Wellness Meets Design At The Heart Of Upper Riverside And London’s Greenwich Peninsula

BY Harper's BAZAAR Arabia / May 20 2019 / 14:42 PM

Jane Lawrence, Head of Interiors at Knight Dragon shares the design elements that are bringing a sense of wellbeing within the urban landscape of Greenwich Peninsula

Wellness Meets Design At The Heart Of Upper Riverside And London’s Greenwich Peninsula
Courtesy of Upper Riverside

Jane opens the door into a two bedroom apartment at No 2 Upper Riverside as she explains that atmosphere, materiality, colour (the walls are clean and crisp) spatially uncluttered are the boxes we should be ticking when it comes to creating a calm sensibility when we enter a space. There is a shift towards warm and simple details, natural materials and flowing lines. Grey, has had its day (at least for now) being replaced by tonal designs with a palette of fresh greens, pale lilacs, not full on pastels. This move towards softer aesthetics in the home can enhance our sense of wellbeing. In a world where we are connected 24/7 Jane explains, “Interiors and spatial planning can create the cocoon you want versus a space you feel you cannot escape. Design should be subliminal. People do not always see beauty but if it is beautiful it is self-evident. When beauty is missing, then we sense something is awry”.

Comfort is key without compromising on design. Jane follows the Terence Conran rule that great design should also feel good and be practical. Jane picks out a chair, a design classic by Carl Hansen, it looks elegant with a leather seat and oak finish, organic and ergonomic it is really comfortable as the wings of the chair reach up and envelop you. The sofa is well designed and when you sink into the fabric it is soft, and the colour a shade of blue that blends into the watery tones of the river at dusk.

Courtesy of Upper Riverside, London

Reinforcing the importance of quality both inside and outside of a building is apparent, Jane explains that great architecture with the right interiors for the audience is key and in this case large windows and riverside views are all encompassing and it helps that every apartment benefits from the stunning vista along the River Thames. The open plan living area feels like you are floating above the water particularly in the lower apartments which proves, in this case, when choosing a floor, higher isn’t always better. Two sides of glass meeting at a point provide an angular shape that lets us sit with the light, the reflections off the water seeping into the space. All these design elements allow for ideal sleep hygiene conditions and I imagine a peaceful slumber winding down in this setting.

Courtesy of Upper Riverside, London

So what else is new and shaping the interior design world? Jane says, “Interior design was always there but in recent years product and furniture design have upped the game by incorporating new materials, and you see this throughout the apartment”. There are Jesmonite vases that give a natural look, very much on trend with a move to tactile, textural, natural looking materials in the home and Jane recommends we explore the use of aggregates, blue granite and terrazzo.

Looking ahead Jane sees bio mimicry, a way of emulating nature’s patterns as sustainable solutions, making an impact on the way we build and design homes in the future. It seems there is still much we can learn from nature and the way we choose to live, even within an urban landscape.

About Jane Lawrence

Jane works as the Head of Interiors at Knight Dragon. She was previously a director at Conran + Partners, responsible for interiors projects in the residential, museum and hospitality sectors, both internationally and in the UK. Jane is a regular contributor to design debates for FX, Sleeper and the RIBA and conferences including Sleep and the IHC.

About Upper Riverside

Upper Riverside is a new neighbourhood within Knight Dragon’s 150-acre London regeneration project, Greenwich Peninsula. This apartment is located at No.2 Upper Riverside, one of a family of five buildings (numbered No.1 to No.5).