Salters' Hall, Sir Basil Spence and John S Bonnington Partnership, London 1976 © Heartbrut / Karin Hunter Bürki

SALTERS’ HALL

SIR BASIL SPENCE AND JOHN S BONNINGTON PARTNERSHIP, LONDON 1976

© Heartbrut.com / Karin Hunter Bürki

The futuristically elegant columnar structure was designed for The Salters Company, an ancient livery company in the City of London. The post-blitz hall connects the seemingly polar opposites of brutalism and a 600-year-old history of ritual and tradition with unflinching aplomb and finesse. The building’s exterior in white concrete and intricate, bush-hammered patterns references the building’s historical links with the salt trade.

Salters’ Hall was Spence’s last work – he had beaten no less than modernist luminary Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to the job. But his deteriorating health meant the concept was completed by John S Bonnington Partnership. David Hicks, whose geometric patterns and lavish colour scheme were very much en vogue at the time ( think “The Shining” carpet), was entrusted with the interior design. His most notable contributions include the honeycomb-patterned carpets and the “salt lobby” on the fifth floor.

In 2016 the Grade II-listed building was carefully refurbished and extended by De Metz Forbes Knight Architects. The London practice added a new pavilion entrance, replacing what was originally a garage. The update has been widely lauded as a success.

Salters' Hall, Sir Basil Spence and John S Bonnington Partnership, London 1976 © Heartbrut / Karin Hunter Bürki
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