artworks from the client’s own extended collection. 

To view more of the Knightsbridge Penthouse project – click here

london based interior designer

Notting Hill Paradise: Shortlisted 2017

A thoughtful, elegant yet playful family home that captures the essence of Notting Hill life in a sleek architectural nutshell. The heart of Notting Hill is at once traditional and iconoclastic, home to the established and the irreverent. Important, imposing homes stand side-by-side with pastel-painted mews houses, the mix creating an exuberant, energetic melting pot representative of London living at its best. This impressive home on one of Notting Hill’s most beautiful communal gardens was designed to capture these contrasting elements as family developers Thornsett together with Capital Architects and interior designers Tollgard Design Group brought this already handsome home into the 21st century. 

In architectural terms the house was sensitively extended with a new basement adding to its already generous footprint. We carved out a modern, family home over five floors, giving each its own visual and functional identity linked through a clean architectural palette. The brief from the development team was to create a liveable family home with the appropriate gravitas and formality in some of the key entertaining spaces, with all the creature comforts of modern living carefully concealed. Thus, on the ground floor the scene is set with the palette of dark herringbone floors, bespoke joinery, and dramatic sculptural pendants. On the family floor below, though, the atmosphere is lighter and more tropical as the open-plan kitchen, dining and living room extend out into the private garden space beyond. One floor lower and the cinema and wine room create intimate and cosy entertaining spaces. The top three floors contain a luxurious master suite and four further ensuite bedrooms.

Tollgard Design Group are great believers in honest luxury. This home uses solid, valuable materials in a clean, architectural, and truthful way – and the outcome is refreshingly authentic. The house is as open as we could make it, (without breaking out in the neighbouring houses.) The spaces are well-thought through, with a clear sense of the family that would need to live and move through them. There is a lot of storage… something the designers have learnt you can never have too much of. There is drama in the rooms that demand it – the beautiful Fiori di Bosco marble in the master bathroom making a bold statement against the clean lines of the bath and basins.

To view more of the Notting Hill Paradise project – click here

knightsbridge london interior design

Knightsbridge Splendour: Shortlisted 2017

The prized ingredients of a grand family home have been laterally re-strung to create a unique and contemporary masterpiece on an iconic London crescent. Lateral luxury presents a logistical and geographical problem for the London property market. On the one hand, property developers are meeting the demands of modern buyers for wide, open living spaces on one floor by building new buildings. On the other hand, some still crave the grandeur, romance, and importance of buildings from a previous age, nestled in the heart of London’s most prized locations. These buildings are not wide, and staircases are architecturally ubiquitous. This apartment in one of London’s most sought-after Knightsbridge garden crescent offers another answer.

By combining four apartments, three of them showcased in one beautifully rhythmic series of entertaining spaces across a single floor, Tollgard Design Group have helped create a new form of luxury lateral living on an iconic crescent. The apartment’s listed building status proved a catalyst for design innovation; our design team worked with PEEK Architecture + Design, scrutinising layout permutations in order to rationalise a living experience that could perfectly meet the logistical and social demands of an unknown buyer.

Tollgard Design Group were respectful of the architectural integrity of each apartment; reinstating original fireplaces, maintaining ceiling beams, cornices and the cellular structure of the original spaces. Yet through a judicious selection of contemporary finishes also created a new, coherent design journey, moving from a lighter to darker palette in the entertaining to the more private spaces, a play on light and shade that has created significant interest and drama.

From four neighbouring apartments in three adjacent buildings the designers effectively and efficiently altered the orientation from portrait to landscape, offering a discerning audience an enfilade of three grand entertaining spaces; master suite with separate dressing areas; 5 further ensuite bedrooms, private study, wellness area comprising gym, massage room, sauna and steam rooms and an outdoor terrace housed in an annexed lower ground capsule apartment. The prized components of a grand family home have been laterally re-strung to create a unique and contemporary masterpiece.

To view more of the Knightsbridge Splendour project – click here

Batman's penthouse

Batman’s Penthouse: Shortlisted 2019

An iconic penthouse for a modern-day Gatsby. Dramatic materials applied with contemporary flair and architectural discipline elevate one of London’s finest residences. Or – ‘Let me entertain you…’ Two apartments in the treeline of one of London’s most famous garden squares have been exuberantly integrated to create an iconic penthouse.

