Our client had built the shell of a new house in Lagos, Nigeria. It was a basic structure, without any clear sense of what was going to go where inside, and how the rooms would look. How the space would work would need to be expertly designed, as well as deciding where plumbing needed to go, plus choosing the lighting and finishing materials as well as wall coverings and furniture and much more.
A lot of people struggle to understand the difference between interior design and interior decoration – this was exactly the kind of task that could only be done by a skilled and experienced interior designer.
The house was essentially a blank canvas – which is a great opportunity, but also a demanding challenge, especially when we were never going to see this property in person. Our client was confident that Urbanist Architecture was right for the job, and we were confident that we would be able to maintain our high standards working on an interior architecture project 3,000 miles away from our London office.
Villa interior design is a massively underestimated aspect of luxury contemporary villa design, but one we have always taken very seriously. The flow of a home is crucial to the happiness of its residents, and a house with a beautiful exterior but either cramped spaces or ones so large you feel lost in them is no use at all. Here we worked closely with our client to understand exactly what he wanted for the interior architecture of his villa, and we came up with a series of interior design ideas he was happy with.
We also had to collaborate with his contractors in Lagos, making sure that the interior design concepts for the villa matched up with what they were working on. The logistics meant that much of what was going to go into the house had to be ordered in London. That included lighting, wallpaper, rugs and furnishings, as well as the custom-made mirror panels that were to be a beautiful feature in the entrance hallway. As many companies do not deliver to Nigeria, our client took receipt of it in the UK and then shipped it out.
It was a hugely positive experience both for our client and our team. It confirmed our view that in the 2020s, there is no reason why a practice in London can’t oversee a major project in different countries without having a local office there.
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