A roof terrace with white bed chairs and tables looking over London

LUX visits the largest residence in 9 Millbank’s ‘Heritage Collection’, The Astor, recently unveiled by St Edward. A stone’s throw from The Palace of Westminster, Banqueting House and Westminster Abbey, the residence is named after Nancy Astor, the first female MP

The Astor features over 9,700 sq.ft. of expansive living space along with an astonishing 360-degree roof terrace, with views of London‘s most iconic landmarks and the Thames. St Edward has modernised the apartment’s traditional layout by creating two new mezzanine areas; the first a vintage inspired library and study, the second, an atmospheric private bar and games room.

On the eighth floor, a former Director’s dining hall has been transformed into a sumptuous 6.3-metre height reception room.

All Heritage Collection owners have full access to 9 Millbank’s amenities including a gym, swimming pool with spa and treatment room, cinema screening room, meeting rooms, parking  and 24-hour concierge.

Throughout The Heritage Collection apartments, St Edward commissioned architect Goddard Littlefair and master artisans to meticulously restore and in some cases, delicately replicate, a catalogue of classical features.

Paul Vallone, Executive Chairman of St Edward said “The penthouse is a unique and prestigious home that reflects the very best of British style.”

A lounge with a white carpet and white couches and grey seats and red cushions
A dining room with blue chairs and arched ceilings and a rug beneath the table

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A white building with a tree in front of it
A bedroom in grey with hints of pink and red
A marble and grey kitchen with an island in the middle
A bar with green bar stools and a cream sofa and red cushions
Reading time: 4 min
luxurious interiors

An artwork by Minjung Kim installed over the fireplace in the residential side entrance lounge of the Waldorf Astoria

LUX Contributing Editor Simon de Pury is also an auctioneer, art dealer, curator, photographer and DJ. He was most recently commissioned to curate a collection of art for the newly restored Waldorf Astoria in New York, which will open to residents in 2022. Here, he discusses the project’s concept and challenges, and his favourite places to see art

Simon de Pury

1. Where does your curatorial process generally begin?

Once the topic of an exhibition is defined you go about making in your head your dream selection. The minute this is done you answer as many practical questions as possible in order to produce a cost estimate and a timeline. The rest is all implementation.

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2. Can you tell us more about your concept for the Waldorf Astoria?

The concept for the Waldorf Astoria was dictated by its own history, and by the design that Jean-Louis Deniot had conceived for it. It was the owner’s wish to work entirely with original works done specifically with the space in mind.

blue abstract art

An artwork by Philippe Decrauzat from the Waldorf Astoria collection.

3. How do you see the artworks interacting with the building’s architecture and history?

The proof will be in the pudding. Both the owners and the designer wanted artworks that would blend seamlessly into the Art Deco architecture of the building and the interior design that had been devised for it. They gave a clear preference for subdued colours and abstract works.

abstract art

An artwork by Benjamin Ple from the Waldorf Astoria collection.

4. What’s the most challenging aspect of this particular project?

There is an abundance of rising artists in the world, so narrowing our focus to a select few was certainly a challenge, and a luxury.

Read more: Richard Mille’s collaboration with Benjamin Millepied & Thomas Roussel

5. If you had to choose one piece from the collection, what would it be and why?

I have a particular fondness for the work of Minjung Kim. Her technique is uniquely refined and her work combines her Asian cultural heritage sensibility with a feminine sensibility. I like every work she has done for the Waldorf Astoria and would be hard-pressed to pick one.

grey mountains

Mountain by Minjung Kim from the Waldorf Astoria collection

6. Where’s your favourite place in the world to see art?

Basically wherever I happen to be. I love seeing art being lived with in private homes. My favourite museum is the Neue Galerie in New York. The quality of the art is breathtaking and the scale is intimate enough to make you feel as if you are in a private home.

Find out more about Simon de Pury’s work and the restoration of Waldorf Astoria: waldorftowers.nyc

Reading time: 2 min
contemporary apartment
contemporary apartment

The penthouse apartment at Alma, one of two apartment houses to become available in Andermatt

The transformation of the village of Andermatt in the Swiss Alps into a place for permanent residence or seasonal getaways is taking more than just the rich amenities already there. It is the care and imagination with which the developers are creating the architectural environment that is drawing in investors, too, as Jenny Southan finds out

You want an escape, away from the crowds, to use year-round and as attractive in summer as it is in winter. It needs to be somewhere secure, clean, easily accessible, with excellent facilities; somewhere your family can indulge in outdoor sports on the doorstep, and then gather for a home-cooked meal, or zip out to the local high-class Asian restaurant in the evening. It should also feel like an attractive investment, in a desirable country in which property is hard for foreigners to acquire; and in a location where there is strong demand for holiday rentals, to provide income when you are not there.

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Welcome to the new apartments being developed in Andermatt in the mountains of central Switzerland. In a country where new-build apartments available for foreigners to buy are almost unheard of, the two new buildings, Frame and Alma, sit aside a central square in the brand-new development village of Andermatt Reuss. They are all part of the spectacular Andermatt Swiss Alps development, which has seen a previously sleepy and marginal ski village in a spectacular location transformed into one of the pearls of the Alps, via a $2bn investment by global place creator Samih Sawiris and his company Orascom.

mountain views

Panoramic windows in Alma’s penthouse apartment

The development starts at The Chedi Andermatt hotel and restaurant complex, on the edge of the old village, through a rebuilt railway station and gondola lift station, to the hotel, retail and residential complex at Andermatt Reuss, which features the central Piazza Gottardo around which the new apartment buildings are located. Owners have access to the huge indoor swimming pool, spa complex and concert hall at the Radisson Blu Reussen hotel next door, and Piazza Gottardo has a big sports shop, restaurant, bar and other retail to come. The 18-hole golf course, one of the most beautifully located and eco-friendly courses in Europe, is nearby. Zurich airport is just over an hour away by car or train; and speaking of cars, all the parking in Andermatt Reuss is underground, meaning there is no traffic.

Read more: British artist Hugo Wilson on creating art from chaos

The five-floor Frame apartment house has been designed by Swiss architectural firm OOS with a younger generation in mind. It features 34 apartments (one-bedroom and duplex, some with double-height ceilings) that have been designed to feel airy, generous and bright, despite being compact in size at 50–60 sq m. Bay windows, for example, provide space for sofa beds.

There are also communal areas on the ground level that include bike storage, and a ski room and workshop where you can do repairs. There is a chill-out lounge, a sauna, a courtyard with a fire pit, and the Hearth, which is an entertaining space with a kitchen where you can have drinks or dine with friends. The developer Andermatt Swiss Alps (ASA) says: “You can cook food yourself, get one of the restaurants to deliver or have one of the chefs from the local hotels come in. It’s also a place where, if you are thinking of going out for a week’s hike, you can invite your guide in for a coffee and plot your course.”

communal kitchen area

Frame features a communal dining area with a kitchen

While the exterior of Frame is based on the look of the handsome rendered buildings already in existence in the village, another apartment building called Alma draws its inspiration from local traditional wooden architecture. The developer says: “Our ambition is that in 20 or 30 years’ time the new and old parts of the village will blend together so it will look like one destination. We always ask our architects to look at the wealth of architecture here but interpret it with a more modern eye because we don’t want it to be a pastiche.”

