Our client had a stone barn built within the grounds of his country home to serve as an executive suite and a place to house his classic car collection. We were commissioned to plan the layout and design custom-made furniture to fulfill the many functions required of the space.
The client is a classic car and aviation enthusiast, so we had an abundance of fantastic aesthetic references and a strong direction for the style we wanted to create for him.
We began by delineating the large upper space into functional areas, his main working area, meeting area, and relaxing space. On the ground floor, his car collection, and games area.
The main linchpin of the layout was positioning the desk, as we wanted to incorporate the best vantage point of the long views down the valley through the full height glass wall. We were also mindful that the desk needed to command the space and have a good line of sight of the entrance, which we designed so that visitors arriving are visible to him before they enter the space.
The Wing desk with its aeronautical design influences, was itself split into two zones with one desktop sited at an angle for computer work, and another dedicated to working with his assistant.
In the central area, we designed a generous conference table, Soar, to seat 10. Taking the form of a modified diamond shape, it allows all the participants of the meeting to see and hear each other, regardless of where they are seated. With its striking sculpted metal base, glass and light burr olive ash wood veneer, it brightens and highlights the centre of the room.
Between the meeting area and the neighbouring lounge area, we commissioned a painting by Tim Layzell, depicting a graphic, retrospective, motor-racing scene.
The painting not only perfectly references the automotive design influences, but also conceals a large television screen, which can slide from either side, serving as a conference screen during meetings, or a television in the lounge area. As it opens, it blocks out the small windows on either side, shutting out the unwanted daylight from behind the screen.
At the end of the barn we sited the lounging area, which looks down onto the esteemed car collection through the glass floor. In this area we made it feel more intimate with a sofa, bookcase, credenza and narrower windows. The credenza is on wheels to allow for flexibility of arrangement.
No architectural features delineate the zones, instead we used functional counterpoints, like a dramatic open fire between the lounge and meeting area, and two cabinets, to break up the space.
The cabinet nearest the desk houses IT and telecom equipment, and the other is a self-contained coffee station, to serve the conference and desk area. It includes a boiling water tap and drainer on the counter, and houses a wine fridge, waste bin and crockery set below. Both are executed in the same materials as the conference table with a chamfered edge to keep the look masculine, sharp and business like.
Very subtle motifs for this project are evident in the echoed shape of a wide-angle ‘V’, seen in the Wing desk top, the inset handles on the cabinets and the base of the coffee table in the working area.
For personal appeal, we also recreated the house’s branding on the internal glass door. Colour-matching concrete to the Cotswolds stone walls, we cast the client’s house logo into a circular handle which sits in a glass door as a discreet underpinning of the building’s provenance.
The furniture on the perimeter of the room uses darker walnut woods and bold colours, which fade into the centre of the room to softer, burr olive ash wood, and reflective metal surfaces.
Above the gleaming conference table, we were commissioned to produce a large suspended light, the resulting Nest light, with its random organic twisting branches, acts as a complete contrast to the strong geometry of the tables. Executed in precision-engineered steel, it also references and sits comfortably with the steel roof ties in the surrounding rafters.
Behind the lounge area is a staircase, which leads down through a double height atrium into the central vestibule, with the car collection to one side, and games area to the other.
Dividing the zones is a bar made in concrete, also colour-matched to the stone wall, it is polished flat on top, with rough hewn edges to create a similar stone effect. The red under-cabinets pick up the hot red paintwork on the racing livery. Two mechanics workstations are situated between the cars, perfectly appointed in solid walnut.
To create an impactful vestibule, we mounted a prized set of Rubens Barrichello overalls in a customised glass casing, and suspended in the pitched roof a larger scaled Nest light. This illuminates the vaulted atrium, and draws the eye up to the stairs, which lead up to the office.