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Case Study: Tollgard Studio

10 August 2023
Project Inspiration, Interviews

Our latest case study tours Tollgard's latest London project, the aptly named, Belgravia Belle. This Grade II listed project provided its challenges but the results are a true masterpiece.

Seeking to answer questions of living and to tell stories through spaces, Tollgard is a multi-disciplinary studio founded by partners Staffan and Monique Tollgård. Collaborating creatively with the client at the heart of the process, Tollgard’s work spans the globe. From projects in the sun-soaked Middle East and Algarve to London’s most treasured townhouses, the studio traces a unique red thread - or creative DNA - through each project. Over nearly two decades they have cultivated a studio that encompasses residential and commercial interior design, product design, and three London showrooms. From their showrooms in Chelsea & Belgravia, they celebrate the magic of makers from all over the world.

What was the project brief?

Our brief was to modernize this belle of Belgravia and imbue a sense of joy through each of the beautifully proportioned rooms. Working with Sally Storey at John Cullen Architechtural Lighting, Eggersmann London, Tillman Domotic and Capstone Contractors, our design journey together was full of creativity and collaboration. Even if it took a little longer than we all hoped, the final, joyful, result is one of our favourite projects.

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What Gabriel Scott items did you specify for this project & why?

Smokily suspended from the ceiling of the reception room, the Welles Pendant makes a strong design statement. The listed and decorative features of this handsome room needed a centrepiece that could take up volume without being bulky or blocking the views of the garden square. We needed a piece that could travel beyond the footprint defined by the ceiling rose yet still start from it. The branching nature of Welles offered a contemporary, strong and beautiful solution to our design. The Welles is a resolutely contemporary functional sculpture that can be appreciated from every angle.

For our client’s master bedroom design, the Luna Kaleido pendants hang at either side of the bed like a pair of elegant earrings. Gabriel Scott’s heritage of jewellery making is palpable in this well-proportioned design with its swirling form presenting a warm and ethereal glow. The satin bronze hardware also works beautifully to complement the shades of walnut, white and green around the room.

Did you customize these pieces to work with the project? If so, how?

The Welles is inherently open to tailoring. The nature of the setting and the listed elements of the ceiling meant that our design team had to work on paper and on-site to ensure that the supports of the Welles didn’t fix into the ceiling rose. We also had to ensure that the branches moved the centre of our seating arrangement beyond the central line defined by the architecture.

Once the overall design was established, we were able to play with the palette of smoked, coloured and textured glass samples that perfectly melded with the romantic and muted tones of our design scheme.

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What do you look for in furniture when specifying for a project?

The selection of furniture and lighting (we have coined the more elegant term Belongings to describe this stage instead of the clunky alternative of FF&E) highlights our clients’ desire for a home that juxtaposes classic elegance with artistic individuality, bringing together 'forever' pieces with some more contemporary or whimsical moments. Pieces from Ceccotti Collezioni, Porada, Riviere, Meridiani and Philippe Hurel dialogue with modern classics from Gubi, Galotti & Radice and Baxter: the apartment feels elevated and considered, but it doesn't take it itself too seriously. Our client's desire for an English home-from-home has resulted in a creative, zingily joyful yet grown up apartment that sits easily in its august surroundings, quietly sparkling after its 21st century makeover.

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How do you use lighting to elevate the spaces you design?

Lighting has always been an art form. Now - more so than ever - it feels more like a science – and one that’s quite easy to get lost in. The myriad control systems and emerging technologies around LED make lighting schemes one of the most complex parts of a design project. In essence, though, lighting is a language. When spoken beautifully (fluently) it promotes warmth and communication. It draws focus to what needs to be illuminated and creates darker, moodier pools where the eye doesn’t need to be drawn. When spoken badly (clunkily) it results in grids of downlights and a tone-deaf outcome that lights a room from the top down with little regard for what needs to be lit or communicated.

We don’t light in an equal grid-like pattern, because not all parts of the room are equal. We think in layers of light and compose a language with equal parts of light from low level, high level, from the wall and task lighting. We think in terms of functional sculpture as well, so that the feature pendants or wall lights are as beautiful off as well as on. And we consider what the lights look like from the outside of the house, especially by key windows.

What was your favorite part of designing this project?

Each project presents an opportunity to connect with our clients, distil the essence of their lives and present this through the lens of an interior. This process of discovery has always fascinated us as designers. As we seek to identify their red thread, understand their perspectives and process their experiences, we forge long-lasting relationships and often, friendships. All whilst collaborating to create a home that will bring them closer and help them live better each day.

With special thanks to the Tollgard studio team for giving us such a lovely insight to this fabulous project, and to Richard Gooding Photography for the the usage of his beautiful photography.

Designer: Tollgard Studio

Photographer: Richard Gooding Photography

Project: The Belgravia Belle

Find more information on the Welles Textured Glass and the Luna Kaleido Small Pendants.

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