However, the developers don’t want to create an ‘architectural zoo’ – as the developer puts it, “Everything has to have harmony”. Tasked with designing Alma, which sports dark, over-lapping timber cladding, was Dominik Herzog from the Zurich architectural firm Herzog Architekten. Located on the western edge of Andermatt Reuss, Alma has 11 two- and three-bedroom apartments (measuring 122–169 sq m) that have living rooms with fireplaces, bathrooms with freestanding tubs and large picture windows looking out on to the mountains and the Reuss river. There is a sauna on the ground floor.

facade render

Frame’s exterior has been designed to blend in with the village’s existing buildings

The developer says: “The spaces are satisfying, nurturing and enriching. They are not shouty or flashy. They are thoughtfully detailed. Every single apartment has 180-degree views, sunken corner lounges that are heavily upholstered and sheltered balconies so you can go outside even when it’s snowing or windy.” Although Frame and Alma are different from one another, both are firmly rooted in a sense of place. “Their use of materials has been informed by the existing architecture and they have been very careful about how they open up their buildings to the surrounding landscape. The windows almost become the artwork on the walls,” says the developer.

ASA also wanted a car-free environment so much of the investment (millions of dollars in fact) has gone underground to make a double-storey basement of car parking, storage and services. The result is a healthy, liveable, pedestrian-friendly village. The developer explains: “Some people live here full time and others use their property as holiday homes. We have a lot of local clients from Italy, Switzerland and Germany who come for weekends over the season in summer and winter, but also investors from China and Singapore who come and use it before it goes back into the rental pool.”

Open Season

The winter season on Gemsstock runs from 31 October to 25 April, and the Andermatt-Sedrun-Disentis season runs from 19 December to 11 April. These dates are, as always, dependent upon the prevailing snow conditions.

For more information visit: andermatt-swissalps.ch

This article features in the Autumn 2020 Issue, hitting newsstands in October.

Reading time: 5 min
public gardens by residential towers
Tree sculpture

Conrad Shawcross’s sculpture Bicameral at the pedestrian entrance to Chelsea Barracks.

Chelsea Barracks has already established itself as one of the most desirable places to live in London. Its gardens, with their planting schemes, public artworks and open access, are adding to the city’s continuing and defining history of garden squares, as Anna Tyzack reports

There are many measures by which London could be said to be the greatest city in the world. It is a (possibly the) financial and business hub; a crossroads between the Americas, Europe and Asia; a cultural centre that combines 2,000 years of history with being on the world’s leading edge in creativity in the 21st century.

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It is also the world’s most liveable great city. Yes, there are surveys published in trendy publications each year that tout the virtues of earthy locations in crispy-clean countries. But successful, ambitious humans want to live and work in a place where they can be surrounded by their peers: to be right in the heart of a city teeming with global leaders in finance, the arts, creativity, science, philanthropy and international trade. And yet they also crave a standard of living. Their villa on Cap Ferrat for summer and lodge in Aspen for winter have infinite light, space, nature; and London is the only city of its level in the world that can offer these semblances of space and green alongside its myriad other draws. London is the greenest city in Europe: almost 50 per cent of its surface area is parks, gardens, natural habitats or water.

In the most authoritative measure of its kind, London and New York regularly swap places at number 1 and number 2 slots in the Knight Frank Wealth Report Global Cities Index: but for the ‘lifestyle’ subsection, London is, in 2020, at the top.

Leafy walkway along a building

Bourne Walk at Chelsea Barracks

One unique aspect of London lifestyle is its garden squares. They developed naturally as spaces for inhabitants to relax and play as the city grew; became protected in law; and now many of them are the most desirable addresses in the city. Garden squares in London can be public (run by the local councils) or private (owned and used by the local landowners); the best are hives of culture, leisure and joy.

And now there is a new crop of squares coming to life. Uniquely, they are in central London, an area not known for its propensity to be developed. They are the creation of Chelsea Barracks, a new super-luxe five-hectare residential area built between super-prime neighbourhoods Chelsea and Belgravia on the site of what was for 150 years an army barracks.

Read more: In conversation with ballet dancer Sergei Polunin 

It is also unique in its concept and ambition. Rather than build yet another cookie-cutter set of branded residences inside an enclosed compound, sell them off and take the money, owner Qatari Diar is in for the long term: the aim is to create a new neighbourhood, not just for those fortunate enough to afford the residences lining the new streets, but to welcome anyone who is drawn in by the beautiful and distinctive urban planning.

And the squares. There are two hectares of garden squares and public spaces, open to all, in the development: in all, seven new squares are being created. The idea is that residents can enjoy them permanently, and through an artfully curated cultural programme, visitors can pass through, linger and enjoy the first, and last, new area on this scale likely to be developed in central London for, well, probably ever.

Residential building

Whistler Square is named after the artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler who once lived in Belgravia

They are also very much not a recreation or pastiche of existing garden squares. “Our gardens are very different from the traditional idea of railings around a set of trees and a lawn – we didn’t want rules or hostile architecture giving any sense that people were being segregated,” says Richard Oakes, Qatari Diar’s Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Europe & Americas. “Given we were working on what is going to be the most exclusive addresses in London, we had to find a new way of considering what is a garden square.”

This takes a delicate balancing act. The open spaces at Chelsea Barracks (which amount to a lot more than just garden squares) are aimed at attracting visitors and establishing the area as a cultural hub; while residents still feel a sense of exclusivity.

Read more: Van Cleef & Arpels CEO Nicolas Bos on the poetry of jewellery

The landscaping is contemporary in style, while referencing the traditional garden square, with water features to bring a sense of calm and tranquillity and bulbs and flowering trees such as magnolia to add colour and structure throughout the seasons. The red Chelsea Barracks rose, inspired by the intricate petal-shaped window in the restored Garrison Chapel, and cultivated for Chelsea Barracks by grower Philip Harkness, features prominently in the planting. “The gardens provide a spectacular new front door for Chelsea Flower Show, which takes place next door, at the Royal Hospital,” Oakes says.

public green spaces

public gardens by residential towers

Here and above: Mulberry Square’s garden planted with lavender, rosemary and strawberries

In Mulberry Square, for example, residents overlook a shallow water rill and a fragrant garden planted with lavender, rosemary and strawberries, a tribute to the patterned canvases of artist Bridget Riley. Here there are benches to sit on with a book or to enjoy a peaceful moment listening to the sound of the water.

Read more: How Gaggenau is innovating the ancient art of steam cooking

Meanwhile Whistler Square, in the northern part of the Barracks, is named after the artist, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, who lived in Belgravia and Old Chelsea. It has as its focal point a bronze-edged Cumbrian black-slate scrim, no deeper than a finger nail, decorated with fragile etched lines to represent the lost rivers of London.

But culture, as much as gardens, is at the heart of the development. Garrison Chapel, which forms the centrepiece of the development, is a restored, listed and significant historical structure. It has been painstakingly restored by a host of British artisans including lime plasterers, fresco artists and stained-glass experts and will once again be a place for locals to gather. The new bell, an exact replica of the damaged original, was commissioned from Britain’s last surviving bell maker, John Taylor & Co of Loughborough.

