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

© Images & Text: Karin Hunter Bürki / HEARTBRUT

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This futuristically elegant building was designed for The Salters Company, an ancient livery company in the City of London. The mid-seventies 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 its historical links with the salt trade.

Salters’ Hall was Sir Basil 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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