A Room With A View: Glass Architecture
Design of any kind could be viewed as a fusion.
In architecture and interior design we bring together vision and practicality,
to produce the physical manifestation of thoughts and ideas.
We combine materials, contrast textures, align angles with curves and balance light and shade. We take strength from others to prevent intrinsic weakness and form partnerships to deliver a unified, satisfying whole.
Although widely known as a consumer-led company, as bespoke glass architecture professionals, Apropos are regularly asked to collaborate with designers and bring glazing expertise to specialist projects. In early 2014 the company joined forces with renowned bespoke furniture designer and maker, Andrew John Lloyd, to create a kitchen of astronomical beauty.
The kitchen in question was situated in a new build home;
architecturally designed by CREU Architects, and the perfect blank canvass for Apropos and Andrew to begin their work upon.
The brief was inspired by the heavens, with comets as a central theme, giving birth to a startling celestial design, with understated glitz and glamour sparkling on every surface. The natural worlds, both earthly and divine, find their homes here and are combined, in such a way, that they meet in flawless harmony.
The curved design allowed this undercurrent of fusion to continue as Andrew developed his plans for the client. “I wanted this kitchen to flow and to meet its function as a place to cook as well as an area to socialise and dine” he mused when asked about the early stages of his design. By studying the lifestyle of the clients Andrew was able to get a better understanding of their kitchens functional needs and incorporate these into his concept.
Although the footprint of the kitchen is relatively modest, coming in at 10mx7m, an impression of space is created from the use of glossy white oak-framed Parapan cabinets and wide Aprofold doors, which meet at a 45° angle. Made from five leaves of Solar Control, argon filled double glazing, the doors fold away to left and right, exposing an entire side of the kitchen to the gorgeous countryside. This creates a space which is both stimulating and inviting – allowing for inspired sessions over the stove in addition to friendly gatherings in the garden.
Original plans showed this area as housing a pantry – useful perhaps, but thanks to the glorious views and inspiration of Apropos it was decided to redesign this corner aspects - thus creating another dimension by opening the kitchen up to the heavens beyond. “It was plain to see that the view was an important part of the layout” says Andrew “for me, I had no choice but to reflect the open environment in my design.”
Once again though, fusion was key and this kitchen not only needed an open view of the outside world but is also intended to act as a view; framed by the Aprofold doors the design becomes a piece of art; displayed proudly atop its hillside for all to see.
Just as the twinkling lights of beyond can be imagined into constellations; so too the kitchen, with its powerful comet inspired undertones, is viewed from below as celestial by unseen eyes. “I had to combine a view outwards as well as in” explains Andrew “through the curved wall and opening of the Aprofold doors.”
Apropos’ philosophy of framing nature, first introduced as an architectural ideology by Frank Lloyd Wright, therefore came into play as Andrew searched for the perfect dual view. “We like to think of our product as enhancing nature and presenting views from the best possible perspective” Michael Barnes of Apropos describes “but never before had we flipped this on its head in order to frame the interior view. Perhaps we were too focused on bringing the outside in – until Andrew introduced this new, exciting concept.”
Constructed with rich black polyester powder-coated aluminium for strength and durability, the Apropos folding-sliding doors frame both views to perfection, bringing an airy feeling of freedom during the daylight hours and a sense of the seclusion of outer space when night time falls. Look through those windows in the darkness and the twinkling lights of the far distance could be the astronaut’s view of home.
Returning to base, pale grey Ceaserstone Granite work tops bring to mind moon rocks, while glittering polished stainless steel taps, stools, sockets, handles and basins accent the clean white fittings. Sharp white and glowing blue up-lighting adds an aura of the sophisticated unknown, reminiscent of the space adventurer’s consoles. This is a kitchen Jim, but may be not as we know it.
Parapan, with its highly reflective surface, turned out to be the perfect material through which to bring the whole design together – lending itself to creating an effective light plan and aligning with the Aprofold doors by reflecting their natural light. The light plan acts to draw the eye around the kitchens natural flow and increases the overall impact of this stunning design
The comet motif can be found throughout this Andrew Lloyd kitchen; the tear-drop shaped island a comet’s nucleus viewed with the naked eye; the gaseous tail depicted in the raised glass breakfast bar; the comet’s rugged surface portrayed in the curving, textured Burr Oak pantry door handles.
“Andy has applied his passion, creative vision and the highest of standards into reality. The original inspired thought of a comet resonates with the energy that now revolves around the heart of our home, the kitchen” enthuses Beverly Belshaw, the proud owner of this one of a kind kitchen.
Although the aesthetic genius is breathtakingly apparent in this design, it does not come at the cost of practicality. Every inch of wall space is utilised, with in-built appliances and wine racks, while room has been left for entertaining next to the Apropfold doors, allowing functions to spill outside on warm, wine-drenched evenings. The space is ergonomically designed perfectly, so that “daily living seems to ebb and flow around a beautiful space” says Beverly.
Thanks to the durability of the materials used the Belshaw’s will be able to call this kitchen the heart of their home for many more years to come. The Aprofold doors, manufactured in the UK, offer years of hard-wearing viewing pleasure and the Ceaserstone granite work surfaces, atop their solid oak frame, which serves to combat the problem of failing nails in the usual corkboard frames, will last a lifetime.
In this kitchen you can see a dedication to fusion; form and function; vision and physicality; light and dark; adventure and the comforts of home; Andrew John Lloyd and Apropos. The brief was inspired by the heavens; the energy of a comet resonate throughout this kitchen, making it the pulsating heart of a beautiful home.