Strikingly positioned, it will be the centre of an art and culture programme, which will spill out into the squares and spaces. It will involve performance art and installation as well as static art, with a focus on giving young and emerging artists a bedrock in the centre of London, an area for so long dominated by art dealers rather than artists. Striking also is the focus away from just retail: life, space and culture, rather than transaction, is what this new area aims to be about.

Public artwork at Chelsea Barracks

A tree-like sculpture by Conrad Shawcross is the first public artwork to be installed at Chelsea Barracks. Casting dappled shade onto Dove Place, the pedestrian entrance to the development, Bicameral comprises 693 components and stands 8m in height. It can be  seen, as Shawcross explains, as an Arcadian symbol for reason, humanity, rationalism, progress and hope, and it was designed to pay homage to the craftsmanship found at the Barracks. The sculpture was created entirely without welding; its interlocking forms are held together by techniques derived from Japanese wood joinery.

Chelsea Barracks in numbers

  • Apartments in Chelsea Barracks cost from £5.25 million.
  • Townhouses, each with a roof terrace, spa with pool, gym, garden and private garage, cost from £38 million.
  • The Garrison Club is for the exclusive use of residents. With all the advantages of a private club, amenities include a 1,800 sq m spa and gym; private cinema, games room, residents’ lounge and business suite with two boardrooms.

Find out more: chelseabarracks.com

This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 Issue.

Reading time: 6 min
Church and square
Church and square

Knight Frank launched its 2020 Wealth Report at Chelsea Barracks, a new luxury residential development in Belgravia, London

Last week saw the official launch of the 13th edition of Knight Frank’s Wealth Report at Chelsea Barracks in Belgravia, London with a new focus on on data relating specifically to ultra-high net worth individuals, providing invaluable insight for investors and those seeking to buy new homes. Here’s what you need to know

Wealth is increasing on a global scale

Despite geopolitical uncertainty, the global number of ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) is still growing and is expected to rise by 27% over the next five years, taking the total to an estimated 649,331.

The US still dominates with the largest UHNWI population (240,575), followed by China (61,600), Germany (23,000), France (18,800), Japan (17,000) and the UK (14,400). India has the fastest growing UHNWI population with an estimated 73% rise over the next five years.

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New York wins for lifestyle

The report assesses 100 cities based on their global appeal as a place to invest, live and spend time. This year, New York came top, pushing London into second place followed by Paris, Hong Kong and Los Angeles.

Wellbeing is a new priority

According to The Wealth Report Attitudes Survey, 80% of UHNWIs are dedicating more time and money into their wellbeing. There is also a growing focus on wellness as a measure of national performance with Oslo in first place followed by Zurich and Helsinki tied in second place.

And so is sustainability

This year’s report discusses the impact of luxury travel on the environment, featuring insights from William Mathieson, Intelligence Director of The Superyacht Group and Thomas Flohr, Founder and Chairman of Vistajet into how their businesses are becoming more sustainable.

Read more: Darius Sanai’s Luxury Travel Views Spring 2020

Residential trends are changing

The report also includes the latest results from the Prime International Residential Index (PIRI), which places Frankfurt at the top of the second homes market, followed by Lisbon, Taipei, Seoul and Houston.

Man on stage with presentation

Lord Andrew Hay, the Global Head of Residential at Knight Frank, presenting data at the launch of this year’s Wealth Report

10 neighbourhoods to watch according to Knight Frank’s property experts:

1. Road to Amizmiz, Marrakech, Morocco
2. Fengtai, Beijing, China
3. Sentosa, Singapore
4. Sydney Harbour, Australia
5. St Martin-de-Belleville, The French Alps, France
6. SoPo, Berlin, Germany
7. Mahou-Calderón, Madrid, Spain
8. Maida Vale, London, UK
9. Museum District, Houston, US
10. Imperial Beach, San Diego, US

To view the full wealth report visit: knightfrank.co.uk

Restoring the Garrison Chapel

The Garrison Chapel was constructed in 1859, and functioned as an active church for 150 years before it was deconsecrated. In 2018, after an extensive refurbishment supported by the Chelsea Barracks Chapel Trust, the building was reopened as a community arts and culture space.

Watch the below video to learn more about the project:

Chelsea Barracks – The Garrison Chapel from Chelsea Barracks, London SW1 on Vimeo.

For more information on Chelsea Barracks visit: chelseabarracks.com

Reading time: 2 min
Luxurious lounge area of town house
Luxurious lounge area of town house

Residents of Clivedale London’s latest luxury development can enjoy branded services and amenities provided by the Dorchester Collection

Mayfair-based developers Clivedale London recently unveiled the interiors for a townhouse at Mayfair Park Residences, an exclusive residential development managed by the Dorchester Collection. Chloe Frost-Smith takes a look inside

Mayfair Park Residences is a collection of 24 private apartments, all fully-serviced with five-star amenities by the adjoining Dorchester Collection hotel, 45 Park Lane. Ranging from spacious pieds-à-terre to an eight-bedroom penthouse complete with rooftop pool, the generously proportioned apartments are spread over eight floors with sweeping views over Hyde Park.

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Incorporating the character of a Grade II listed townhouse, Lee Polisano of London-based PLP Architecture has created a contemporary yet complementary counterpart to the refurbished historic Georgian façades, one in black-painted brick, the other in Portland stone and white travertine. Fronting two streets and presenting six distinct exteriors, Mayfair Park Residences blends into the surrounding eclectic architectural styles.

Luxurious double bedroom

Grand dining room with piano

The spacious dining room of a townhouse at Mayfair Park Residences, and (above) one of the bedrooms

The classic Georgian period details are continued in the interiors, which draw on historical references combined with bespoke features by Parisian design studio Jouin Manku. With a number of previous Dorchester Collection hotel projects in their portfolio, Jouin Manku has taken a fresh approach to the group’s first residential development, focusing on an organic, natural colour palette and luxurious materials. Soft, muted tones are paired with elegant marble work, floor-to-ceiling windows, and wood-panelled spiral staircases.

Read more: Film director Armando Iannucci on David Copperfield & Fleabag

Contemporary spiral staircase of apartment

Interiors by Parisian design studio Jouin Manku blend historical references with contemporary details

Residents will enjoy access to an impressive selection of services available on an à la carte basis, including 24-hour room service, concierge, security, and valet parking. In addition to 45 Park Lane and The Dorchester amenities, residents can also make full use of the heated swimming pool, sauna and steam rooms, and hydrotherapy pool.

Find out more: mayfairparkresidences.com

Reading time: 1 min
Large cityscape shot at night
Large cityscape shot at night

The number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals in the Philippines is forecast to grow at the the second fastest rate of any country, says Knight Frank’s Wealth Report 2019. Pictured here: Manila

Portrait of a man in a suit

Lord Andrew Hay. Image by John Wright

Lord Andrew Hay is Global Head of Residential at Knight Frank, the international real estate consultancy, and has built up property portfolios for some of the wealthiest people in the world. In this regular column, he is handed a theoretical sum of money by LUX and asked how he would invest it. This month, we asked Lord Hay where he would invest if he had $200m to spend on real estate in emerging markets

“Where would you invest if you had $200m to spend on real estate in emerging markets?” It seemed appropriate that I was asked this question by LUX having just returned from a business trip to Manila. With the Philippines front of mind – this is where I would start.

