The Pigment House
London Architecture firm, Unknown Works, has transformed a dark London townhouse into a well-connected and harmonious home that combines the practical needs of a family with an adventurous and creative exploration of materials.
Located on a challenging steep slope in North London, the house faced issues of dampness in its underground areas, with the living spaces on the ground floor dimly lit and lacking any views. Unknown Works re-imagined the outdoor area, carefully excavating and re-terracing the garden, permitting more natural light to enter the house whilst creating play areas for the children through a terraced landscape.
Drawing inspiration from the renowned Mexican designer Luis Barragán, the firm created a minimalist house with a consistent pink colour scheme. To achieve this, they infused the terraced walls and floors with pink pigments and applied natural clay plaster to finish the interior walls. This design choice was made to inject some much-needed cheerfulness to contrast London's typically gloomy skies.
When considering the outdoor alterations, Unknown Works landed on introducing a retaining wall that could be used as both a practical and creative architectural device. Around it, a multi-functional space evolved with walls, stairs, seating, and an outdoor kitchen with a barbecue area.
The most notable transformations occurred on the ground floor, where the conventional Victorian layout was opened out into a spacious living and dining area, removing the compartmentalised kitchen and sitting room.
A selection of mid-century and contemporary furniture from Scandinavian and Japanese manufacturers was incorporated to create distinct areas within the vast space. The Victorian bay area has been transformed into a cosy lounge with iconic designs from Robin Day, Mario Marenco, and Ronan Bouroullec, whilst the kitchen takes on a more refined appearance with the help of Maruni's Hiroshima Armchair. The overall result is a comfortable and inviting setting that can cater to various activities while still maintaining a sense of intimacy.
Unknown Works is a multidisciplinary creative studio based in London and Hong Kong, with projects ranging from architecture and urban design to exhibition design, installation art, graphics, and digital media. Their diverse portfolio reflects their interest in the human condition, cities, social and urban environments, and space distribution.