Our instinct for Devonshire Club was to create an elegant
and iconic destination for London’s city eminence. We felt drawn to creating a place that moved with a nonchalant
verve as opposed to a masculine gait.
We always knew who our muse was. She, and it was definitely
a she, was cool, confident and effortlessly stylish.
The early mood research channelled a very fresh European aesthetic. We looked to classic cinema and fashion from the fifties and sixties. This became distilled with something entirely contemporary.
Elsewhere in this Paper there is a piece about Nattier.
A heritage couture fabric house. A revered name in Italian sartorial circles. The house, and its archive of exquisite designs, became a vital element in the palette.
Inspired, perhaps, by the couture influence, everything in
the Club is bespoke. Unique to Devonshire Club. This, we
reasoned, is what our muse would expect of her favourite
place. The story is always about balance. The place intrigues
with subtle gestures of a very urbane and erudite masculinity.
It, in very simple terms, feels very different to the lazy notion of a private members’ club in London’s Square Mile. It attracts, accordingly, a delightfully different member. It is a place that speaks of confidence and the reluctance to play by conformity.
This subtle game of provocation was encouraged and catalysed
by Brian Clivaz, the client. Something of a legendary London figure. Everything that was ever said about Brian is worth considering.
A man drawn away form the mainstream and the everyday.
The intoxicating moments of gorgeous, capricious fun are testimony to him and a very well developed idea of mischief.
Distilling inspiration from both mid-century modern design and couture, we created a series of distinctive spaces. These, each very individual, are separate but still subtly connected in series, resulting in an intriguing journey from the moment of entering the Club.
The mood is one of glamour and elegance with a vibrant, and very contemporary, undercurrent. Our take on the primary colour palette is visible through our selection of fabrics and finishes, creating a unique interpretation of the Mondrian palette. It was important that the interiors tell a story. We imagined she might fly in on her private jet for a meeting in the City. A glass of champagne at the Club. Timelessly glamorous. We obsessed over the details. Would she sit in that chair? Would she use that handle? We applied Kubrick levels of attention to ensure the design would satisfy, and surpass, her understanding of glamour and style – the essence of the Devonshire Club woman!
Particular materials, furniture, fittings
We assembled a cooler palette with darker oak, an abundance of feature stone, mirror and stained glass for the Ground Floor. These finishes evoke a mid-century erudite elegance. When progressing up to the first floor and bedroom levels, the base changes to a warmer palette of teak and golden walnut. This subtly intensifies the mid-century feel.
The mood of the spaces, embellished with exquisite antique mirror, cut and bevelled with a jewellers precision, shifts and responds alluringly and seductively to sublime light to conjure the perfect evening atmosphere.
We studied, closely, the instinctive elegance of Italian design heritage. Gio Ponti’s breathtaking pattern work, the purity of Carlo Scapa’s detailing and the beautiful intricate moulded ceilings of Milan’s Villa Necchi. These timeless signifiers of sophisticated elegance inspired us as we composed a place which is entirely unique and fresh. The ability to reference design history without nostalgia is a rare skill. Devonshire Club is our proud demonstration of our mastery of it.
At March & White we always work with the best craftsmen using the very finest authentic materials. Furnitureworks are Sussex based craft furniture makers with a reputation for producing the very highest quality upholstery. Working closely with them, we were able to interpret the organic curves and forms of mid-century style into our own, absolutely contemporary furniture. The inspiration of Ico Parisi and Finn Juhl is subtly, delightfully present.
Sartorial heritage and haute couture were powerful influences in our design. We researched, obsessively, Chanel’s gift with woven fabric and tailored structure. The inventive and radical print work of Lucienne Day and Jacqueline Groag inspired feature walls, marquetry and headboards.
The commitment to bespoke craft throughout the Club makes it truly unique and defines the March & White signature.
Significant to this integrity and authenticity, we worked closely with Nattier, the Italian textile design house synonomous with the Golden Age of European couture throughout the sixties. Granted very privileged creative access, we developed their iconic archived designed into gorgeous rugs, fabrics and wall coverings.
We selected threads for the fabrics. Beautiful wool and polished cotton for the rugs. A hands-on process, involving exhaustive rounds of sampling and amendments to create the perfect pattern, scale and colouring fitting for Devonshire Club.
To create a significant and very valuable piece of art is to meet some formidable challenges. Devonshire Club was no exception to the theory.
A private members’ club has a peculiarly complex purpose. Add to this 70 hotel suites above for the use of members. This requires precise logic and strategy. Aesthetically, each room, each space of the Club, needs to have a sense of the unique whilst being an episode in a larger, entire, piece.
Thankfully, there is something in a creative intellect that makes the challenges fade. The thrill of seeing, and experiencing, the result of the process, any challenges seem unimportant.
To fixate on the challenges seems a little graceless. The opportunity to create an uncompromised work of stylish, timeless elegance is a privilege.
The value of an imaginary muse is the fear of letting her down. We think our girl of Devonshire Club would absolutely approve of what we have created.