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As reported in The Wealth Report 2019, the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) in the Philippines is forecast to grow by 38% in the five years to 2023, the second fastest of any country. In Manila, the Business Processing Outsourcing (BPO) facilities sector is rapidly growing – currently employing 1.5m Filipinos, 1.5% of the population, and accounting for 7.5% of the economy – with the government aiming to expand this to 10-11% in 2020. This growth has boosted office rents within the metro Manila region as well as the residential market as investors snap up multiple units to lease out to BPO employees working nearby.

I would then move my attention to India. Recently the Government of India has put in place a growing number of incentives to enter India’s warehousing sector and this is an area, which seems ripe for investment. The new ‘Make in India’ programme was created to encourage manufacturing; the development of multimodal transport networks and the setting up industrial corridors such as The Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) are also supporting growth in the market.

Large city shown from bird's eye view

India’s warehousing sector is ripe for investment, according to Knight Frank’s Andrew Hay. Pictured here: Mumbai

My focus would then turn to an investment in South Africa and to something that appeals to me on a more personal level – a game lodge and reservation. As interest in climate change, sustainable tourism and the concept of “natural capital” grows around the world, there is an increasing focus on Africa. Much of this is centred on South Africa and projects that can add significant value to denuded agricultural land, especially if the “Big 5” are in residence.

Read more: Why we love the Richard Mille x Roberto Mancini RM 11-04 timepiece

Back to Asia, I would look to South Korea. The government recently introduced a pre-sale price cap policy in an effort to cool its housing market. However, this currently only applies to four areas in Seoul. House prices in certain prime areas of the city have been recording price growth in excess of 15% year-on-year over the last 12-18 months, as developers rushed to redevelop older buildings. Going forward, this move is expected to rapidly cool speculation in the market and reign in accelerating prices but there is still an opportunity to invest here.

Small provincial town with old fashioned houses

There are no restrictions on foreign nationals acquiring property in Romania, making entry into the market easier for investors, says Andrew Hay

I would then consider closer to home in Europe – the Romanian prime residential market. It recorded promising results in the first half of 2019 and, according to Knight Frank, 60% of developers active in the local market expect price increases of up to 10% per square metre in the next year. There are no restrictions on foreign nationals acquiring property in Romania either, making entry into the market easier for investors than many other markets.

Perhaps not the most glamorous of locations or assets but nonetheless a diverse and interesting portfolio and this is where I would invest $200m if considering investment across some of the world’s emerging markets.

Find out more: knightfrank.co.uk

Reading time: 3 min
Luxurious villa property
Luxurious villa property

Grevillia is a waterfront residence on the port of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, on the market for €56m

Portrait of a man in a suit

Lord Andrew Hay. Image by John Wright

Lord Andrew Hay is Global Head of Residential at Knight Frank, the international real estate consultancy, and has built up property portfolios for some of the wealthiest people in the world. In this regular column, he is handed a theoretical sum of money by LUX and asked how he would invest it. This month, we asked Lord Hay where he would buy if he had £50m to spend on a single home

“If you had £50m to spend and could buy a property anywhere in the world – where would you choose?” It sounds like a question you’d ask your friends at a dinner party and actually is something I get asked quite regularly. My answer often changes as there are so many places around the world where I’d love to live, but having just returned from my summer holiday and with the thought of sunshine and the Mediterranean fresh in my mind along with this healthy budget, I would have to choose Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on the French Riviera.

Cap Ferrat is glamorous yet unspoilt. It has been a firm favourite of aristocracy and Hollywood celebrities over the years and is arguably one of the most exclusive addresses in Europe. It is easily located between Monaco and Nice, accessible both by car and helicopter making it a huge draw for wealthy clients looking for a second or third home and is somewhere they go to escape.

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As we describe in the latest Knight Frank Prime France Report, the 1.3km forested peninsula is home to around 500 spacious villas on large plots and has one of the strongest international buyer profiles on the French Riviera. The Eastern side is home to the best beaches, the Port and the old town, it offers the widest array of amenities, whilst the west has a steeper coastline and good views. There are two Michelin-starred restaurantsLa Voile d’Or and Le Cap and the small marina has around 560 berths.

Luxurious contemporary furnishings inside a villa

Contemporary interiors of luxury villa Grevillia

When a client arrives on Cap Ferrat, they always ask for homes with direct access to the sea and that’s what I would look for. And, with Knight Frank recently opening its sixth office along the Cote d’Azur in Cap Ferrat, and its 22nd office in France, my team would be primed to help me.

Two properties in particular stand out to me. The first being Grevillia, on the market for €56m. This is an exceptional, waterfront residence on the port of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. It is a beautiful modern estate, comprising a principal villa, a secondary villa and a guest house – ideal for someone like me with a large family and friends who regularly join us on holiday.

Luxurious holiday villa with outdoor pool

Luxurious villa terrace with outdoor pool

Villa Neo is built into the hillside above the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer, on the market at €15m.

The second is Villa Neo, on the market at €15m. Significantly under my €50m budget but it is a perfectly presented villa, built into the steep hillside above the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer and provides idyllic Riviera scenery. The villa’s wide terrace, infinity pool and principal rooms face the Mediterranean Sea so by day the small sail boats moored in the azure water provide a languid but ever-changing picture while after dark, the lights of the peninsula gently sparkle against the night sky.

Read more: Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards 2019

Property prices on Cap-Ferrat range from €2,000,000 to over €200,000,000 with the most active band between €5,000,000 and €10,000,000. Prime property prices have increased by 4 per cent in the year to 2018 but this is a most extraordinary market, one that resonates far and wide with international buyers and also those based in Monaco looking for a nearby escape with a slower pace of life. The unique homes on glorious Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat make the market anything but predictable.

Cap Ferrat not only has a timeless quality which my wife Claire, being half-French, would adore, but it also has one of the broadest international buyer profiles of all the markets on the French Riviera. This helps protect owners’ exit strategies by ensuring the market isn’t dependent on the economic fortunes or currency shifts of one particular buyer nationality.

Find out more: knightfrank.co.uk

Reading time: 3 min
Render of birdseye view of a harbour from the top of a building
Luxurious estate home in the Italian countryside

Italy retains its place as one of the most desirable second home destinations in the world, says Andrew Hay. This property, Le Bandite is located in Umbria with easy access to Rome

Portrait of a man in a suit

Lord Andrew Hay

Lord Andrew Hay is Global Head of Residential at Knight Frank, the international real estate consultancy, and has built up property portfolios for some of the wealthiest people in the world. In a new regular column, he is handed a theoretical sum of money by LUX and asked how he would invest it. We kick off by handing Lord Hay £100m and requesting a global residential property investment portfolio

When LUX’s Editor-in-Chief generously offered me the opportunity to “invest” £100m into property, I was unsurprisingly delighted to accept. I have had free rein on where and what I buy, but have decided to invest with both my head and my heart. The reason being – I want to enjoy the properties I purchase but also have a clear focus on investment returns.

