Barbican apartment designed by John Pawson

John Pawson pares back Barbican apartment to "a state of emptiness"

British designer John Pawson has applied his signature minimalist aesthetic to a Barbican flat, which is simply arranged around a timber volume.

Set within London's brutalist Barbican estate, the apartment has been overhauled by John Pawson to feature pale surfaces and just a smattering of furnishings.

"The architectural reimagining of the space began with the idea of paring away everything to a state of emptiness and using three axes from the underlying structure to shape the new geometry," explained Pawson's studio.

Barbican flat designed by John Pawson
Barbican apartment designed by John Pawson

Prior to Pawson's redesign the apartment had contained a rabbit warren of rooms, which have been completely stripped back to create a singule open-plan living space.

At its centre is a large boxy volume crafted from bleached maple wood. It contains the apartment's kitchen, which features handleless white cabinetry, and a study area where the inhabitants can work from home.

Full-height cupboards have been integrated throughout so that personal belongings can be stowed away instead of cluttering the living spaces.

Barbican flat designed by John Pawson

The central volume also helps partially conceal the apartment's one bedroom – it was previously host to four.

A timber headboard and bedframe have been pushed up against an angled wall, directing sight lines to the surrounding cityscape.

Barbican flat designed by John Pawson

A Buddha figurine is displayed on a chunky marble plinth in the corner of the room, one of five personal items that the clients wanted to spotlight in their home.

It joins three artworks and a grandfather clock, all of which Pawson is hoping will serve as "waypoints" in the otherwise sparse interior.

Barbican flat designed by John Pawson

The other side of the central volume bears the living room, which is dressed with an oak wood-framed sofa and a coffee table topped with Carrera marble. These materials have also been used to craft a dining table that can be moved around different points of the apartment.

Surfaces throughout have been painted white, while the floor has been completed in grey as a subtle nod to the building's concrete exterior.

Barbican flat designed by John Pawson

Designing for over 30 years, John Pawson has in recent months created gallery-style interiors for an accessories store in Milan and produced a pared-back iteration of an oil lamp.

He joins a handful of designers and architects that have put their stamp on the renowned Barbican flats – back in 2017, Emulsion updated a triplex apartment on the estate to include a mezzanine level and walls painted in Corbusier-inspired colours.

Azman Architects also refreshed a one-bedroom apartment on the estate with colourful zigzag carpet and sliding cherry wood partitions.

Photography is by Gilbert McCarragher.

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Barbican apartment designed by John Pawson
Barbican apartment designed by John Pawson