London co-living concept debuts with Wembley Ark by Holloway Li

We explore Holloway Li's new co-living concept design Wembley Ark in north London

Dimly lit shot of interior at Wembley Ark by Holloway Li
(Image credit: ARK)

A new co-living concept is making its appearance in north London's Wembley Park. Wembley Ark, a space designed by architecture studio Holloway Li, headed by Alex Holloway and Na Li, is conceived to offer a fresh solution to the need for a serviced, community-centric rental concept in affordable luxury for both long-term and short-term guests. A 300-bedroom former hotel has been reimagined into this new brand's inaugural location, which will offer from two-night to year-long stays; all set within an elegant, warm, contemporary environment filled with bespoke interiors, carefully selected modern furniture and objects, natural materials and plenty of plants. 

Inside Wembley Ark, London’s new co-living concept

Bedroom in studio at Wembley Ark, a co-living concept designed by Holloway Li

(Image credit: Nicholas Worley)

‘Our challenge was to balance intimate, domestic living spaces which evoke a sense of home with design-led hotel-style communal spaces that encourage people to work and play. We spent a lot of time researching and curating colour palettes to shape these spaces. We developed three distinct palettes – sand, sage, and taro – to imbue a sense of cosiness and calm into the guest studios,’ says Li.

‘The palettes for the bedrooms and communal spaces are strikingly different purposefully. For the communal areas, we also chose to use long tables that invite people to sit conversationally. We adopted several of the concepts that we bring to a hospitality setting for the shared spaces. On the top-floor communal spaces, the design is specifically focused on entertainment, creating space for dinner parties and drinks – allowing a balance between work and play for guests.’ 

Minimalist kitchen at Wembley Ark co-living concept by Holloway Li

(Image credit: Nicholas Worley)

In order to entice people to enjoy their stay and flexibly use the same location for a variety of activities, the design team aimed to blur the boundaries between living areas and work and play. ‘People nowadays really enjoy that flexibility,’ says Li. Open plans, fluid layouts and multitasking furniture help create this atmosphere of adaptability and diversity in use – both in private and communal areas of the project. ‘The space is designed to continually evolve and adapt, depending on the time of the day or the time of the year,’ Li says. 

The design cleverly integrates existing features with new elements, and contemporary style and design flair. There is an existing island from the original building used to create a natural division between the rear and front of the reception space; a dedicated co-working space with areas for private meetings; and a Loft and Secret Garden that can be hired for all kinds of events, from parties to screenings.

Plants and warm timber in living area at Wembley Ark co-living concept by Holloway Li

(Image credit: ARK)

Charlie Gayner and Jermaine Browne are co-founders of the new Ark co-living concept, which aims to promote considered, high-quality residential design for modern urbanites. ‘As one of the first co-living buildings designed post-pandemic, we’ve been able to respond to the huge changes we’ve seen in living and working and created a space that puts co-working and human connection side by side, while allowing guests to stay for as long as they like as opposed to being tied into long-term fixed contracts. With an attention to detail and a lifestyle-led experience, Wembley Ark delivers high design and service at a price point that previously hasn’t been affordable,’ says Gayner. 

Social responsibility was also on the ARK creators’ minds: the brand donated more than 1,000 pieces of furniture from the hotel’s refurbishment to local families and shelters in response to a rising cost of living; while Wembley Ark will be offering free accommodation for local women who have suffered domestic violence through partnering with the Al-Hasaniya Women’s Centre. 

Browne adds: ‘Co-living is the only alternative living product that exists currently which provides flexibility of length of stay, addresses loneliness and insulates people from the rising cost of living through a fixed, all-inclusive bill.’

Communal area at Wembley Ark by Holloway Li

(Image credit: ARK)

Shared space at Wembley Ark by Holloway Li

(Image credit: ARK)

Terrace with seating under blue skies at Wembley Ark by Holloway Li

(Image credit: ARK)

Minimalist bespoke joinery at Wembley Ark by Holloway Li

(Image credit: Nicholas Worley)

Studio space inside Wembley Ark by Holloway Li

(Image credit: Nicholas Worley)

Elegant modern sitting room at Wembley Ark by Holloway Li

(Image credit: Nicholas Worley)

INFORMATION

hollowayli.com (opens in new tab)

arkcoliving.co.uk (opens in new tab)

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).