Unlike our first shoot at Pitzhanger Manor in Ealing, we found settling on the location for our second shoot a little harder. Our goal was to photograph the Modern Heirloom’s collection - with a few new pieces - in a setting as far removed as possible from the previous. Our research took us from an eerie, disused prison on the south coast to geranium-filled glasshouses in the home counties, via contemporary glass buildings on the edge of race tracks, yet we didn’t feel it was quite right.
And then we drew our attention back to London and specifically The Barbican, the iconic Brutalist building that borders the London Wall and rubs shoulders with Roman remains. It’s a building we have often discussed - one of us was even married there - but we hadn’t thought of it in the context of a photoshoot before.
Grade II listed and a prominent example of the British Brutalist movement, the complex was built between 1965 and 1976 by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon, who sought to revive the historic area that had largely been destroyed during the Second World War. Regarded as an example of ‘modern living’, for city executives and their affluent families, the complex was made up of flats, a library, schools and a YMCA all interspersed with gardens and a sprawling central lake.
One part of the estate is the Conservatory, a concrete jungle where exotic species run rampant and botanical research is explored. Now open to the public, it’s a space where all the team have once visited and enjoyed; however, it wasn’t until we started to consider our next photoshoot location did we join up the dots. The Conservatory provided the perfect contrast to the sleek architecture and formality of Pitzhanger Manor and we felt it was a space which would allow each item of furniture and lighting to pop. We also loved the concept of clashing the organic beauty of the planting and the harsh lines and colours of the Conservatory’s concrete bones with the soft curves of upholstery and the colour-pop tones of furniture and lighting.
I think you can agree, the images taken by maestro Michael Sinclair, lend a refreshed narrative to the collection and showcase our designs in a setting that competes in harmony with Pitzhanger. The Modern Heirlooms collection isn’t just for big old houses, it’s for all homes, even a concrete jungle.