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 Scheme – Europe 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.