Over in Mayfair, 12 Hay Hill is another space for socialising and hiding away from the city bustle, but the 1,800sq m club places a much stronger emphasis on functionality for businesses. 12 Hay Hill has taken the traditional members' club, its exclusivity and indulgence, and brought it into the present, where city life constantly blurs the boundaries between work and leisure. Located in one of the leading business locations in the world, the club cum office space, provides its international business members the chance to enjoy a physical presence in Mayfair without the commitment of long-term leases. Situated on the corner of Berkeley Square and Hay Hill, the site comprises three floors of rented office space, hi-tech meeting rooms with full conferencing facilities, flexible lounge with hotdesking space, two bar and dining areas, a gym and cigar terrace.
International design practice Architects of Invention (AI) has designed the space and solved the site complexities with the creation of simple but elegant movable parts. Partitions were used on each floor to shape the space – all can be easily moved in order to change the dynamics of the different areas. The felt partitions are used for acoustic functions and to display changing artworks, becoming both a visual and unifying element of the space. "The varieties of felt and also the different shades of grey [referenced] the business suit and we felt that the business public would appreciate this kind of look," explain AI. "We tried to minimise the use of materials so that the details unify [the space] but at the same time they create a variety of uses". For AI, the success and enjoyment of the project were largely based on the clever use of the partitions, the limited materials palette and the "discovery of the singular elements which could form the entire interior", proving that a modern club design can be sustainable and economic. The geometry of the ornamental floor patterns brings further unity to the space while the marble bars, array of feature lighting and bronze details add a sense of drama – even on the more limited budget of £3m. "In the beginning we thought of the typical use of brass in luxury spaces, especially bringing a residential feel to it". "Brass and warm colours give the right accent to the space and accessories." For AI, the luxurious feature furniture and the almost stage like lighting used throughout the club convey the theatrical nature of conducting business. The Lounge is the most practical and flexible of the spaces, where members can be seen in conversation with one another or working privately, thanks to mixed-use zones and seating options. "We designed it as a gallery, so the partitions can be moved away, you can put on an installation or a talk, you can refigure it and make it a singular meeting space in the middle". It's a great touch that the lighting can also be moved, adapting to the different functions of the space. Hay Hill is a club for business members, social members – and every combination of the two. The club provides style, opulence and a prime location, and the design promotes mixed use of its spaces. "I think that the more diverse a space, the more comfortable that people feel". "The mind works more freely in different spaces."