Design Q&A on Cooper's Hill

1. What was your brief from Audley for the newest retirement village in Surrey?

Our brief was to design a beautiful and unique interior to complement the impressive Gothic, Victorian building, most recently known as Brunel University. Fully understanding our client’s vision is vital, though part of the process is interpreting the brief ourselves. We drew inspiration from the rich heritage of the site and the history of President’s Hall, soon to be named Cooper’s Hill House, which will form the hub of the development. Fixtures and fittings will combine an eclectic mix of classic, contemporary and timeless styles, remaining true to the Audley brand.

2. What was your personal vision for Cooper’s Hill?

My vision for Cooper’s Hill was to create a wow factor interior that exudes wealth, society and grandeur.

3. How does Cooper’s Hill complement the Magna Carta Park site?

Cooper’s Hill is at the heart of the Magna Carta Park site with an imposing listed building as its centrepiece, so it was important to us that the design of the interior flowed with the language of the existing architecture. Our colour palette complements the site, as rich, regal colours used in the interior reflect the historical period surrounding the Magna Carta. Olive greens have been used to echo both the influences of the second world war and the forestry studies introduced at the Royal Indian Engineering College; another previous use of this majestic building.

4. What has been your greatest challenge?

Filling the building with bespoke furniture and artwork worthy of being housed in such a magnificent environment, whilst staying within budget!

5. Has anything shocked you during the development and evolution of the site in Surrey?

The sheer scale of the building is breathtaking!

6. Could you see yourself living at Cooper’s Hill one day?

Absolutely! I can’t imagine anyone not aspiring to retire to such an exquisite development.

7. Describe Cooper’s Hill in 3 words

Striking, sumptuous, sublime

8. What makes Cooper’s Hill stand out to you as unique to other Audley villages?

The history, grandeur and scale of the site definitely makes Cooper’s Hill stand out - the long, elegant driveway creates an approach like no other. We create a unique style for every project we work on, always considering the history and site locality. It was especially interesting researching the unique history of Cooper’s Hill and learning about the vast array of people who have spent time passing through this resplendent building over the last two hundred years.

9. Do you have a favourite design piece?

The selection of portraits in the entrance hall ranging from the 1800s, carefully curated from Reading Museum. These unique pieces create an air of mystery and magic as one enters through the door, enhancing the elegant interior.

10. Tell us something quirky you have added?

When the building was Brunel University, it was the first school to have a library dedicated to forestry and botanics. The visually stimulating, digital leaf print wall covering adorning the chimney breast creates a not so literal botanical theme in the library. It definitely adds a quirky touch to the room.

11. One final question for you Jen... At Audley we pride ourselves on being exceptional. It’s all in the detail. If someone were looking to bring the Audley style to their existing home, is there a high street retailer you would recommend?

John Lewis would be the go-to for a broad and affordable range of styles or West Elm and Oliver Bonas for quirky accessories.

Opening autumn 2019, Cooper's Hill is Surrey's newest luxury retirement village, situated within the stunning Magna Carta Park development. Come and see this striking new retirement village for yourself.

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