Bespoke Fibrous Plaster Ceiling Design for Albert Hall Mansions

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This Grade II listed redbrick mansion block opposite the Royal Albert Hall in Knightsbridge was completed in 1879 to the designs of Norman Shaw, architect of New Scotland Yard and the prestigious Bedford Park Estate in Chiswick. Its claim to fame is as the first mansion block ever built, as apartment buildings (or tenements) up to that time were used to house the poor. The speculative project was a success, and the mansion block became desirable for the bright young things of the time.

The brief:

The ceiling of the sizeable entrance hall and the wall panelling throughout the building’s communal areas needed to be refurbished, requiring new designs along with recreating existing patterns.

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In house plasterwork design and creation…

The expansive ceiling heights and period features of the mansion block deserved some exquisitely detailed plaster patterns. We worked closely with the client, who wanted a classic design for the entrance hall ceiling, and came to us with an armful of concept images from books and the internet as mood boards. We designed most of the work from scratch, drawing on a variety of mouldings from our archive that could be adapted and used together in different ways to fit their taste.

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Around 80% of the ceiling was put on by hand, including dressing on all the swags and drops, bell flowers and bows, palmettes and acanthus leaves, some diminishing with size and spaced out by hand for a perfect fit. We worked closely with an electrician to install discreet spotlights in the ceiling, tweaking our design to fit them cleverly into the ceiling pattern to make them barely noticeable.
We restored the existing cornice which was in a poor state of repair, knitting existing plaster with new recreated Georgian mouldings, and similarly treated the wall panels throughout all the building’s communal areas.
A lovely old building brought back to life.

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