May 8, 2018

No.12 Fashions Women Professionals a Room of Their Own in London

The sunlit reading alcove offers respite from communal spaces. Photography by Tina Hillier.

It’s impossible to envision an all-women’s space without harking back to the seemingly immortal words of Virginia Woolf: “A woman must have money and a room of her own.” Recently, for Katie Earl and Emma Rayner of East London–based architecture and design studio No.12, it was time to make this “room”—actually, make that rooms—a reality.

The AllBright, which opened on International Women’s Day this year, is an all-women’s private club geared towards networking and professional development. The designers have allocated each section of the club to a different function meant to benefit AllBright members in some way, whether that means fostering relationships or growing businesses. And from the bar’s brassy accents to the unfussy sophistication of private reading nooks, all five floors boast the most elegant in contemporary design, complemented by the building’s Georgian wainscoting, fireplaces, and molding.

Classic Georgian wainscoting contrasts with such modern elements as hairpin leg armchairs. Photography by Tina Hillier.

For an all-women’s space, one color is conspicuously absent. “We consciously made the decision from the get-go to not include any pink, as we felt this is such an obvious and outdated presumption of women’s tastes,” the designers explain. “Our belief of the wants of a London-based professional woman is one of cool sophistication.”

Promoting female-led businesses informed how No.12 selected furnishings, too. “Our design approach was to source from trusted female designers and businesses as much as possible. We found furniture and accessories from Béton Brut and Sigma, Rebecca Willer and flowers by Abigail Ahern. The AllBright also worked with David Bowie’s art curator, Beth Greenacre, on the artwork selection, which comprises pieces entirely by female artists.”

A pedestal-style conference table seats 10. Photography by Tina Hillier.
The prosecco bar, which juxtaposes royal blue and shimmering brass, facilitates relaxation and socialization in equal measure. Photography by Tina Hillier.
Furnishings were sourced from female-led businesses. Photography by Tina Hillier.

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