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.