With this in mind, I have divided my allocation into equal thirds, between high-end luxury residential property, residential investments with a focus on capital growth and rental returns and investment into student property and senior living. The final 10% I would invest into an agricultural portfolio.

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I have to start in London. Often the best investment strategy involves an understanding of which markets are the least fashionable at the moment – and with Brexit and tax hikes London has been underperforming in recent years.

With few London neighbourhoods having a global brand as strong as Chelsea’s, I firmly believe that Chelsea is the perfect example of an area that has been underperforming and which is now ripe for reassessment.

Prices here have fallen 20% since late 2014, compared with a 12% fall across the wider prime London market. While new-build property in this category achieves a premium, established property trades at between £1,200 and £1,800 per sq ft. With many properties now edging below £1,000 per sq ft, Chelsea is back in the spotlight and cheaper than some less central and glamorous neighbourhoods.

Luxury interiors of a stately home

Interiors of a luxurious villa residence overlooking Lake Como

Yes, the area still lacks the connectivity of other prime neighbourhoods. However, with easy access to the river, unrivalled shopping on the King’s Road and Fulham Road and some of London’s best schools within walking distance – including the Lycée Charles de Gaulle and the London Oratory School – and the promise (or maybe hope) of a station on the future Crossrail 2 underground railway, Chelsea is set for rediscovery.

The next place I would invest is the other side of the world: New Zealand. New flights and rapidly increasing connectivity to Asia means the country is increasingly becoming a go-to destination. Auckland is the logical entry point and investment destination. One location in particular stands out to me – home to the 2021 America’s Cup, Wynyard Quarter is changing fast. Over the past decade, this waterfront precinct, once the heart of Auckland’s marine and petrochemical industries, has emerged as a major hub for national and international corporates, including Fonterra, Datacom, Microsoft and ASB Bank, as well as for the city’s innovation and co-working scenes.

Read more: Ruinart x Jonathan Anderson’s pop-up hotel in Notting Hill

Staying in Australasia, I have to include Sydney in my portfolio – a market that has seen a huge growth in investment over the past two decades from around the world. The city may be remote, but education has been a driving force in attracting Chinese purchasers. The one location I would target is One Barangaroo – Crown’s new development. One Barangaroo is one of the most beautiful developments in the world currently being built and is achieving record prices on the shores of Sydney Harbour overlooking the bridge and the Opera House. It has brought a new global standard of facilities and services to the city.

Luxurious interiors of a penthouse apartment

New York design firm Meyer Davis have crafted designed the interior layouts of residences at One Bangaroo

Render of birdseye view of a harbour from the top of a building

View down to the harbour from One Barangaroo, the latest residential development in Sydney

In Europe, Italy retains its place as one of the most desirable second home destinations in the world. The new flat tax initiative however has cast the country in a new light as a potential permanent base for the world’s wealthy. Italy is certainly worth a closer look. Property prices in many Italian prime markets declined 40% in peak-to-trough terms following the financial crisis, interest rates remain at record lows and the country is better connected than ever before.

In the US, the West Coast is of especial interest to me, the combination of lifestyle and economic dynamism here is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. One area which appeals to me is Pasadena. Home to the Rose Bowl stadium, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena offers an attractive combination of relative value compared with neighbouring communities in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, and the desirable lifestyle and privacy that residents of Los Angeles seek. The neighbourhood is easily accessible, with a light rail line that puts it within 15-20 minutes of Downtown Los Angeles.

Read more: Kuwait’s ASCC launches visual arts programme in Venice

In terms of growth areas I would point to student accommodation and retirement. Student in particular is counter cyclical (i.e. typically more students in a recession). Participation in tertiary education globally is increasing – OECD predict 8 million internationally mobile students by 2025 (up from 5m today). Markets remain structurally undersupplied. In terms of where Sydney looks good it has a big student population and low pipeline due to shortage of development land. In terms of development, I like big European cities like Barcelona, Lisbon and Paris. European markets comprise with very little existing organised supply. Europe is new front for portfolio development, scale building and brand.

At the opposite end of the age scale is senior living where the market is undergoing rapid growth, underpinned by demographic shifts that are increasing demand for a wider array of specialist housing to suit the changing needs of older purchasers. London and the South East, Bristol and Edinburgh are key UK senior living markets. Globally, America, Canada and Australia are at the forefront of investment.

Finally I would invest in farmland. Choosing where to invest in agricultural land depends very much on your appetite for risk but the world faces both a water shortage and food shortage by 2040 and 2050 respectively and therefore, investors looking at long-term food security are well advised to invest in agricultural land. With the world’s fastest growing population, Africa offers some very exciting opportunities. Zambia, for example, provides a good balance of relative political stability and established infrastructure. The Asia-pacific region is seeing a huge growth in wealth and rain-fed farms on the east coast of Australia are well placed to take advantage of this market.

And, that’s my £100m invested.

Find out more: knightfrank.co.uk

Knight Frank’ Wealth Report directs ultra-high-net-worth individuals on where to invest in property and reflect $3 trillion of private client investment into real estate annually. The countries that have been most robust and performed best over the last decade have been those where there is a steady political and economic situation as well as transparent rule of law, high quality living and first class education. The above portfolio choice reflects this.

Reading time: 6 min
Architectural render of a public space and contemporary apartment buildings
Architectural render of a public space and contemporary apartment buildings

Exterior render of the new One Monte-Carlo residences in Monaco

The new One Monte-Carlo development could just be the swankiest place in the world for you to hang out with your money, your trophy spouse, and your Ferrari

Wander to your living room window, glass of Cristal in hand, open the balcony door and step out into a view of the Casino de Monte-Carlo, and beyond it, the Mediterranean. Feel the need for an emergency handbag? No problem, a flagship Louis Vuitton is just downstairs.

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Welcome to One Monte-Carlo. To call the development, created by Richard Rogers, the celebrated British architect, and Bruno Moinard, ‘interior architect’ to the stars, lavish would be a dramatic understatement. Built next to the Hôtel de Paris on Casino Square, and opened amid much champagne this spring, One M-C bring new heights of extravagance to a principality not exactly unknown for its swanky places for you and your money to live.

Architectural render of apartment building and courtyard

Render of One M-C residences and public space

Luxury apartment interiors decorated in neutral colours with wooden floors

Architectural render of a luxurious marble bathroom

Designed by Richard Rogers, One Monte Carlo houses 37 luxury apartments and dozens of retail stores

Moinard, responsible for the contemporary yet warm interiors of luxury temples such as the Plaza Athénée and Château Latour, tells LUX that, “in line with the vision of Monaco’s future, we used materials that give life and humanity to this exceptional project”. Combined with Rogers’ curvaceous forms, this gives One M-C a sense of the mountains overlooking the city. Some of the principality’s bland 1960s apartment blocks must now be feeling ashamed of themselves.

The catch? You can never own in One M-C: the apartments are available for long-term rental only, and most have already been snapped up. Worth selling your LaFerrari for a year’s rental? We would.

