Retrouvius and Bella Freud unveil penthouse interiors in London’s Television Centre
Show apartments are rarely inspiring from a design perspective, but Helios 710, a three-bedroom duplex at Television Centre in London’s White City, is full of colour, texture and verve. The two-floor apartment in the Grade II-listed circular 1960s Helios building, is the first to be completed of ‘The Architects’ Series’ of premium and penthouse apartments at the mixed-use development in the former BBC headquarters.
Piercy&Company are the architects behind the apartment, which features striking fluted marble detailing in the bathroom and kitchen. While the interiors are a collaboration between Maria Speake, co-founder of architectural salvage and design company Retrouvius, and fashion designer Bella Freud.
The open-plan living space, the kitchens are by architects Piercy&Company. Photography: Michael Sinclair
Helios 710 is conceived as Freud’s own family pad and like her eponymous label, it’s a stylish 21st-century homage to the 1970s, replete with earthy materials such as raffia, chunky corduroy, suede, cork and beaded curtains (apparently also favourite of Freud’s late famous painter father Lucian), combined with a punchy, retro palette of marigold, burnt tomato, and angelica green.
West Londoners Speake and Freud have been friends for a decade, meeting when Retrouvius was commissioned to solve a tricky space within Freud’s London flat. ‘Maria changed the kitchen from one room to another,’ recalls Freud, kicking off her boots onto a shaggy rug and curling up on a yellow corduroy sofa. ‘It was quite radical and totally changed the pleasure of being in that place,’ she adds.
The living area features natural tones of travertine, wicker, suede and raffia with punches of angelica green and tomato red. Photography: Michael Sinclair
A few years later, Retrouvius returned to make more modifications chez Freud, and this segued into the pair collaborating on the first Bella Freud boutique on London’s Chiltern Street, which opened in 2015. ‘We decided to make it an extension of Bella’s home,’ says Speake, adding that the projects are so enjoyable because the pair share particular sensibilities.
‘We are both into colour. It’s so great to work with someone who loves – and has a really articulate way of talking about – colour,’ says Speake. The yellow-pink painted walls of the TV snug being a notable joint favourite, which has translated well from the shop. ‘Well, I love yellow and pink together, so yellow-pink is great,’ says Freud.
Bedrooms are on the lower floor with living spaces above. The bed in the master suite was sourced from Italy. Photography: Michael Sinclair
Developers Stanhope asked the duo to pick which apartment to transform from a selection. Other firms involved in the 23-strong collection of The Architects’ Series include AHMM, Coffey Architects, Haptic and Archer Humphryes. Piercy&Company, which has designed five apartments, appealed to Speake and Freud because of the small TV snug, and also the fluted detailing in the kitchen and bathroom.
Some of the gems Retrouvius sourced for the scheme include a timber midcentury armchair by Paolo Buffa, and several statement 1970s finds – a plastic three-piece suite with original boucle upholstery, a travertine coffee table and table lamp, an Italian brass bed, and from Belgium an extraordinary black and a gold sideboard with a mirrored chevron front.
Young artist Eliza Hopewell’s plates brighten up walls and surfaces. Photography: Michael Sinclair
Freud’s signature slogan sweaters appear in the form of cushions, rugs and wall-hangings custom-made by The Rug Company. Artworks selected by the designer also add a personal touch, with Eliza Hopewell’s feisty graphic feminist plates livening up walls and surfaces and Lorena Lohr’s still life photographs enhancing the 1970s palette of the open-plan living space.
In the kitchen another collaboration takes a stand; Freud has teamed up with artist Gillian Wearing to create the ‘Suffragette City’ bone china teaset, produced by Plinth, which specialises in limited edition artists’ merchandise.
Helios 710 is on the market, fully furnished, for £3.925m. Other west London designers who have been commissioned to refurbish apartments in The Architects Series are Fran Hickman, whose interior is complete, and Notting Hill-based practice Waldo Works, whose penthouse is slated for completion early 2019.
The three-year renovation of Television Centre also includes Soho House Group’s White City House, which opened earlier this year. §