Blog

July 2017

Kyoto & Japanese Joinery
We, at Brandler London, possess both an appreciation for aged wood and fine craftsmanship.  As a result, we appreciate the incredible beauty of the centuries-old wooden architecture of Kyoto, Japan.  

The city features architectural masterpieces exemplifying the art of Japanese joinery. Many modern masters still use these ancient techniques in woodworking. However, we concentrate on how these constructions show the amazing qualities developed in weathered and aged wood. As cabinet makers specialising in reclaimed wood, we need to understand how differences in tone, texture, and colour came about to each piece of material. We must learn to develop designs with historic materials in a modern context.  

In 2014, Brandler London’s design director, Chris Brandler, visited Kyoto and documented his trip in these photographs.  

These wood planks and columns not only show the age of centuries, but also they show the impact of the sun, water, humans, and even gravity in their appearance. Vertical members fade from warm red to chalky grey in a matter of metres, showing just how powerful environmental factors can be on these materials. Door handles show the traces of human touch with oiled highlights. Patterns developed with time to show just how important conscious choices made about materials are in woodworking and joinery.  

 About Kyoto
Kyoto is a city that immensely values its history. UNESCO named the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto a World Heritage Site. Of Japan’s National Treasures, nearly a fifth of them exist in Kyoto. The city possesses approximately two thousand shrines and temples. (Source) The city, country, and world prioritise protecting these historic structures. Even in World War II in the midst of great international conflict, both domestic and foreign decision makers protected Kyoto due to its cultural importance.   To conclude, these landmarks raise a couple questions for us:
  • What happens to these aged wood materials when the historic architecture isn’t deemed worth saving?
  • How can these materials be reclaimed and used in a modern context without losing their hard-earned character?
  Our portfolio of work in reclaimed wood continues to grow in constant pursuit of answering that question.

March 2017

Brandler London Penthouse - Home of a British Icon
Now British Olympic medalist Tom Daley's home, our Southwark penthouse offers a glimpse of a property purchased by a British sporting icon. This 3-level unit features signature Brandler London kitchen and wardrobes, in our warm, textured reclaimed wood.

“I’m delighted with my new home, it’s a true reflection of the meticulous extra attention to detail and care that I’ve discovered Chris puts into every project he does.” - Tom Daley

The Building

Part of a Brandler London warehouse conversion, the historic structure was originally built for hops processing. It was filled with textured masonry and old timber. As a result, almost all of the reclaimed wood we used in the refurbishment was from the original warehouse. We then developed a material palette of concrete, metal, and reclaimed wood  to create a stunning composition of orthogonal lines throughout the home.

The Kitchen

We removed the warehouse’s old timber joists in construction and gave them new life to finish the open kitchen. Firstly, we used the reclaimed wood on the backlit floating shelves. These serve as a prime location to display the owner’s kitchen favourites. Secondly, we cut and planed the warehouse joists to create the doors and drawer fronts for the concealed kitchen storage. To complete the look, we clad the back of the kitchen peninsula  in reclaimed wood as well. We used concrete worktops with downlighting LED's to contrast the warm, rich wood with sleek yet durable modern surfaces. We located the kitchen and dining areas on the centre level, creating a hub of cooking, dining, and entertaining.

The Wardrobes

In addition to the kitchen, we used reclaimed wood from the warehouse in the master bedroom’s wardrobes. We fitted the drawer and door fronts with a light toned wood that features embedded rusted nails. Part of a foot-long measurement system, these numerated markings reveal the inner workings of this warehouse's former life in the hops processing era.

And the Roof Deck

New bespoke mild steel stairs lead up to the new roof deck. Carefully designed with entertaining in mind, this space features a new jacuzzi and 270-degree views of the London skyline. Each of these meticulously designed interventions sought to blend a modern aesthetic with historic and industrial materials. The result is a contemporary home in a historic building that feels modern and industrial while maintaining the warmth and textures of a well-loved home. The project was a collaboration between Brandler London, Polly Playford who consulted for interior design, and Pravin Muthiah from Coupdeville as our lead architect. The owner was also featured in his new kitchen in this recent post on the Guardian. Find more images of Tom Daley's home in our project gallery: Southwark Penthouse and Tom Daley's Wardrobes. *Disclaimer - Property dressed by Brandler London for photography and as such expressly does not in any way reflect the interior design style of the owner.