Find out more: montecarlosbm.com/en/hotel-monaco/residences

This article was originally published in the Summer 19 Issue

Reading time: 1 min
Private tropical beach with sun loungers and palm trees
Private tropical beach with sun loungers and palm trees

The beach at the Rosewood Baha Mar

Baha Mar is the latest and most prestigious resort to open in the Bahamas. With three leading hotel brands and all the residential lifestyle amenities you could wish for, you may be tempted to move there permanently, says Jenny Southan

Said to have the clearest sea water in the world, the 700-island archipelago of the Bahamas has long been a glittery bolthole for holidaymakers and expats looking for a luxurious paradise to make their home, even if only temporarily. Part of its allure can be put down to its association with James Bond, whose escapades often took him to these parts. Scenes in Casino Royale, for example, were shot on New Providence Island, where the capital Nassau is located, and where non-stop BA flights from London touchdown along with services from the US.

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Life in the Bahamas (just 55 miles east of Florida and one of the oldest members of the British Commonwealth) is rich with ways to spend your time, be it strolling along the pink sands of Harbour Island, watching flamingos at West Side National Park on Andros, or viewing Long Island’s blue hole, one of the deepest on Earth. Activities range from diving and sailing to bone-fishing and swimming with pigs on Big Major Cay. With a year-round outdoor swimming climate, the islands are perfect for whiling away the endless days of summer, winter and everything in between.

The desirability of New Providence as a destination has been enhanced by a new resort, Baha Mar, on Cable Beach. Costing US$4.2 billion, it made its debut in 2017 with the opening of the Baha Mar Casino (the largest in the Caribbean, with 119 gaming tables, high-limit betting and private gaming rooms), the 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed Royal Blue Golf Course, a flagship ESPA spa with 24 treatment rooms, and the Racquet Club Baha Mar. Also there are the Baha Mar Convention, Arts & Entertainment Centre and the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar hotel, and beyond the show lakes and fountains, you will discover 30 designer boutiques, with brands such as Rolex, Bulgari, Hublot and Chopard.

Exterior of luxury beach-front hotel with pink facade

The exterior of the SLS Baha Mar hotel

With direct access to a kilometre-long white sandy beach, the 299-room SLS Baha Mar opened soon after in November 2017, while spring 2018 saw the unveiling of the 237-room Rosewood. There are fully serviced one- to six-bedroom oceanfront residences and villas from $705,000 at the SLS and from just below $1m at Rosewood. For UK citizens looking to buy property, Baha Mar provides enticing new options in this long-standing tax haven, with no income tax charged to residents no matter where in the world they earn their money. Once you own a house or apartment valued at more than $750,000, you are eligible to apply for permanent residency, and for anyone investing in excess of $1.5m, their application may be expedited.

Interiors of a contemporary bar with sofa seating and indoor plants

The Monkey Bar at SLS

The jet-set lifestyle of Baha Mar is easily enjoyed. The SLS Baha Mar, which is operated by US hospitality group sbe, has become a popular hotspot for entertaining. In addition to Mediterranean restaurant Cleo and trendy Monkey Bar, there is Privilege for upscale pool parties, rooftop lounge Skybar (the only one in Nassau), modern Japanese restaurant Katsuya, Fi’lia by the James Beard award-winning chef Michael Schwartz, and nightclub Bond, conceived by rock singer Lenny Kravitz’s Kravitz Design. Carna for steaks is coming soon.

Read more: Ultra-luxury development One Monte-Carlo opens in Monaco

The new Rosewood, meanwhile, has farm-to-table London-style brasserie Commonwealth and its exclusive Rum Room; and Costa, which features pavilions surrounded by water and a menu of seafood and meat dishes with a Latin American twist. In addition is The Library where a Bahamian-style afternoon tea is served. The heavenly Manor Bar features design inspired by a yacht interior – all dark polished woods and blue velvets.

Luxury hotel lobby with contemporary furnishings

The Living Room at Rosewood Baha Mar

The design of the property itself is reminiscent of a Bahamian island estate home, with white weatherboarding, tropical gardens and verandas. And to ensure the stresses of work are smoothed away, Sense, a Rosewood spa, has created treatments based on ancient Bahamian rituals using local plants such as lignum vitae, moringa leaf, cassava and neem tree.

For those interested in a base on the island, Rosewood has one- to three-bedroom residences (from $995,000) with private concierge and butler services, plus four-to six-bedroom beachfront villas with their own pool (from $6.4m to $25m). Buyers at Rosewood and SLS are eligible to apply for permanent residence status. Dependent on nationality, buyers may be entitled to tax benefits including capital gains and income tax exemptions.

Owners of the residences at SLS and Rosewood enjoy access to the members-only Nexus Club (with its champagne bar, pool with day beds, private gaming and cigar bar) plus the 65m (213ft) super yacht Eternity, on which they can cruise the archipelago or visit Baha Mar’s own 15-acre private island, Long Cay. Staffed by Rosewood and available for private hire, this is where sybarites can relax in a hammock on the beach with a glass of rum. Life doesn’t get any better than this.

Find out more: bahamar.com/residences/

This article was first published in the Winter 19 Issue.

Reading time: 4 min
Smart contemporary lobby area with cream sofas and modern light fitting
Grand entrance way with footman, pillars and arch with stairs leading into luxury devleopment

The Buckingham Gate entrance at Northacre’s No.1 Palace Street development

Luxury real estate developer Northacre was founded in 1977 by German architect Klas Nilsson. Owner of The Lancasters, a luxe development of 77 apartments in Bayswater, the company is currently developing No. 1 Palace Street, a Grade II listed building featuring 72 apartments overlooking Buckingham Palace’s Gardens and The Broadway in Westminster, which will be composed of six residential towers framed around a 20,000sq ft public thoroughfare and pedestrianised piazza. LUX Associate Editor Kitty Harris speaks to CEO Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro about Brexit, millennials and the importance of understanding your customer
Headshot of business man wearing a blue suit jacket and white shirt

Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro

LUX: Northacre provides management, interior architecture and design services. How do all of these components work together?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: How would it function without it is the question. I am always surprised to see other developers that don’t have an interior designer or architectural arm in-house because ultimately, what are we selling? Hopefully, beautiful apartments that people want to live in, and hence you have to create the emotional attachment between what you do and what they’re buying because without it you don’t create a premium. For us, the central part of our DNA is the design. Northacre is the only development firm in central London that was started by an architect. Klas Nilsson started Northacre roughly 30 years ago – he was a pioneer in space and an architect hence design has been at the core of what we do and not an add on. It’s a 360 degree holistic approach to developing.

LUX: Do you think there are irresponsible and responsible developers?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: You know I don’t know if it is about being responsible or irresponsible, I think there is a naivety and short-sightedness in cutting corners. The most important thing that Northacre has is its track record, doing the same thing thirty years in a row and doing it successfully. And so it would be very short-sighted to CGI and erase buildings in front of ours in order to make ours a better view because it takes a client to visit once and then you’ve lost them forever.