Our brief was to wow. In a cool, non-ostentatious but decidedly show-stopping way. Our client tasked us with the integration of two existing apartments set in the 3rd and 4th floors of one of London’s most prestigious garden squares. Working closely with Peek Architecture + Design we carved out a new penthouse comprising 5 ensuite bedrooms, reception & dining rooms, chef’s kitchen, media room and two technology-fuelled terraces that look towards London’s cityscape.

‘Let me entertain you …’ demanded Robbie Williams. He might have had our penthouse in mind. The directive to entertain was never far from our minds when we started to pull together the red thread for this apartment that was designed to host a thousand parties.

To view more of the Batman Penthouse project – click here

Fanø summer house

Fanø Summer House: Shortlisted 2019

‘Only connect’. The Fanø Summer House fuses architecture, interiors and environment. It is a place to decompress, to connect as a family and appreciate the bigger, more important picture.

The island of Fanø has always been a special place for the clients and their family: the Danish-born wife spent her summers as a child there, and in turn her family has owned a summer house there for over a decade. The family fell in love with the simple yet striking buildings that architect Knud Holscher had completed in the past. Having worked with Staffan Tollgård on their home and commercial premises in London, they invited him to join their design journey.

The summer house is a coherent, hard-working family house that has evolved from its setting and from the clients’ clear vision of how to embrace and enjoy this environment. It is a house that puts family life first – and as a design practice that specialises in designing for families this was our favourite aspect of the project.

Fanø is a place to decompress, to connect with nature, to put down cell phones and look out at the bigger, more important picture. To be with their children, to be more at peace and live a simpler life. These were the client’s hopes and dreams for their sand dune retreat. The amount of time they are drawn back to it, is testimony to its success.

To view more of the Fanø project – click here

This Decade of Design

Looking through these projects has elicited an unexpected mixture of pride and delight. It’s brought back some of the highs and lows we have experienced along the way too … design is a journey of passion and grit, of dedication to detail and to the goal of helping our clients lead better lives through the homes we create for them. We keep in mind something that Alain de Botton so beautifully expressed in his book ‘ The Architecture of Happiness, when he said that

“Belief in the significance of architecture is premised on the notion that we are, for better or worse, different people in different places – and on the conviction that it is architecture’s task to render vivid to us who we might ideally be”.

We are truly honoured to have been shortlisted for the Interior Designer of The Decade award, and for the recognition that we have faithfully and painstakingly ‘rendered vivid’ the lives of our clients over these last ten years through the language of design.

To read some of our latest news choose from below:

Staffan Tollgård interviewed in House & Garden Oct ’19

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Staffan Tollgård the co-founder of Tollgard Design Group paints a picture of his life, work and inspirations.

Click here to read more.

Elle Decoration Germany Sep 2019

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The Danish Summer House is a story about different people coming together to realise a client’s dream.  Tollgard Design Group completed the project alongside renowned architect Knud Holscher on the island of Fanø located off Southwestern Denmark.

Elle Decoration Germany has featured our project in their latest issue.

Click here to read more.

Design et Al 2019 Awards

We’re proud to announce that Tollgard Design Group was shortlisted for not one but two ‘Design et Al’ interior design awards: the Interior Design Award for Europe & the London City Space Award.

Fanø Summer House: Interior Design SchemeEurope Award

‘Only connect!’ The Fanø Summer House fuses architecture, interiors and environment. It is a place to decompress, to connect as a family and appreciate the bigger, more important picture.

The island of Fanø has always been a special place for the clients: the Danish-born wife spent her summers as a child there, and her family has owned a summer house there for over a decade. The family had fallen in love with renowned architect Knud Holscher’s simple yet striking buildings, and, having worked with Staffan Tollgård on their home and commercial premises, they invited him to join their design journey. Born and raised in Stockholm, the idea of the summer house retreat is one that speaks strongly to Staffan’s own childhood and values. “We visit our summer house as often as we can. When designing the interiors of Fanø, I was determined to connect it as coherently to the landscape as possible: to create a retreat from city life that extended to the choice of every material and piece of furniture”.

