Abandoned warehouses and factories are dotted all across London – relics of a golden industrial age. Technological advances and the outsourcing of production work to developing countries has seen many of these buildings left to decay, but others have seen new life breathed into them.
While unloved by some and often magnets for the darker side of the capital, much of east London, historically a manufacturing and shipping hub, has managed to cut a new figure by bringing in creative communities. Whitechapel, Mile End, Bow and Bethnal Green have all emerged as desirable postcodes for edgy youngsters wanting a taste of real city living.
Private developers have been at the forefront revitalising these areas, creating a rich seam of cultural hotspots pulsing through the capital. Take the former industrial area which is now a vibrant artist colony. Affordable rents and large workspaces in abandoned warehouses attracted designers and artists.
More broadly, East London received a major facelift from the 2012 Olympics and that regeneration has continued to spread out. Bethnal Green is one of London’s most diverse and vibrant districts and these historic factories and warehouses that once housed textiles are being turned into stylish modern apartments.
Dressage Court is one of these. We transformed what was two warehouses into 104 new brand new homes for rent. While the old buildings are no longer here, their character remains. The exposed brick facade and rugged exterior transition into clean and chic interiors, which champion the arty, industrial aesthetic of East London – complete with polished concrete floors and exposed pipework.
From City workers to hipster creatives and young families, there is a home for everyone. Spacious one to three bed flats sit alongside a range of communal space, including a rooftop garden packed with space to grow food – or simply feed your tan – with mesmerising views of Canary Wharf and the City. On the ground floor there is a bar-style games room, while the more studious can head down the hall to a quiet spot to work or relax.
Back to the Future
Fundamentally, redevelopments of old industrial buildings allow neighbourhoods to preserve history and character while providing much needed new homes. Amid the endless repetition of glass-and-steel, new buildings with historic character are a welcome sight.
Too many developments in cities today are towering structures with very little charm. London is an innovative and forward-thinking city but it is also has a classical charm that tourists from around the world flock to see. It is London’s ability to recycle and reuse its history that makes it stand out from its peers, and that’s why at Dressage Court we’ve taken inspiration from the past while mixing in the latest design trends.