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LUX: Do you have repeat customers?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: Absolutely, we have quite a few. We’ve probably sold close to 700 homes in central London in the high-end space. At the moment there are 330 transactions about the five million pound mark of which we have sold a decent percentage. One client of ours, who until very recently still lived in our show apartment at Kings Chelsea, subsequently bought another house in Kings Chelsea and he had bought 13 apartments at The Lancasters. He’s bought four more of ours at Park Street, and hopefully he will buy some at The Broadway too. He is a repeat customer, I think like many others, for several reasons. One is that he loves the homes, which I think is the crucial part of it. And secondly, the properties have done incredibly well investment wise.

If you look, for example, at The Lancasters, when we were doing bank evaluations they were saying no way would you be able to sell £1700 a square ft. because the area is at best £1000. A 70% premium is a damn good premium. But when we got it financed, the average sale price at the end was £2850. So yes, the market might have moved, but not from £1000 to about £2850 in the space of about 4 years. Even if it had doubled, it would be at £2000. So clients realised that we have quite a resilient product and in fact, the gentlemen that bought all of the developments I mentioned, decided he wanted to sell one at the beginning of this year. He was an early buyer, he bought in 2015, which we could argue was probably the peak of the market, he made 109% (£700,000) net return on his 10% deposit and it wasn’t on a small apartment in a market that’s gone down.

Smart contemporary lobby area with cream sofas and modern light fitting

The lobby in The Broadway – a current development by Northacre

LUX: Which is your keenest market area and are you selling more now to millennial generations?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: Our markets really depend on the development because certain things that appeal to one kind of nationality do not appeal to another. Take two examples, No. 1 Palace Street and The Broadway. We retained the 1870s façade at No. 1 Palace Street, which overlooks the gardens at Buckingham Palace, but stripped the building completely so it is entirely new inside. The Asian market doesn’t see this as new and they don’t like older buildings so I would say that the largest group of buyers in that development are from the Middle East. Monarchy is very big there, they love it, and so you can see the different points of affinity between them.

When we bought The Broadway, we thought that it would be perfect for the Chinese market and for the Asian market in general because it was one of the very few mixed new build schemes where you are able to create a destination in central London of its size. It’s 1.7 acres and 268 units with all the amenities, and it has four world heritage sites around it. The mix of these two and its fantastic views resonates very well with them.

Read more: President of Monaco Boat Service Lia Riva on the romance of the riviera 

Where do I start with millennials…they think very differently. We’ve found that millennials are actually very asset light. They love experiences, and they don’t want to be necessarily burdened by having a big asset whilst they could be travelling and creating experiences. And so we haven’t targeted them especially. We will be putting out a property that will resonate with millennials very soon, but it is a different beast completely and so we are looking to target that in a completely different way.

LUX: How do Northacre approach developing?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: Ultimately, we want to create an emotional attachment by making our buyers understand that we understand them. And I know it sounds like the ABCs of any company, i.e. understanding your customer, but look at some of the developments around you, it’s clear that the developer doesn’t understand their end customer. The reason is that there are a lot of improvised high-end residential developers because asset prices went up and high-end residential was the best use of these assets. They became high-end residential developers overnight and they don’t realise that it’s not an easy task. Hence they don’t deliver what buyers necessarily want. By understanding your clients, and knowing that real luxury to them is spending time with loved ones, we deliver something that creates an emotional attachment, enabling them at the same time, through in-house services, to focus on what they should be focusing on.

contemporary style bedroom with bathtub in the background

A master bedroom in The Broadway development

LUX: What makes The Broadway different to the other developments?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro:  The Broadway is a very challenging project; very few developers have ever delivered 268 high-end units in prime central London. But also it’s different in that it’s the first real mix-used scheme of high-end residential development in central London and many other cities. We believe this is the direction developing is going take, because you have got to create a sense of place that goes beyond the location itself. It’s important to control the types of shops and coffee shops on the site for the kind of buyer we attract. It’s also very important for the surrounding community because you are curating in an unexpected way by not putting generic shops in. Pret and Boots are fantastic, but we’ve seen enough of them. We are in a position to control that, which other developers can’t if it is just residential.

LUX: And how do you decide what locations to build on?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: The formula of Northacre hasn’t changed in the last 30 years. If you took a map of London and plotted all the Northacre developments by the year they were created, which is very important because areas change, you will see that the formula has always been the same. We develop in areas that are very central or very close to, but not in ‘the’ centre. We create a product that is better than anything else in that particular area, and then we play the price conversion. For example, No. 1 Palace Street: one would say ‘how absolutely fantastic to overlook Buckingham Place, but it would be nicer on the Mayfair side of Buckingham Palace’. Yes it would be, but on that side it was £6000/ 7000 per square ft. and this area is at £2000 and so we could push prices to £3000-4000. You need to understand the macro and micro of areas and of buildings themselves because it needs to become an aspirational building. The Lancaster was 140 metres of 1870s odd, white stucco façade overlooking Hyde Park. How many assets are there like that in London? Hardly any. How many times can you buy a whole block of 5 different architectural styles all in one next to Buckingham Palace like at No. 1 Palace Street? You can’t. So the fact that these buildings enable you to create an aspirational product, create additional value as well.

Read more: Model of the month Emma Laird on juggling acting and modelling

LUX: Do you think that phrase ‘re-defining luxury’ is dead?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: I never really understood the phrase to tell you the truth. For the simple reason that it might not be luxury to you, and it might not be luxury to me. Luxury is personal. For Millennials, like my son who is 16, ownership of an object is absolutely irrelevant. I said to him a few years ago: ‘When you turn 18 I will give you my watch’. ‘Why do I need a watch?’ was his response. Whereas if I gave him £10,000 for an incredible trip somewhere he would love it. So I’ve never been a fan of that phrase. I think you have to strike an emotional cord with people because that, to me, is how you convey luxury. Look at the things that the wealthy collect like art – how personal is art! You might love a painting I might not like it. Vintage wines too. All things are that are personal and rare –  you cannot have the same that I can have.

Luxury indoor swimming pool with plush sun loungers

The Swimming Pool at No.1 Palace Street – a development by Northacre

LUX: How do you think Brexit will affect the market, if it hasn’t done so already?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: It will affect it but there are many things that are affecting the market in general. We have to take a step back for a second and consider that from 1994 to 2014 we had twenty years of a booming market. We shouldn’t be too surprised that there is a pause in this market.

And what does Brexit do? First of all we don’t know what Brexit looks like because no one does. We only know it creates three things. Two that are negative and one that is positive. The first one is uncertainty. No one likes uncertainty, and in times of uncertainty asset prices don’t go up and it doesn’t give buyers a sense of urgency. Second, it is creating an opportunity for foreigners because the pound is weaker, which is the positive. However, this also has a negative ramification to it as well. This being that the weak pound gives an excuse to a lot of the foreign work force working in construction to go back home because their countries are booming more than they were before. They are now sending much less money home than they were before because £1 before was €1.40 now it is €1.14 – a very big difference.

If you look at it more granularly though, what I think is really happening is the market has become binary and it goes back to the fact that you have a lot of improvised high-end residential developers that are creating a product that does not actually meet what people really want. And so when someone says ‘the high-end market is down 15% from the peak’, that is a very misleading number because yes, if you take the who aggregate of it, but if you then look at properties that are actually really nicely developed property by a reputable developer that don’t have any compromises to it, there aren’t many and so the developer still has pricing power. It is not because the customer has become poorer all of a sudden, he is just picky, and rightly so because he is spending a lot of money. So the other developers that are developing a product that is not really ticking all of the boxes can’t attract the high-end market because those buyers want to spend their money on the best. They are not interested in something, even if you give them a 20% discount, they will say: ‘But I still don’t like it, it is not that I like it more’ so then they have to start selling to a different kind of market and that’s why the prices drop because the other buyer says, ‘OMG, it is nice and so expensive.’

