planner-1So often, the sad sight of yet another mediocre building going up in our British Cities sends all of us at UPC, running for the hills. We see Council Planning departments approving mediocre design and we see cities looking uglier because of it. We see property developers rushing to get their building up, wanting to make a quick sale and profit, and not really caring or thinking about the aesthetics of the building. Does the building enhance the surrounding area or make it worse? Will the building still look great 10, 15 or 20 years from now? Will it become an iconic landmark and a beloved site, or will it become a dated gimmick?planner-2

What will the resale value be down the track? Will anyone want to live in or buy property like it? Property developers — and city councils — need to wake up and realise their influence on the cityscape and take that role seriously. This is the case not just for residential development — the same applies to office buildings, hotels and all public buildings in general. As a developer and as a city council, do you want to be known as an organization that values and understands design and creates iconic developments? Or will you be known as the ones who created eyesores, or worse, caused a devaluation of an entire area or neighborhood?planner-3

The aesthetic of a building should be the Number One priority. There is not much point in creating and promoting beautiful interiors when the exterior tells a different story. The whole building should tell a cohesive story. So many developers do not see the value, or even think about the aesthetics of the car park, for example. Would it hurt to splash some colour and graphic design on the concrete? What amenities does the building provide? Is there a café, a library, a car wash? Engage us and wow us to the point that we cannot wait to sign on the bottom line! Excite us enough that when you go to market, so much buzz has been created that the units sell in 24 hours and at the price you asked for. planner-4

If a building is desirable and unique, and offers something truly beautiful, trust us, buyers WILL buy. In fact, buyers will trample over each other to buy – even in these austeer times. In fact – In FACT – buyers would happily pay what might appear to be crazy money for something different and exciting. It’s a no brainer, yet so many buildings keep going up that do the absolute minimum. They may tick off a few boxes and get the interior right, but not the rest. It’s not enough.

Every week, we get sent details of a new development and it is a constant frustration that developers and council planning departments can be so desperately lacking in vision and awareness of what buyers actually want. Your potential buyers, the couples and the mums and dads and even grandparents are design conscious these days. With the likes of Grand Designs and the countless other property and interiors related TV programmes almost 24/7, developers carry on providing dreary & uninspiring buildings, without soul and vision. . People browse website and TV shows all over the globe, they learn, they engage in design. Design is no longer a closed shop. It is everyone’s. Kids growing up now understand that design plays a crucial role in everything they consume, from the car they buy to the clothes they wear, to the headphones they listen to, to the cookware they cook, to the hotels they stay.planner-5

My advice to developers and city councils: Save yourself a lot of money, time and headache, and get it right the first time! Take design seriously now and you will be glad you didplanner-6

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15-receptionThe riverside around Gallery Lofts has seen a sea of change since the building was completed in 1997. First, the empty Bankside power station next door became Tate Modern. Then, a few years ago, Bankside 123 injected a large dose of café culture and seriously livened up the neighbouring streets. And now, at NEO Bankside (five new towers from Mister Richard Rogers architect extraordinaire), Bankside has been firmly established as a destination address to rival Chelsea or Knightsbridge. In many people’s view, it’s a lot more fun as well. 15-dining

 

In our favourite building in London, this entirely west-facing duplex comes in at 1937sq ft of excellent loft space, with a beautiful 550sq ft private terrace. It manages – with, we might add, supreme confidence – the difficult task of being functionally square yet alluringly curvaceous. Arranged over three levels, the space is arranged with the bedrooms on the first floor, a wonderful studio-style living room and adjoining kitchen on the second floor, and a mezzanine study overhead.

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The specification is one of elegant and simple beauty, made extra special by the wonderful light that floods the apartment. Gallery Lofts is part of the Bankside Lofts development, with hardest working and most amiable concierge in London. There’s also a resident’s gym and the apartment comes with a secure parking space.

 

Asking price £1,950,00015-bathroom

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Sometimes, you have to go with your gut. There’s not much to go on when you’re asked to value a converted church tower in Crystal Palace, where the accommodation is not only of biblical proportions, but arranged over six floors and connected by a lift. Trust us, the chances of finding something to compare are as doubtful as the existence of The Man Upstairs himself.  gypsy-exterior

 

So, standing atop the roof terrace and looking down on the capital from the highest point in South London, we turned our gaze towards heaven, lifted a proverbial finger to the wind, and asked for guidance from above. At £1500 per week, we were around 3 times as much as the price of a local 3 bedroom property, and caused much raising of eyebrows. “In Crystal Palace?” etc.

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We let it after one viewing.

 

Going against the grain has been our driving force since we started out on this crazy business of handling the weirdest and wonderfullest space in London. We’ve been delighted time and time again at one of our earliest instincts: location, location, location is all well and good for the mainstream, but when it comes to unique and remarkable spaces, no-one gives a damn.

 

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Atrovent

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Studio Loft SE1 - £475 pw LET
Studio Loft SE1 - £475 pw LET

 

Again we find ourselves talking about the crazy lack of supply in the London lettings market. We can hardly move for tenants calling us up in search of an interesting space to live, but we just can’t meet the demand. Do you have an unusual property to rent out? Does your friend? Does your milkman? Please, please, please get in touch. Put us out of our misery, give someone a home, make a friend of your estate agent. LIVE/WORK properties- especially. 

Church Conversion SW4 - £1,750pw LET
Church Conversion SW4 - £1,750pw LET

 

 

This week finds up straining under the weight of enquiries for ANYTHING vaguely interesting up to £500 per week is immense. £900-£1500 per week is also hugely popular. Anywhere in London. Doesn’t matter. Just something interesting, unusual & different.

 

 

 

 

Battersea Loft £750pw LET
Battersea Loft £750pw LET

 

 

 

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interior

Not every apartment costs a mint, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be as fresh. If you’re not looking to blow a fortune – but still want some edge in design – take a look at 124 Deptford High Street. It’s being developed by MacDonald Egan, who’ve built a reputation for sharp, affordable space by teaming up with young architects and working in the less expensive inner-cities of South East London.  exterior

Characterised by huge windows and a squarely cubist sensibility, this rather striking building contains 24 apartments, penthouses and liveWork spaces with some lovely little touches and prices from a very reasonable £220,000. Take a look at our website for the futher details.

 

 

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