The Ground Floor Project

Winners Announced

  • Exterior Shot: 11 Waterloo Place
  • Visualisation: 12 Charles II Street

The Architecture Foundation is delighted to be working with The Crown Estate to commission two emerging designers to create bespoke artworks for the lobby spaces of two landmark buildings within the St James’s neighbourhood of central London.

Entitled The Ground Floor Project, this competitive process saw a shortlist of six designers propose ideas for new art commissions inspired by this unique part of central London. Celebrating St James’s’ links to high-end tailors, merchants and craftsmen, the designers were asked to produce designs that highlight and draw from the traditions of making in this historic area. Selected through a nomination process the shortlisted creative practitioners are: Formafantasma, Simon Hasan, Lola Lely, Philippe Malouin, RCKa and Faye Toogood.

Taking place as part of the wider regeneration of St James’s, which is being carried out by The Crown Estate, this project marked a move to engage with new talent and create specially designed commissions that will add vibrancy and character to the entry spaces to these newly refurbished historic properties.

The designers were asked to respond to a detailed brief to propose unique pieces for the two reception areas of 12 Charles II Street and 11 Waterloo Place. Both landmark properties in the regeneration of St James’s, the two buildings have been chosen for redevelopment to better serve the burgeoning business, retail and culinary communities that this area attracts.

Lola Lely and RCKa were selected as the winning designs in early 2014 by a prestigious jury including Wallpaper* Editor-in-Chief Tony Chambers; independent collector and St James’s resident Niall Hobhouse; Crafts Council Executive Director Rosy Greenlees; and Hannah Parham, an Associate at Insall Architects, historic advisors to The Crown Estate.

The experts who nominated practices for consideration for this commission were: Drue Heinz Curator of Architecture at the Royal Academy Kate Goodwin; independent curator Jane Withers; Claire Catterall, Director of Exhibitions and Learning at Somerset House Trust; London Design Festival Deputy Director Max Fraser; and Eric Parry, Director of Eric Parry Architects, who is both a Trustee of The Architecture Foundation and architect of the critically acclaimed One Eagle Place on Piccadilly.

More about our shortlisted designers:


Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin are Studio Formafantasma – two Italian designers based in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The collaboration between the two started during their BA in communication design, illustrating books and magazines. Their interest in product design developed on the IM masters course at Design Academy Eindhoven, where they graduated in July 2009 with a thesis based on traditional Sicilian folk craft. Formafantasma's work explores such issues as the role of design in folk craft, the relationship between tradition and local culture, critical approaches to sustainability and the significance of objects as cultural conduits. They identify their role as the bridge between craft, industry, object and user and seek to stimulate a more critical and conceptual design dialogue through their work. 

Simon Hasan

Simon Hasan works in the territory between ancient crafts processes and industrial design. His work is imbued with a richness and texture borne from the use of techniques and materials from these two worlds. Simon’s approach can best be described as a type of Design Archaeology - a combination of historical research and hands-on material experimentation. The goal is to nurture compelling and relevant outcomes for any given context. Avoiding a particular aesthetic style, Simon’s distinctive work often layers materials, processes and textures to create long-lasting objects with a story to tell. Equally comfortable with designing for the one- or the one-thousand, Hasan’s work is exhibited and sold internationally, including his eponymous furniture & accessories label. He has been a Designer in Residence at the London Design Museum and was featured in a 2012 V&A publication celebrating a new generation of British design talent. His mannequins for Fendi won a Wallpaper* design award in 2012 and his work is in the permanent collections of the British Crafts Council and Fondazione Fendi. Simon Hasan is a Design Products platform tutor at the Royal College of Art. 

Lola Lely

Lola Lely is a Furniture and Product designer living and working in East London. From an early age she developed a curiosity for how things are made, and she believes that making is a form of thinking. Drawing, making and the explicit connections between narrative, material, process and maker are all central to Lola's practice.  Her work is process and narrative-based, which means that often, if there is an outcome it is in the form of an event rather than just a product, a resting point rather than an end point. Lola likes to work in interdisciplinary environments where new ideas are forged and knowledge is exchanged. She has collaborated with various artists and experts on a variety of different projects, including an anthropologist, a weaver, a chef, an engineer, a master patineur, a storyteller and a silversmith. Lola graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2012 on the Design Products MA course.

Philippe Malouin

 Canadian Philippe Malouin holds a bachelor’s degree in Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven. He has also studied at the École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle in Paris and University of Montreal. He lives and works in London where he set up his studio in 2009 after working for English designer Tom Dixon. He is also the director of POST-OFFICE, the architectural and interiors design practice. His diverse portfolio includes tables, rugs, chairs, lights, art objects and installations. Recently Philippe won the W Hotels ‘Designer of the Future’ Award and the Wallpaper ‘Best Use of Material’ Award. Philippe Lives and works in London, where he operates his design studio, he also teaches platform 18 alongside Sarah van Gameren at the Royal College of Arts.


RCKa was formed in 2008 by Tim Riley, Russell Curtis and Dieter Kleiner following a win the Europan 9 international housing competition, and is based in a studio in central London. The practice is currently working on a range of community, residential and commercial buildings for both private and public sector clients. RCKa has an interest in community-centric design, involving local people in all aspects of the design process to create architecture which is socially responsive, engaging and meaningful to those who use and experience it. Recent projects include a new home for the Open Eye photographic gallery on Liverpool's historic waterfront which the Financial Times described as "clean but intimate, discreet yet dynamic" and TNG Youth Centre in Lewisham, which was finalist for the Best Public Building in the 2013 New London Architecture Awards. The practice currently has numerous commissions of varying sizes, including a £10m new-build community hub in Norwich, the refurbishment of an existing youth centre in Lewisham and a range of private and affordable residential schemes. RCKa was recently announced as a finalist for Young Architect of the Year for the second time.

Faye Toogood

Faye Toogood is a British designer. Her furniture and objects demonstrate a preoccupation with materiality and experimentation. All of her pieces are handmade by small-scale fabricators and traditional artisans, with an honesty to the rawness and irregularity of the chosen material. With an academic training in the theory and practice of fine art, and a vocational background at the forefront of the magazine industry, Toogood approaches product design with a singular and acutely honed eye. Her highly sculptural work, while showing an astute respect for the past, is derived from pure self-expression and instinct. Toogood’s objects are grouped together into her trademark numbered ‘Assemblages’. This allows her to avoid the formulaic, to experiment with the materials and processes that dominate her thinking at a particular time. With each Assemblage, she engages not only with the products themselves but also with the three-dimensional space in which they are exhibited, working across multiple disciplines to create a single body of work with an intuitive and unified narrative.