Oliver Burns: New Belvedere House

by Jennifer Hamilton in News & Noteworthy

Oliver Burns has brought a touch of Thoughtful Luxury to a charity hostel in East London, using colour psychology and luxurious elements to create a nurturing sanctuary-like interior for this unique project.

The award-winning architectural interior design and development practice known for its high-end, luxury residences has turned its unique talents to transforming a hostel for the homeless. Oliver Burns have used the skills of their team to redesign and refurbish the living areas of New Belvedere House, a hostel run by charity Veterans Aid, one of the UK’s leading charities helping armed forces veterans in crisis. Last year it dealt with 3,400 calls for help, and provided 21,300 nights of accommodation, helping those in need to get back on their feet. This hostel, therefore, has the important responsibility to provide a warm, welcoming environment that gives residents a sense of place. Funded, designed and implemented entirely by interiors practice Oliver Burns, its newly redesigned communal areas aim to support and instill pride in its residents using colour psychology and subtle injections of luxury.

“Veterans Aid has an unparalleled success rate in breaking the cycle of crisis through its ‘hand up not hand out’ approach,” says Joe Burns, Managing Director of the Oliver Burns interior design practice.

“It took just one visit to know this project could make an enormous difference. The message it sends is that they are worth it.”


According to Burns, the design concept envisioned a calming, peaceful space, that was still grown up and masculine.

Two large communal areas have been redefined into four areas, a lounge, entertainment space, relaxation and reading area, giving flexibility for residents to relax and socialise. The scheme throughout is a mixture of calm beige and grey tones, with rich purples and dark woods added in key areas. Flooring alternates between dark wood and carpet to delineate sections, and create different atmospheres.

The lounge area is cosy yet sophisticated, centred around a large statement wall clock. Sofas are upholstered in a shimmering pale grey fabric with crisp blue piping, and dotted with soft velvet cushions in teal and royal blue, while armchairs are covered in a Nina Campbell herringbone textile. Elements of zingy brights, such as the yellow metal tray tables, cushion piping and throws, bring freshness and modernity, as do the flashes of high-shine metal on the radiators, side tables and quirky Philip Watts Trafalgar door handles that adorn the cabinet doors.

A feature wall of subtly textured purple wallpaper brings the space together, and according to theories on colour psychology used by Oliver Burns, relates to independence and luxury. Head of Design Katia Perez explains “Purple is used because it has a sense of spirituality and strengthens dignity and wisdom, and blue brings down human metabolism and lowers blood pressure, hence why it is relaxing and calming, while dark blue is associated with loyalty.” Yellow accents are used because of the colour’s intrinsic associations with sunshine and energy; it is also said to stimulate intellect.

Linked to this is the entertainment space, featuring one the projects standout items – a snooker table donated by Ringo Starr (Main picture). Oliver Burns had this re-felted in deep blue to fit with the rest of the scheme, giving an extra level of luxury. Nearby stands a Giant 1227 Anglepoise floor lamp, another feature piece.

The conservatory is a bright and airy space, filled with natural light and embellished with citrus colours. Industrial-style Tolix A chairs in yellow, green and stainless steel sit around a table made from reclaimed wood and raw steel, where residents can play board games and cards.

On the opposite side of the conservatory is a more intimate space where residents can relax, read and chat. Built-in Zebrano wood cabinetry houses books and other possessions to add a personal touch; artwork given by the residents has also been framed and hung throughout, to make residents feel at home.

This project is testament to the impact of surroundings on one’s psyche. It is hoped this environment will not only support residents by making them feel settled and at home, but also help to boost their self-esteem, inspire confidence and set them back on track.

Oliver Burns – www.oliverburns.com

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