Craft and history unite in Chan + Eayrs’ Beldi apartment in London

 Beldi apartment by Chan And Eayrs Living
Zoe Chan Eayrs and Merlin Eayrs are behind this beautifully crafted interior in London's East End.
(Image credit: Toby Lewis Thomas)

Each of their projects is a life journey, says husband-and-wife team Zoe Chan Eayrs and Merlin Eayrs; and to prove their point, the industrious couple have just completed their fourth, highly crafted, bespoke home. Chan Eayrs and Eayrs joined forces after graduation from architecture school and have since opted for a path quite unlike most of their fellow young practices. The pair don't have clients – instead they compose beautiful spaces in an entirely self-initiated way, which they produce to perfection to live in, before selling and moving on to their next project. 

Their latest interior is the Beldi, a generous quadruple aspect apartment in the heart of London's Shoreditch. The unit sits in a repurposed shoe factory, although from the photos, it would be near impossible to tell that this might once have been an industrial space; save for the scale and hints here and there, such as the 30 original Crittall windows lining the perimeter of the loft, as it was important for the pair to maintain a connection to the history of the building and wider locality. 

For the redesign, Chan Eayrs and Eayrs drew on their own history and travels. The floors are inspired by the Marrakech riads where they got married; traditional British brick motifs reference their very first project, the Herringbone house; and interlocking geometries and internal arrangements are influenced by traditional courtyard houses in Suzhou, China, where they have travelled. 

2 sink of the apartment

Designed to be their own home for a while, the Beldi reflects the family’s ‘travels and history’.

(Image credit: Toby Lewis Thomas)

The way the light fills the apartment and travels through it during the course of the day were critical in the final design. Equally important was the selection of the different textures and surfaces. There's raw lime plaster on the walls, bespoke carpentry from cross-sawn limed timber, tactile bricks and tiles, reclaimed pieces and lots of carefully selected fabrics, furniture and artworks. The colour palette gravitates towards greens and blues, referencing the views from the large windows and bringing a hint of the outside greenery in.

The architects' way of working seems unique – yet they beg to differ. ‘Many architects such as Scarpa or Mackintosh worked on every element of the home,' says Chan Eayrs. ‘Architecture was just one of the many things they did... It allows us both to work at our own pace and collaborate with specialised craftsmen, fine tuning the vision like artists or sculptors might'. Bringing together the role of the architect, the designer, the client and the developer, Chan Eayrs and Eayrs bring a whole new meaning to the words ‘holistic design'. And to confirm their calling, they are already embarking on to their next labour of love. 

Beldi apartment by Chan And Eayrs dining

The apartment, which sits in the heart of Shoreditch, is the thoughtful redesign of a converted shoe factory.

(Image credit: Toby Lewis Thomas)

Beldi apartment by Chan And Eayrs study

The architects picked colours that echo the greenery seen outside the apartment's windows.

(Image credit: Toby Lewis Thomas)

Beldi apartment by Chan And Eayrs wall

The sun filled space is quadruple aspect and combines inspiration from Europe, Asia and North Africa.

(Image credit: Toby Lewis Thomas)

Beldi apartment by Chan And Eayrs pantry

The different details reference the owners' lives and preferences.

(Image credit: Toby Lewis Thomas)

Beldi apartment by Chan And Eayrs corridor

The floors, for example, draw on Marrakech's riads, where they got married.

(Image credit: Toby Lewis Thomas)

Beldi apartment by Chan And Eayrs bedroom

The design also includes seamless cabinetry...

(Image credit: Toby Lewis Thomas)

Beldi apartment by Chan And Eayrs basin

...and traditional British brick motifs.

(Image credit: Toby Lewis Thomas)

Beldi apartment by Chan And Eayrs bedroom basin

The variety of textures and quality of craftmanship are key to the design.

(Image credit: Toby Lewis Thomas)

Beldi apartment by Chan And Eayrs loo

The Beldi is Chan + Eayrs' fourth highly bespoke residential interior.

(Image credit: Toby Lewis Thomas)

INFORMATION

For more information visit the website (opens in new tab) of Chan + Eayrs

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).