LUX: What are your future predictions?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: Did you bring the crystal ball?! We do have to look ahead, I think that there are clear trends in the market in general that have nothing to do with high-end residential. I think high-end residential is going slightly back to basics in the sense that for a long time you had developers that thought that the more expensive the property, the more you have got to put in it. And everything has to be covered up because that is going to give a sense of luxury and how much they have spent. Electronics, big screens everywhere etc. The fact is that high-end people like to turn the switch on and off and the button for fading the light is the most they want to see, right? So we are stripping back the technology to basics. And the sense of luxury really is the beautiful light switch. To touch it there’s a sense of satisfaction, it is bit like a door handle that it is the right length, the right thickness, the right feel, the right weight. We are really focusing on those subtleties.

And then there is nothing wrong with a white wall, because ultimately, for these customers, it’s about the art that they are going to put there. All their friends have nice apartments, they don’t need to go and show it off. But what differentiates them is that they have art that nobody else can have because it is one piece. And so how do you create gallery spaces? How do you create as much wall space as possible? So these are the trends that I see: the pairing back, the few great materials and simplicity, ultimately.

Read more: Why you should be checking into Monte Carlo Bay, Monaco this month

The other trend is really focusing on the staff of the development, so the concierge, the valet etc. How do you enable them to deliver the service you talk about them delivering? I’ll give you a practical example, when we were doing No.1 Palace Street and I was new at Northacre, I said let’s go and interview all the guys that work at the front desk in our past developments. Let’s learn from them because they are the ones that are in the front line. And it is interesting that they were saying, at the Lancaster they were saying: ‘you know we receive two bags of mail every single day, we receive three racks of dry cleaning every single day. Northacre did not give us enough space to put all of these things, and so we’ve got a few there, a few there, a few there.’ These are things you have to consider.

We are also creating an app, where you will be able to do everything from booking a massage to making sure the car comes up to seeing your service charges to booking a personal trainer, so that everything is done in a very, very simplistic way. That then frees up the time of the guys downstairs and enables them to deliver the best possible service.

LUX: Do you have your favourite residential area in London?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: Well, I have been living in Chelsea for 21 years now, so that is my neck of the woods. I love it because it feels like a little village, but at the same time, you are 100 metres away from the hustle and bustle and if you have got to get to other central parts of London it is super, super close and it is very close to my office. But there are a lot of exciting places in London, not only where we develop, but also some parts of the East End are super interesting, and I think that how they are attracting tech start-ups is incredibly interesting. And actually the East End is really starting to cater to the millennial generation. Anywhere you go in London houses are very expensive. And so we have to start finding a new model based on how people will be living that also reflects how the millennials think, and that is what we are working on at the moment.

Facade of grand residential building in classical style with columned entrance

According to Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro, No.1 Palace Street has been Northacre’s most challenging development to date

LUX: What has been the most challenging development for Northacre?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: No.1 Palace Street without a doubt! It has five architectural styles in one block with a façade retention of about 70% of the original façade with a great tall building in the middle. We had to demolish everything inside and dig down four floors underneath. We are doing a top-down construction approach, where you pour the ground floor slab, and then you start digging down whilst going up at the same time. The façade is not thick at all so it’s scary because you are creating the structure and then you have to tie it all back together. And obviously these façades are delicate.

LUX: Don’t blow!
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro: Exactly. When there were high winds last year we were praying a crane didn’t move, because can you imagine? Who is going to go to Westminster and tell them that the façade has come down?

LUX: We hear you are a keen sailor. What’s been your most memorable voyage?
Niccolò Barattieri di San Pietro:  I sailed from the South of France to Hawaii and then from Hawaii to San Francisco. I did about 15,000 miles on a 39 ft. catamaran. The first 2,000 miles I did without a GPS – it was a fantastic trip!

To find out more about Northacre’s past, current and future developments visit:  northacre.com

Reading time: 16 min
In the heart of Knightsbridge overlooking one of London’s most beautiful garden squares is a new residential conversion that is long on that rare blend of uber-luxe and subtlety
Hans Place Knightsbridge residency

A rooftop terrace at the exclusive Kingwood development overlooking Hans Place in Knightsbridge

London’s garden squares have been a lure for investors and residents for centuries. A home on a garden square has all the advantages of city centre living, but with a view of trees, grass and carefully tended flowerbeds, and the opportunity to chill out in your private gardens – often surprisingly extensive – on the days when summer comes to town.

Many garden squares are, through a function of history, also in the most exclusive areas of town: Knightsbridge, Chelsea, Belgravia, Notting Hill. With typical London eccentricity, the most exclusive garden square of all is not technically called a square, but a ‘place’. Hans Place is just around the corner from Harrods – a hundred metres or so away, near enough for a quick dash for that Chanel gown for tonight. More oval than square, its northern side is being transformed into Kingwood, six of the most luxurious lateral apartments in Europe.

Knightsbridge apartment

The informal kitchen and dining area in one of the luxury residences

Read next: Fine wine tasting at the legendary mansion on Lake Como, Villa Giuseppina

The development was made possible due to the simultaneous conversion of four neighbouring historic townhouses. “What is incredible about Kingwood is that you have four houses together, built as vertical townhouses, which we are now converting into lateral apartments, on one of the best, if not the best, garden squares in London,” says Alex Michelin, co-founder of Finchatton, the developer. “The person we purchased the properties from spent half his life putting them together.”

Knightsbridge residency

The elegant dining room of one of the new Kingwood apartments

In a city not known for its opportunities for lateral apartment conversions, to get 600 sq m on a single floor was “entrancing”, says Michelin.

Some recent developments in Knightsbridge have owed more to Hong Kong or Dubai style, all glass and gold, than London. Not this one. “It’s an incredibly discreet development. We have taken the buildings as they were, with their original facades, and just restored them,” says Michelin.

Read next: Behind the scenes with one of the masterminds behind the world’s most exclusive members’ club

The interiors, designed by Finchatton’s in-house team, are subtle chic, with taupes and muted tones, evoking a contemporary luxury that would be as familiar to a fashion designer as a private equity principal. “It’s very sophisticated and elegant; there’s no steel, glass or chrome. Our style is understated elegance. People these days don’t want to be flaunting their wealth.”

Knightsbridge luxury property

A Kingwood master bedroom with a four-poster bed and floor-to-ceiling windows

But while the historic significance of the architecture has been respected, the build is completely up to date. The homes are governed by the latest Crestron home automation system, so you can switch on your air conditioning and the Café del Mar soundtrack, and have your robot butler fix you a dry Martini as you approach in your self-driving Tesla. (OK, we made up the part about the Martini but we’re sure it’s going to happen soon.)

The catch? Three of the six apartments have been sold already. We suspect LUX readers will purchase the rest now.


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