Batman’s Penthouse: City Space – London Award:

‘Let me entertain you … ‘ Two apartments in the treeline of a famous Knightsbridge garden square have been exuberantly integrated to create a penthouse fit for a dark knight.

Our brief was to wow. In a cool, non-ostentatious but decidedly show-stopping way. Our client tasked us with the integration of two existing apartments set in the 3rd and 4th floors of one of London’s most prestigious garden squares. Working closely with Peek Architecture + Design we carved out a new penthouse comprising 5 ensuite bedrooms, reception & dining rooms, chef’s kitchen, media room and two technology-fuelled terraces that look towards London’s cityscape. The final result reflects the vision of an exceptional client willing to trust his design team to push creative boundaries, to test new materials, to go beyond the expected and satisfactory. The design works so well because it expresses that more can indeed be more if the quality of thought and execution are rigorous and painstaking.


The Interior Design ‘Design et Al’ Europe Award: Fanø Summerhouse

‘Only connect’. The Fanø Summer House fuses architecture, interiors and environment. It is a place to decompress, to connect as a family and appreciate the bigger, more important picture.

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The island of Fanø has always been a special place for the clients and their family: the Danish-born wife spent her summers as a child there, and in turn her family has owned a summer house there for over a decade. The family fell in love with the simple yet striking buildings that architect Knud Holscher had completed in the past. Having worked with Staffan Tollgård on their home and commercial premises in London, they invited him to join their design journey.

Born and raised in Stockholm, the idea of the summer house retreat is one that speaks strongly to Staffan’s own childhood and values. “I take my own children back to our family’s summer house on the lake as often as I can. The connection with nature and the escape from city life act as a reset button for all of us. When designing the interiors of Fanø, I was determined to connect it as coherently to the landscape as possible: to create a retreat from city life that extended to the choice of every material and piece of furniture”.

The Scandinavian notion of the red thread is one that Staffan uses in every project as a shorthand to describe the creative design DNA. Pulling together clues from the architecture, from the cultural history, environment, from the client’s own personalities and the questions of living that need to be solved by the design, the red thread draws a protective framework around the project, linking architecture with interiors, client with design.

For this project the red thread was the visual and sensory connection with a uniquely Danish natural setting. This was expressed by fusing inside with outside as seamlessly as possible, using vernacular and true materials as simply as possible. Comfortable, functional minimalism was the goal so that the clients could enjoy every space to its fullest and detach from the buzz of city life left behind.

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Family Values

The summer house is a coherent, hard-working family house that has evolved from its setting and from the clients’ clear vision of how to embrace and enjoy this environment. It is a house that puts family life first – and as a design practice that specialises in designing for families this was our favourite aspect of the project.

The key ingredients of the house are deliberately low-maintenance: one of the decisions to use a natural-looking ceramic floor tile was based on this connection between inside and outside that had to be managed (in order to be enjoyed!). Lots of sand and water get tracked into the house by the kids as well as the family Portuguese water-dog. Decisions to use low maintenance, easygoing fabrics and bullet-proof floor tiles allow the family to genuinely relax together and use the spaces in an unpressurised way.

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The layouts of the open-plan living room encourage people to sit down together, enjoy the view, play board games, cards or just chat. The TV is hidden for most of the time in a bespoke cabinet so it’s deliberately not the focal point of the room.

The two seating areas are anchored and connected by a double-sided modular sofa from Living Divani. Neutral, slubby linens are the base layer for the fabric design, accented by teal backed cushions from UK designer Eleanor Pritchard whose designs have a decidedly mid-century feel to them. The mirrored seating areas tell stories of two eras of Danish design history. On the one side, KBH’s sculptural armchairs are certainly a future design classic. On the other side near the fireplace, two Carl Hansen lounge chairs whisper their firmly established design pedigree.

It’s a room all about connection: strengthening family life through shared hobbies and easy-living spaces, delighting through a love of design: Danish and further afield, connecting with the seascape beyond and nature’s call to be at one with the world.

