Imagine a pristine museum of furniture and art in which all the pieces come alive at night, carousing and animating the spaces they quietly inhabit during the day. This scenario, articulated as the early inspiration for London's Saint Martins Lofts project by Marc Peridis, founder of socially conscious interior design firm, 19 Greek Street, seems neither outlandish nor impossible after perusing the resulting interior spaces. With a carefully curated blend of unique, upcycled furniture with crisp, graphic artwork, the resulting spaces incite rich visual dialogues yet to be imagined.
Tasked with creating a showcase apartment to promote the transformation of Central Saint Martins's building in Charing Cross into a series of high-end residences, 19 Greek Street turned to the multi-faceted history and context of the existing space as a springboard. An art school originally founded in the 1850s with a goal of legitimizing artistic skill sets as viable professions, the design firm found inspiration in the school’s role in revolutionizing society’s perception of artists as professionals who could be taken seriously.
“It was important that this idea would be translated into the space,” explains Peridis. “We didn’t want to make spaces that looked like living in an art school, but we wanted people to live somewhere that connected to a soul and philosophy. We went back to the core of the original building and aimed to create very comfortable, functional home spaces that bring together works from people that are very serious, creative designers.”
The resulting spaces showcase sophisticated ensembles of furniture that serve as functional pieces of high-end artwork rooted in socially conscious design. The combination of quality design paired with repurposing and resourcefulness can be found in the inclusion of pieces such as Nina Tolstrum of Studiomama’s “Re-Imagined” chair series. All chairs are made by hand from discarded office seating that is stripped down to its frame, re-welded, powder-coated, and newly padded in bright frames and colors.
The many furniture pieces throughout each space tell a similar but different story. In the study, a tilted chair demonstrates “art with function, design without”—a concept developed by Danish furniture designer Rasmus Fex as a means of eliminating functionality from an object to generate a new design aesthetic. The chair sits at a desk made from newspaper with an LED lamp crafted from iron and desert sand.
Original artworks by Central Saint Martins alumni also contribute a sense of history and narrative graphic quality to each space. In the living and dining room, figurative art reinforce the subtle, organic undertones of the furniture’s soft curves.
A comfortable yet elegant living space embedded in a simultaneous sense of old and new, the final reading of Saint Martins Loft space is a manifestation of Peridis’s original vision: "I like to think of the spaces as having a personality of different characters coming out to play in an otherwise serious setting.”