Savoir Designs at Jørn Utzon-designed Ahm House
Discover the story of how two of our timeless designs came to life at the award-winning architect-designed Ahm House, an hour outside of London.
Known for gathering inspiration from the environment surrounding his designs, Utzon’s architectural style can’t quite be categorised. His most known project, the Sydney Opera House, is a great example of this. Compared to the Bagsværd Church, located on the outskirts of Copenhagen, the two buildings could not be more different. And whilst most architects focus on creating their own signature style, Utzon focused on working with the environment and creating works that proudly stand on their own.
Perhaps one of the most architecturally notable buildings in the UK, Ahm House brilliantly showcases Utzon’s use of the environment, architectural skills, and appreciation for space. By putting himself in the user’s shoes, he executed their vision, whilst staying true to his background as an architect. Built-in the early 60s, the house stood the test of time, through its timeless design and use of natural materials.
Although five years ago, it was refurbished to reflect the new owners’ lives and needs, the London-based Coppin Dockray ensured the mid-century modern soul of the house remained intact. The studio instead rejuvenated the space with eye-catching moments, carefully crafted elements and intriguing tones.
On a gloomy January day, we had the pleasure of visiting Ahm House, along with two of our house designs – Holly and Winston. Tall windows crafted in pale oak against brutalist features and concrete beams are just some of the treasures that awaited us inside.
Extended across two floors, the house is built against a slope, seamlessly attaching itself to its shape, creating something of an optical illusion. Its top floor stretches across lush greenery. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow the daylight to flood the interior, even on a grey winter day.
Our approach was to work to highlight the visceral character of the house, to draw attention to the fine material qualities, the shifting play of light on the interior surfaces and to allow the house to be experienced in a simple, intuitive way.
Because of its versatility, our Holly design was photographed in two spaces in the house. Situated amongst oak walls in the dining area, its linen upholstery created an exciting dialogue of natural materials. The soft concoction of delicate tones and earth hues was a minimalist’s dream. Very often, when we think of a calming space, we envision an all-white, bright room. Interestingly, those pale and moody tones, inspired by earth’s fauna, are a much better choice for creating a relaxing space. They allow our eyes to rest so that the mind can follow.
The design is upholstered in Mark Alexander’s stonewashed linen. Presenting beautifully intricate slubs, which are the natural imperfections of this organic material. Dotted across the fabric like romantic little freckles, the slubs add a certain element of charm to the design. A piped edge and undulating buttoning create a softly textured headboard, as the base remains understated, upholstered in the same fabric.
When moved into the lounge, our Holly became the focal point against the pale-yellow Aylesbury brick wall. Each room of the Ahm House is in no shortage of eye-catching details. Exposed concrete beams pair against mid-century modern timber detailing, while minimal white floor tiles tie the entire design into an unexpectedly warm, and cohesive home.
The design is paired with our Nº3 bed set, paying homage to natural, restorative slumber. Luxurious loose horse tail, carefully hand-teased and encased in our trademark Trellis ticking makes the Nº3 mattress decadently soft. Independent hourglass springs add movement and comfort to the base, gently cushioning the contour of the sleeper’s body. While layers of wool and cotton add softness and breathability, resulting in a truly rejuvenating rest.
Our Winston design was photographed at the opposite end of the lounge. Sat between the Aylesbury brick and the wall of light coming in through the windows, its cognac upholstery instantly warmed up the room. Paired with our Savoir Slim base, which is created using the same time-honoured techniques and materials as our iconic Nº2 bed set, but adapted into a slimmer, more modern size. Although the design pairs well with all our bed sets, a slimmer base allows its signature headboard to take centre stage.
The design is upholstered in Whistler’s organic leather in a brown tone, which beautifully showcases the natural markings of leather. Resembling storytelling scars, these delicate lines run across the headboard and base. Accentuated with angular, metal legs in a brass finish, which reflect even the slightest glimmer of light, adding an exciting layer of visual intrigue.
Drawing inspiration from geometric 70s patterns, the back of its headboard nods to the return of organic shapes and earth tones, with a playful attitude. Created by Casamance, the Nelson fabric harmoniously combines lines and curves.
Both designs are dressed in our Drift Pure Cotton Percale bed linen. Its crisp, matte appearance complements the organic design and materials of the beds. Available in a range of thread counts, this collection is perfect for warmer sleepers.
Taking over two years to build in the early 60s, the Ahm House is a one-of-a-kind property. The continuous juxtaposition of tall windows and industrial materials guarded by whimsical greenery creates an otherworldly effect. It’s almost hard to believe that this setting, fitting for a backdrop of a modern fairy tale, is located just an hour outside of London.