Put your stamp on a slice of London’s industrial history
dustrial and communications centre. Last year, taking advantage of its prime position between Farringdon and Clerkenwell in central London, Royal Mail sold off a 6.25-hectare slice for redevelopment. It remains the biggest ever land deal in central London, and the depot continues to function. The new owner, Taylor Wimpey, is now building Postmark, a huge scheme with more than 680 homes.
“Postmark not only has a wonderful industrial heritage, it’s where two postcodes, WC1 And EC1, meet,” says Mary O’Brien, head of sales for Taylor Wimpey London. “So, bridging them feels like the last piece of a puzzle is being put in place.”
Apartments range from studios to three-bedroom homes and, with 35 per cent of phase one already sold, prices start at £900,000. In addition to commercial and retail space, the development will have a residents’ gym, a cinema, a private dining room and a courtyard, plus access to several roof terraces.
The location couldn’t be better, within a mile radius are Euston, St Pancras and King’s Cross stations, as well as Blackfriars and the City. Vibrant Exmouth Market is just around the corner, and it’s a short hop to Bloomsbury in one direction and Farringdon in the other.
The east-London-meets-west theme has been taken up by the site’s interior design team, Conran and Partners. Buyers can choose between two interior decor palettes, explains Simon Kincaid, director at the firm. Each one is inspired by a different aspect of London. “We didn’t want a clichéd look, but to reflect how West End tradition meets the edgy, bohemian feel of east London,” he says. “Buyers can choose a polished, luxe effect or one that’s more matt and industrial.”
The West palette is opulent, with its wooden floors, dark-grey walls and deep-blue kitchen units. While feeling warm and cosy, it also has the atmosphere of a high-end hotel. Accessories such as kitchen taps and cabinet door handles are in polished chrome. The bathrooms, with grey tiles and chrome fixtures, are sleek but warmed by the dark timber vanity units. Conran and Partners’ design for the West apartments also includes a midnight-blue velvet headboard in the master bedroom, which adds to the luxurious feel but doesn’t come as standard. “The West palette has richer colours and a sophisticated look,” says Kincaid.
For those who want a younger, edgier vibe, the East palette has your name on it. It’s a brighter, lighter look with white kitchen units, matt worktops and pale wood flooring. Bathrooms have the same industrial-look tiles as the West palette in white, and fittings, such as taps and shower heads, are in sleek matt black. “It’s a bit more contemporary,” says Kincaid. “Light, industrial, cleaner.”
Conran and Partners also aimed to incorporate the history of the original Royal Mail architecture into the look. The edges of the kitchen and bathroom cabinets in all apartments have a stepped feature that mimics the exterior edges of the art deco-style depot building across the road. Wine racks and bathroom cabinets have been created to a bespoke design in warm, dark wood to remind users of post office pigeon holes, where mail would be sorted and stored.
The locally inspired ethos also runs through the communal areas, with the cinema mimicking the sumptuous look of a West End theatre. By contrast, the gym has a grittier, urban edge, which includes rubber flooring and polishedplaster wall finishes. Unlike many newbuilds in London, Postmark will have a brick facade to blend in with the surrounding buildings.
“We don’t design in a bubble,” says Kincaid. “It’s about how the exterior and interior architecture talk to each other, the rich local history, the community and its residents, it all provides inspiration.”
Royal Mail isn’t pulling out of Mount Pleasant altogether: the original, historic sorting office will continue to operate across the road, although inside Postmark there’s no sense of disruption. “We have a good relationship with Royal Mail,” says O’Brien, “and I think people have an affection for the postal service. It’s an institution.
“With Postmark, we’ll be creating a new neighbourhood. It’s a chance for us to put our stamp on the landscape of central London.”
Right, an apartment kitted out in the West design palette, which starts from £900,000; inside the Mount Pleasant sorting office, below and left