A perfect marriage of architecture and interiors

The design fully answers the client’s brief of creating a retreat that puts family life first through a strong connection with nature, and by designing in the opportunities for a family to connect with each other. There is a seemingly effortless connection between the interior and exterior architecture, and then between inside and outside. For so many of our projects we insert a contemporary interior into a 300-year-old building. Of course, the juxtaposition created by this has its merits. Here though, it was enormously satisfying to create the interiors in real time alongside a world-renowned architect crafting a modern dwelling entirely fit for purpose.

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For Staffan it has been the project of a lifetime: “I left Stockholm for the UK more than half my life ago and have worked on design projects in Asia, America, the Middle East and all over Europe.

Here is a family who have lived internationally for years but whose souls also long for home – the design journey into this shared heritage was all the more rewarding.

The hero of the piece

The house and its interiors were explicitly designed to reflect and lionise the exterior setting. It is the hero of the piece in a way that most of our projects are not allowed to be. A few, very carefully curated materials were selected so as to blend into the environment and make sure that attention is never deflected away from the view.

The external cladding of the private wing becomes the internal backdrop of the entertaining wing, the same material (oak) then used in an unstained format in the kitchen, bathroom cabinets and wardrobes. A large format, roughly textured neutral floor tile is used throughout the house on floors and in the bathroom walls, making the inter-connected spaces feel even larger. Large floor-toceiling windows frame curated views into the landscape, almost like still lives. Exposed brickwork on the chimney breast expresses the truth to materials so common in Scandinavian design. The natural world, or materials as close as possible to nature bring the outside in at every key junction and design decision.

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KBH: key collaborators

An important design decision was made early on to work with Copenhagen-based atelier KBH on the bespoke kitchen, wardrobes and bathroom cabinets, ensuring an easy flow of materials through room to room. Hand-etched lava stone for the basin tops from Italian atelier Made a Mano introduces subtle geometric patterns, an example of how natural materials are elevated through craft and subtly layered to create interest.

The collaboration with KBH also resulted in some key functional sculptures that act as room dividers, furniture and social magnets and continue the expression of the red thread. The open plan living and dining spaces are gently zoned using a cabinet on stand that can be accessed from both sides: bar, TV cabinet as well as storage for games and hobbies. Continuing this multi-functional theme, the dining table effortlessly becomes a ping pong table – one of the family’s shared passions.

Famous last words …

Fanø is a place to decompress, to connect with nature, to put down cell phones and look out at the bigger, more important picture. To be with their children, to be more at peace and live a simpler life. These were the client’s hopes and dreams for their sand dune retreat. The amount of time they are drawn back to it, is testimony to its success.

The London City Space ‘Design et Al’ Award: Batman’s Penthouse

Two apartments in the treeline of a famous Knightsbridge garden square have been exuberantly integrated to create a penthouse fit for a dark knight.

Our brief was to wow. In a cool, non-ostentatious but decidedly show-stopping way. Our client tasked us with the integration of two existing apartments set in the 3rd and 4th floors of one of London’s most prestigious garden squares. Working closely with Peek Architecture + Design we carved out a new penthouse comprising 5 ensuite bedrooms, reception & dining rooms, chef’s kitchen, media room and two technology-fuelled terraces that look towards London’s cityscape.

‘Let me entertain you …’ demanded Robbie Williams. He might have had our penthouse in mind. The directive to entertain was never far from our minds when we started to pull together the red thread for this apartment that was designed to host a thousand parties and to display prized collections of wine, art and contemporary design icons.

A glass elevator rises through the apartment straight into the penthouse. The floors are divided into one floor that sleeps, and one that, like Las Vegas, never will. The architectural revelation was the exposure and integration of the building’s vaulted ceilings in the roof into the twin reception and dining rooms. Speared by a five-metre tall bronze-clad fireplace column, the reception and dining rooms are an entertaining Eden.

