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The Best of Both Worlds

21.12.20

Combining classical elegance with an international flavour, gives architectural and interior design company, Millier, a unique edge. Julia Millen spoke to co-founders Alexandra Nord and Helen Westlake about their latest commission, one of the capital’s most illustrious new addresses - Regent’s Crescent

  • When was Millier established?

We set-up the company in 2010, so this is our 10-year anniversary. Helen and I worked together at a previous consultancy and we soon realised we had a really strong connection, both from a design and business perspective. From the start, we’ve always been driven to provide clients with a tailored, personalised service; something we are able to fulfil at Millier. We enjoy being hands-on with all of our projects. We’re a medium sized business with just 15 employees, so we’re able able to foster that close interaction. Millier offer the full suite of services, with a dedicated team of chartered architects, as well as interior designers. So much of the preliminary planning and scoping of a project affects the finished result, so it’s really rewarding to be able to follow the design process through from concept to completion.

  • How would you describe your style?

Classic International. London Luxe isn’t really us. We’re probably more influenced by global trends. I think the multi-cultural nature of our team reflects this. We’ve spent quite a lot of time in South Africa. The clean line accents of their design templates have filtered down into some of our more recent projects.

  • Where do you find inspiration?

We try to be contextual, so each project is approached on a case-by-case basis. We look at where the building is located, the history attached to it and we then try to think about the creative inspiration around it, rather than being too literal. For Regent’s Crescent, we referenced the period, but we didn’t just look at Regency architecture per se. We tried to establish what was actually going on at that point in history and draw inspiration from that.

When dressing the show home, we allowed ourselves to be open to points of difference. The Regency period was one of great enlightenment. Societies and industries such as The Royal Horticultural Society and Saville Row were flourishing, so we took inspiration from this rich backdrop by layering style accents, incorporating textured upholstery, statement lighting and accessories. We also dressed the apartment with curiosities; a nod to the emergence of international travel and the seminal discoveries of the period.

  • What do you particularly enjoy about working on period properties?

It has to be the ceiling height and the generous proportions. Old buildings have such a wonderful bone structure.

  • What’s unique about Regent’s Crescent?

It’s quite a privilege to be able to influence the interiors of a listed building. I think everyone was rather amazed by just how much freedom we were given. For example, the original living space had three beautiful arched windows, but we were able to increase that number to six, because we could still use the heritage façade. The interior layout is now flooded with natural light.

Having the architectural arm of the business means we can be very technical in our approach. We strongly believe that good design is achieved when key style elements and the latest technologies fuse at the creative concept stage. We have spent a great deal of time on the architectural detailing for this project; for example, we have cornices in the reception rooms which emulate the John Nash originals. Within those casements, we’ve managed to integrate concealed lighting, so we have beautiful perimeter mood lighting – something you would only expect to see in a more contemporary property. The combination of enchanting and historical importance, outstanding original design, and remarkable location make it a very rare and special residential offering in the capital.

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