Cool, contemporary & consistent

The set of oak wardrobes also incorporates the semi-circular theme

Residential renovations specialist, Francisco Sutherland Architects, was recently approached by a private client to refurbish the interiors of their ultra-modern penthouse duplex in Frobisher Crescent, Barbican, London.

What began as a simple redesign of the property’s bathrooms quickly evolved into an ambitious project, including floor replacement, designing bespoke oak wardrobes, and specifying a new kitchen. At the heart of the brief was the aim to achieve a cool, contemporary and consistent aesthetic, with an uncompromising focus on quality.

As lead architect, Ana Francisco Sutherland, explains, “The client, rightly, expected excellence throughout the space, which led us to source only premium fixtures, fitting and finishes. Product selection is a challenging process, and attention to detail was crucial. It was from here we started to collaborate with partners who had a reputation of providing the very best in their category. This included James Latham (Lathams), whose incredible knowledge of decorative materials helped achieve the desired outcomes.”

As a leading UK distributor of high-quality architectural materials, from this initial engagement, Lathams played a central role in the project, recommending suitable materials for the bespoke wardrobes – in this case, Decospan Veneered Panels.


The ambitious project includes floor replacement, designing bespoke oak wardrobes and specifying a new kitchen

Style & substance

Exploring the architect’s design proposition further, a semi-circular theme was developed to evoke the shape of Frobisher Crescent, complemented with a subtle palate of greys and whites, accentuated with features in warming oak and walnut.

One unique element, central to the design, was a set of oak wardrobes built into the apartment’s master bedroom. Designed to an exacting set of dimensions, Sutherland realised she’d need to work with a material that achieved the look and feel of oak, but which is lighter and easier to work with.

She approached Lathams, where the expert specification team was able to identify a perfect solution: Decospan Querkus Oak Natural. A Lathams UK exclusive, Decospan’s responsibly-sourced Querkus range combines an MDF core with natural timber veneers to produce a panel, which offers a real oak finish, at a fraction of the weight and carbon cost. Furthermore, it has lower long-term maintenance requirements and greater adaptability for future modification.


Decospan Querkus Oak Natural veneered panels were used to make the bespoke wardrobes

Surpassing her requirements, Sutherland adds: “The finish achieved on the wardrobes is incredible. I was particularly impressed with the veneer’s quality, authentic surface feel and how well-bonded it is to the MDF core. Furthermore, the uniformity of the graining has allowed us to achieve a curvaceous consistency, fluidity and rigidity, which would’ve been near-impossible with solid oak timber.”

In conclusion, focusing on Lathams involvement with the project, Specification Manager Debbie Northall says: “Francisco Sutherland Architects’ team came to us with a very clear, specific vision of how they wanted the space to look. Exclusive to Lathams in the UK, Decospan is a long-time partner and its products are of the highest quality, both in terms of looks and performance, making them a natural choice for this project. It’s yet another example of how we’re helping UK specifiers find materials, which offer the right fit for their requirements.”

To find out more about Lathams’ unrivalled catalogue of decorative materials, visit its Digital Showroom – – a powerful new platform to enhance product selection.