London. 2006

  • Project Details
  • Completion: 2006
  • Clients: Derwent London plc

As the residential/workshop component of a larger commercial development, Sweeps is integral to the Johnson Building project: an urban quarter in miniature with a coherent mix of uses. Named after its original use as a bullion refinery that extracted precious metals from the floor sweepings of nearby jewellery manufacturers, the reinvented building is now home to 14 uniquely-planned apartments, an office and jewellery workshop spaces within the triple-height ground and basement floors. The existing Wallis Gilbert façade and the internal heroic structure are retained to allow the subtle exploitation of the industrial scale and character, creating light-filled, high-ceilinged spaces that are complemented by a simple palette of monochrome finishes combined with oak. Outside, two new entrances – one off Leather Lane and the other via a private courtyard garden – serve the arrival of different occupants, while rear balconies and large roof terraces augment the interior spaces.

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Named after its original use as a bullion refinery where precious metals were extracted from floor sweepings sent from jewellery manufactures, Sweeps was built in 1927 and inspired by the Hoover Building of the same period by Wallis Gilbert & Partners. The five storey structure accommodates commercial use in its ground and basement floors with fourteen private apartments above.

Residents arrive through the busy Leather Lane market at one of two new entrances, one direct from the street and the other via a tranquil private garden. New code compliant common parts rise from the entrance lobbies within the existing building or through a new elegant staircase and lift structure placed at the edge of the secluded garden.

The key to the apartments was to permit the original building and its heroic structure to be released and enjoyed from all of the new spaces. Rough cast concrete columns, slabs and ribbed ceilings were blasted and painted bright white to accentuate the generous heights between the floors. Steel windows were replaced with modern versions in keeping with the original art deco style and a calm pallet of black and white was maintained internally and complemented by oiled oak parquet floors. Contemporary open plan kitchens and mod-con bathrooms and walk-in shower rooms continue the stylish theme throughout culminating in private balconies at the rear and generous roof terraces serving the upper two floors.

Go to The Johnson Building to view the commercial use below the apartments.

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