An Inside Look At Clarges Mayfair, The London Property Favoured By The Global Elite
It was rare enough that the sun was out in full force on our visit to London, but perhaps what was more unusual was where we were enjoying the sunshine—on a massive private wraparound terrace of a penthouse with an impressive panorama of the city. From this vantage point, every landmark is visible—The Shard, The London Eye, Buckingham Palace; we could even see the groups of friends lounging on deck chairs at Green Park right below.
“This was what we fell in love with,” shares James Taylor, Head of Clarges Mayfair, with a smile as he took in the view for the nth time. Responsible for the newest luxury development of British Land—also the first super-prime residential project of the respected developer—Taylor is rightly proud with what they have built in just over five years’ time.
This parcel of land in Piccadilly is as prime as it gets. Situated diagonally across The iconic Ritz Hotel, the site of Clarges Mayfair is a gem of a find especially in a district known to have little churn when it comes to available plots.
Granted, there is no disputing the cache of Mayfair. Say the name to anyone and they would most likely associate it with luxury, even if they can’t pinpoint it on a map. Perhaps this explains why property developers from Singapore to Santa Monica use the name to lend prestige to their buildings. This, however, is the only Mayfair that counts—the ultra-exclusive neighbourhood in west London hugged by the verdant enclaves of Hyde Park and Green Park. Add to the equation beacons of style such as Bond Street and Savile Row and no one can question Mayfair’s enduring appeal and why it remains London’s most expensive district, both in real-life and on the Monopoly board.
No expense was spared in the creation of developer British Land's first foray to the highest end of the market. One of the main indications of their desire to surpass expectations is the calibre of their design collaborators. They enlisted award-winning Squire & Partners, a practice known for their dutiful approach to conserving buildings, as architects of the project.
Adhering to the strict building codes of Westminster, Squire & Partners sought to create an understated, low-rise structure that subtly reflected the historic richness of the area. Inspired by the grand houses that once dominated Mayfair, the architects made the most of the elongated plot by dividing it in two, thereby creating a new street christened as Ashburton Place, a first in Mayfair in the last 15 years.
“We studied the structure of other Piccadilly buildings and used the same traditional materials such as Portland stone. We also replicated details like the fluted columns that adorn many of the facades of nearby landmarks,” shares principal architect Michael Squire. The result is a streamlined building with intricate detailing, as Squire describes it, with the clever references revealing itself only to those with the curiosity to look closely.
Interior designer Martin Kemp was tasked to create timeless, luxurious concepts for the various configurations of the 34-apartment development, and he was adamant to incorporate a strong sense of place. “Mayfair has a deep history of craft, from tailoring to horology and leathermaking. It is also notable for its Art Deco architectural gems,” says Kemp. He weaved both past and present influences into the space in an elegant way—botanical touches in the tiling reflect the nearby Royal Parks, while the graphic, matte bronze fixtures are a clear reference to its Art Deco legacy.
The careful thought is not only evident in the symbolism of the design but also the experience that it intends to deliver. “We wanted to create a strong sense of arrival once you enter the building,” remarked Squire as he took us around the elliptical-shaped, lofty entrance. “We discussed putting a chandelier in the atrium, but ultimately we thought the volume speaks for itself,” affirmed both Squire and Kemp. The seamless collaboration between the two is best appreciated here: the soaring 18-metre-high domed ceiling is punctuated with an ingenious LED light sculpture, complete with 32 different details drawing from Mayfair’s history and can be programmed to showcase eight lighting concepts.
What really sets Clarges Mayfair apart is its unwavering commitment to ensuring that its residents live well, a result of British Land’s mantra of “being thoughtful beyond brick and mortar”. “We want this place to be the ultimate cocoon for residents,” shares Taylor, who explained why they invested in comprehensive wellness facilities including a spacious gym, a dedicated spa, and a 25-metre stainless steel indoor pool—amenities that even five-star hotels in London struggle to provide.
Residents' well-being is of paramount importance and this is reinforced by the service on hand. Clarges Mayfair is staffed by notable hospitality professionals led by Simon Bath, Director of Residences, and his deputy Lisa Carlman, formerly House Manager at Buckingham Palace. “We hire people who have the innate ability to be observant, know how to anticipate, but most of all, who are just genuinely nice,” shares Bath. Carlman adds, “We want our team to be that constant for the residents. This is their home, and they ought to feel warmly welcomed.”
While Mayfair was once seen as lacking in a cool factor, the district is currently undergoing a renaissance, attracting younger chefs, artists, and designers to call this place home. Clarges Mayfair, with its effort in ensuring it’s a solid part of the community, is well-placed to enjoy this creative surge. With only a handful of apartments left in the building waiting for their owners and no guarantee that Mayfair is yet again going to have this influx of homes, there’s no better time to roll the dice, stake your claim and live in this cultured and historic slice of the city.