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.

View more of the Coombe Hill Mansion project

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!”

View more of the Quinta Do Lago project

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’.

View more of the Tollgard Showroom project

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. ”

View more of the Totteridge House project

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. 

View more of the Knightsbridge Penthouse project

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.

View more of the Notting Hill Paradise project

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.

View more of the Knightsbridge Splendour project

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.

View more of the Batman Penthouse project

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.

View more of the Fanø project

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.

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