Anti-inflammatory living is paramount for wealthy clients just about everywhere. “We’re designing in special boxes for phone charging that eliminate any possibility of radiation, sourcing materials as locally as possible, and designing out anything that requires glues, carpets containing any plastic fibre – all the obvious things. But a new request has been for a tea cellar, rather than the usual whiskey cabinet,” he says.
(Nevertheless cars remain important, and the most expensive properties at 1508’s project at Mandarin Oriental Residences on Wilshire Boulevard in LA project will feature, “parking for eight cars, in a discreet zone, with an adjacent area for hanging out with friends, in a glass-fronted space, so you can see your Bugatti and have a good time.”)
For another home in Chelsea, Brown says that the priority is separate temperature controls on either side of the marital bed, where the husband needs cooler air than his wife. “We’re working on that one.”
“Sleep is the big thing,” agrees Simon Rawlings, the creative director at David Collins Studio, which has famously created homes for everyone from Madonna to Gywneth Paltrow, as well as restaurants and hotels – most recently the new Nobu Hotel in London’s Portman Square (which opened for just days before the first lockdown).
“It’s quite usual to have a sleeping room next to a work room, so if you work late into the night you don’t have to wake your partner when you go to bed. Is it called a Snore Room, or did I make that up?,” jokes Rawlings. Along with infra-red saunas being installed with some regularity, there’s also the prevalence of The Mirror – the $1,500 integrated digital fitness tool that, like a Peloton bike, comes with a programme of classes.
But Rawlings believes the real emphasis now, is on the kitchen area. “Even in the larger houses [10,000 sq ft, just so you know], it is becoming part of the dining room. It makes sense – people are more interested in what they eat than ever before. Angela Hartnett is a good friend and we always hang out in her kitchen,” he says. “People really enjoy the show that is food preparation. When we did the Food Halls in Harrods, we brought that right to the fore.”