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Genius Loci

The spirit of place. Discover Holland Park’s history.

The term ‘genius loci’, meaning ‘spirit of place’, is used to describe the soul that inhibits certain buildings. Even as the world around them changes irrevocably. 

Second Home Holland Park is just such a building. 

Throughout the decades, daring creatives and innovators have lived and worked here. And you can feel their creative energy as soon as you walk through its doors.

In the 1960s it was the home and studio of legendary photographer John Cowan and supermodel Jill Kennington. Together they helped define an era of London, producing some of the decade’s most iconic images. 

Jill Kennington 1966. © David Lloyd

In 1966, the Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni shot his Palm d’Or winning film ‘Blow-Up’ here. It’s now widely regarded as part of the canon of great European cinema. 

© Blow-Up, 1967

Then came the 1970s and architect Richard Rogers, who having just co-designed the Pompidou Centre in Paris with Renzo Piano, moved in to house his fast-growing studio. 

 

Rogers and his team designed the Lloyds of London building and many other works while they were here. And also made a number of modifications to the space. 

 

For example, Rogers built the outdoor walkways leading from our Resident Space, which we’ve brought back into use. He also planted the vine you see in our courtyard.

 

 

Rogers’ creative fingerprints are elsewhere too. Take the staircase leading from the ground floor to the mezzanine, which was designed by a young architect working for Rogers. His name was David Chipperfield, and he went on to become one of the world’s most acclaimed architects, designing the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield amongst other award-winning projects. 

We studied many photographs from the 1980s in order to restore the staircase to its original colour scheme. And all the colours we’ve used throughout the building, refer in different ways to Rogers and his modernist agenda. 

We’re proud to be continuing the rich creative tradition at Holland Park. Bringing together West London’s most creative community, as well as a diverse programme of talks and events. We’re honoured to now be the ones writing a chapter in the history of this special building.

 

And hopefully strengthening it’s ‘genius loci’.

Work here.

Book a tour and our friendly team will tell you more.

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