Bespoke wine fridges from Belgian specialists Degré 12 offer storage space for hundreds of bottles, temperature controlled to show off the finest wine collection in perfect cellar-like conditions. A mirrored bar connects the two sets of windows overlooking the garden square, effortlessly concealing fridge, freezer and wine cooler. The deep raw granite edge is a beautiful detail from Eggersmann’s stonemasons.

Contemporary geometric parquet flooring is inspired by the incredible angles of the roof construction that is one of the apartment’s design highlights. The connection of the angles is a metaphor for the connections forged between client, architecture and interior design: a creative zing only possible when inspiration and dedication perfectly combine.

With AC throughout and sophisticated home automation provided by market leaders NV Integration, this apartment not only lives beautifully, it does so at the forefront of 21st Century technology. As would befit the owner of a Bat Cave …

Superhuman attention to detail

The uncompromising attention to detail that has gone into the design and the execution of the finishes is one of the most satisfying aspects of the project. Two geometric elements run through the property. The first reflects the angles revealed in the vaulted ceilings. These were translated in the fractured parquet design of the reception rooms and also in the master bedroom headboard and the entrance hall joinery. The same pattern repeated in different materials to highlight the energy forged by connections.

From these angles we drew out a more regular horizontal line, starting from the master bedroom headboard. Where these angles met the leather panels, we created datums that worked through the dark wooden doors and the bronzed metal panels on the floor above. It’s a geeky favourite aspect, but then, the devil is in the detail.

We also love the totally unstructured beauty of the hanging Apparatus lamps that drape from the angles of the vaulted ceiling in the reception and dining room. Like glass ballerinas they have poise, grace and organic energy.

A labour of love

The design journey has been a labour of love for a number of talented architects, designers, specialists, workers and artisans. The final result reflects the vision of an exceptional client willing to trust his design team to fulfil the potential of the space through a coherent creative vision. The interpretation of the design brief and the clues of the architecture have allowed the architect and design team to push creative boundaries, to test new materials, to go beyond the expected and satisfactory. The design works so well because it expresses that more can indeed be more, if the quality of thought and execution are rigorous and painstaking.

knightsbridge penthouse kitchen design

The best of London

This part of London puts its best foot forward. The original Queen Anne architecture doesn’t shy from decorative detail and craftsmanship. The luxurious materials and innovative design ethos stay true to this approach, using finishes and craftsmanship to tell a story of 21st century patronage. The new layouts make the most of the natural light and connection with the sky and views over London. The glass staircase designed by Peek opens up the heart of the apartment, creating interior and vertical views. This is an apartment from which to enjoy the very best of what London has to offer.

architectural design staircase

The superpowers of master craftsmen

Nearly every element of this project reflects the work of an artisan or specialist. SB Joinery were responsible for the specialist joinery and doors in the project, ensuring that the vertical lines that run through the project were maintained in every element and adding specially designed panels from De Castelli and ironmongery into the reception room doors.

Bigelli Marmi templated and cut the stone for the project in Italy. Calfe Crimmings applied the hand trowelled finishes on the open staircase and in the reception rooms. De Castelli were responsible for the bronze cladding on the chimney column and ensuring that the enormous sliding panel by NV Integration for the TV worked seamlessly. Alphenberg from Holland flew in to apply the leather panels (that were the same size and layout as the bronze panels on the floor above) to the master bedroom.

Eggersmann Design London worked with Belgian wine cellar specialist Degré 12 to customise their wine fridges for the project, adding antiqued glass to the design that also houses and conceals the AC for the rooms. They also specially integrated the Gaggenau gas hob into the stainless-steel island.

In the master bathroom, Corian experts Solidity made the bespoke bath flow seamlessly into the steam shower enclosure.

An apartment that lives life in technicolour

The brief was to wow. The first impressions of the double height vaulted ceilings in the reception room, the bronze-clad chimney breast and the stunning light fixtures tick this box. Yet the apartment also had to work. A chef’s kitchen, masses of storage, AC throughout, considered layouts, a large laundry, space for a housekeeper and nanny to live alongside with their own personal space … these considerations make this more than a penthouse built to entertain. This apartment has been designed for the best of the times and the everyday times too. It just makes the everyday so much more fun. Just don’t tell Batman.

knightsbridge penthouse