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London, UK

Child Studio’s Mayfair mews house speaks its own language of opulence via meticulous craftsmanship and impeccable 20th-century references

Yves Saint Laurent served as the muse for this Mayfair mews house designed by Child Studio – and more specifically, the Paris apartment in Rue de Babylone he moved into with his partner Pierre Bergé in the early 1970s. The caramel-toned timber walling, and eclectic, often informal approach to putting together art and objects, lend the London home the same sense of grandeur – but this is a more streamlined and carefully edited affair than the insatiable collector Saint Laurent could ever have managed.

The homeowner is a hotelier and restaurateur, and wanted space to dine, host parties and entertain. The living room is the centre of this social activity: anchored by four white columns, it features two generously large sofas facing one another, with an undulating polished-plaster fireplace forming a focal point. The natural lighting is unusual, flooding down from a series of skylights that run down the perimeter of the room above the fireplace, washing the walls and creating an ever-changing scene throughout the day.

Dining and study areas lead off this living space, the latter delineated by not-quite-full-height library walls that display books, sculpture and other objects. Behind one of the sofas, the shelves are entirely given over to a collection of cut-glass decanters and glasses – a great example of how the ordinary is elevated to something more than the sum of its parts through sheer repetition plus a beautifully crafted setting. The study is also cocooned by timber walls, with a leather-topped desk and art that includes antique lithographs by George Braque, Jean Cocteau and Karel Appel, and photographs by Guy Bourdin and Man Ray.

Timber also figures strongly in the loose furniture as well as the built-in cabinetry, with a pair of Charles and Ray Eames’ wavy ‘FSW-6’ wavy screens standing in the living room, while the large maple coffee table was designed by Child Studios’ Che Huang and Alexy Kos. At first glance everything looks rigidly symmetrical in the living area, but look closer and there’s just enough to upset the balance and keep it interesting – the coffee table is asymmetrical, while a curving bentwood Caprani floor lamp casts its light onto the sofa.

In the dining room – inspired by Adolf Loos’ 1929-1930 Villa Muller – there’s a Bauhaus feel, thanks in part to the wall of glass bricks (the kitchen is on the other side) and the simple geometric shapes of the Charlotte Perriand dining chairs and round dining table, designed by Child Studio. The timber shelves have been opulently upgraded here, with dark red rosso levanto marble cladding forming the backdrop to the objects on show, while the rug is from the studio’s Bauhaus-inspired collection for Floor Story.

Child Studio has chosen tactile materials throughout, including a pair of Ingo Maurer’s crumpled-paper Lampampe table lamps that sit on calacatta viola marble side tables, and the soft leather of the Kristian Vedel mid-20th-century chairs. Intimate, sculptural and incredibly self assured, this apartment marks one more step on the upward trajectory of one of London’s most exciting design firms. Child Studio has matured into something pretty special.