The Top 10 Things Developers Should Know

By Oliver Burns

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February 20, 2018|Luxury Insight

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  • he role of the luxury architectural interior designer has evolved over the last decade. Luxury designers must now deliver more than just good design; they also need to consider how they can elevate a scheme and contribute to the end sales value of a development. Whilst the commercial responsibility usually sits with the developer, the designer should play a more fundamental role in helping to achieve the end objective. This may require a change to the way developers work with their interior designers. With this in mind, here are Joe Burns top 10 things developers should consider before commissioning a luxury architectural interior designer:
  1. Involving the designer early pays dividends. This is essential to allow the design vision to be captured and creative solutions found upfront, rather than compromising later down the line. At Oliver Burns, we act as trusted advisors to our clients from concept to completion. When we are involved in a project from the outset, we are able to work closely with architects and the wider professional team on spatial planning and delivering the overall design concept. We can also share our super-prime expertise at every stage, including what discerning clients look for and how this differs according to whether it’s a home or an investment.
Image via Oliver Burns
  1. Super-prime means super-prime.The expectations of the super wealthy are at an all time high, they expect the exceptional. With the top end of the market currently challenging, requirements now go beyond a visually enticing apartment; it needs to be intelligent and thoughtful too. Some of the thoughtful elements we have incorporated into projects include collectors’ display cases, wellness spas, his and hers dressing rooms and bespoke crafted scents.
Oliver Burns
  1. Trust is key.Once a designer has been selected for a project, trust is critical. The designer should be given the freedom to create a design that maximises space whilst delivering a strong concept. We have been designing super-prime homes for 15 years and have a developed understanding of what discerning clients like. We always use our knowledge to create the best design for a property, but trust from the developer is key to achieving an outstanding end result.
  1. Design is part of the overall brand concept.For developments, the design must also convey the brand vision and this should be an essential part of the developer’s brief. Our in house marketing team has extensive expertise in creating and managing luxury brands. We work with property and hospitality clients to create unique brand propositions that resonate with the target buyer. For Beau House, which was a collaboration with Dukelease, we helped create a concept for the scheme that centered on the bespoke tailoring associated with Jermyn Street. The design reflected this throughout, incorporating tailoring prints such as herringbone and chevron with hand crafted details, such as studwork, stitching and bespoke cabinetry.
Image via Oliver Burns
  1. Context is king.The period of the building, its architecture and location should always play a central role in how the interior design is developed. The location informs how people interact with the area and also provides valuable clues to the type of buyer that can be expected. Having worked on many period properties, we understand buildings, their cultural significance and the importance of their location. We believe designs should be sensitive to these aspects and tell a story, serving to enhance the current architecture and the building’s status, whilst being unique to the space.
  1. Space planning sits at the centre of good design.The most important part of what interior designers do is design the internal space of a building. At Oliver Burns, we design from the inside out, putting the client or potential buyers’ needs at the core of our design. We consider how the buyer will interact with and use the space. From this we can then look at ways to maximise the usable space, working either with the existing or the proposed footprint of the building. This is where we look to add commercial value to a project. If we can design the space to its maximum efficiency, this can substantially increase the saleable square footage of a development.
Oliver Burns
  1. Buyers want unique not bland.The idea of providing a neutral canvas for clients to stamp their own personality is good, but the reality is that it rarely works and most clients will be put off paying top price for a property they have to finish themselves. It’s far better to create a unique, timeless, turnkey design that a buyer will fall in love with. This isn’t straightforward; it requires an in-depth knowledge of the super-prime buyer and a fine balance between a neutral non-polarising palette, well chosen accent colours and stunning styling.
Image via Oliver Burns
  1. Budget for final dressing. When it comes to the last few weeks of a project, all too often, the build cost is over budget and the project is out of money. However, the final dressing plays an essential role in helping the potential buyer visualise the apartment or house as their home. Art is crucial to this and often forgotten. Well-chosen art immediately elevates a space and whilst it can be borrowed from high profile galleries, it is better to ring-fence budget for this last stage of the project to ensure the design is truly showcased. We always spend time on the final dressing element, selecting key accessories to enhance the concept and ensuring it’s truly turnkey and best in class.
Image via Oliver Burns
  1. Choose good design over cost. In designing super-prime schemes, attention to detail needs to take precedence; it’s not just about what you see, it’s also what you don’t see. If the details aren’t perfect, the end result won’t be as strong and could even make the development difficult to sell. Standard super-prime features such as book-matched marble, bespoke joinery, statement lighting and architectural details will always be an investment. The finishes throughout must also be best in class and discerning buyers will notice if they’re not. This is the same for the common parts of a building such as the entrance and concierge areas. We believe the same price per square foot should be invested in these areas as the apartments themselves. The entrance is the first impression buyers get and they will often comment if these areas let the development down.
Image via Oliver Burns

10. Beyond commercial value.Whilst developments are ultimately about delivering commercial value, we must also remember that we are creating a home. Good design sits at the heart of this, giving new life to buildings, enhancing the local area, improving the quality of our lives and creating a legacy for future generations. All this goes beyond pure commercial value.


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