London's most beautiful members' clubs are stretching far beyond the capital's centre, as seen with The Gessner – a new hot spot in Tottenham Hale
At The Gessner, in up-and-coming London neighbourhood Tottenham Hale, you can imagine stepping back in time into the avant-garde abode of a Hampstead intellectual circa 1955, or into a ritzy mid-century hotel lounge.
Inspired by a private members’ club, the development, which opened last year, contains 164 rental apartments and two guest suites (for short stays) in a relatively understated mid-century style. By contrast, the communal areas are overtly luxurious. All residents have use of a café, gym, roof terrace and sitting and dining rooms, some of which have fireplaces.
London and Los Angeles-based design firm Fettle, which specialises in hospitality projects – it dreamt up the interiors of hotel The Hoxton in Rome and restaurant The Elder in Bath – created The Gessner’s interiors for upscale rental accommodation company Way of Life.
The development’s rather obscure name was presumably chosen to enhance its arty allure: inspired by a Berol pencil factory that once stood on the same site, it alludes to Swiss naturalist Conrad Gessner, whose book on fossils included the first depiction of a pencil.
An emphasis in the apartments on warm, natural materials and pared-down furniture contributes to their low-key style. Although studiedly retro, they boast 21stcentury mod-cons, from kitchens supplied by Borough Kitchen to smart Samsung TVs.
“In the apartments we created a relatively neutral backdrop that allows tenants to inject their own personality with additional furniture and artworks,” says Fettle’s co-founder and creative director, Andy Goodwin. By contrast, Fettle ramped up the glamour in the communal areas. “We utilised a larger palette of materials like marble, terrazzo, oak panelling, colourful leather, mohair and velvets to create lush, curated interiors,” he says. “This process is how we approach designing a hotel, restaurant, bar or members’ club. Our experience working in this sector was a huge advantage.”
The Gessner’s aim of offering guests the opportunity to socialise in large groups or retreat into more private areas is reflected in the design of the roof terrace, which, says Goodwin, “has incredible views over London and the wetlands to the east”. “It’s important to provide open as well as more private areas in a space like this, so guests can be part of a group or on their own,” he says. “To that end, we created small clusters of furniture enclosed by planting as well as larger communal seating spaces. We added a pergola that provides protection from bad weather and allows the terrace to feel more intimate.”
Tottenham Hale may not be the Med, but The Gessner’s roof terrace, complete with pergola, parasols and panoramic views, creates a decent impression of this on sunnier days.