Uncommon Areas: How amenity spaces can add serious value to ultra-prime schemes

It is the common areas and amenity spaces where sales will be won and lost for London’s new breed of super-prime residential developments, says Mathew Dalby, Creative Director of The Studio at Harrods. Developers need to up their game to create extraordinary environments that exceed expectations and add real value for residents.

A quick glance across London’s rooftops and you can’t help but notice the sheer number of cranes on the skyline. Reconstruction and development is back in full swing with 263 towers proposed, approved or under construction within greater London.

London is ever-changing, and the way people want to live and interact with the city is in a constant state of evolution. Investors and residents now look beyond the modern kitchen, large bathroom, en-suite and large open floor plan to entice them. Today, people expect amenities and common areas that rival top international hotels.

With competition for buyers increasing, developers have to continually up their game to diversify the USPs of their developments. They have to hone their understanding of what makes their target market tick, whilst creating new and dynamic methods of attracting fresh demographics to their developments. It is the amenity spaces where the sales will be lost and won. They are also where you can set the tone for the development and ultimately cultivate particular kinds of communities.

If we are truly creating the like-minded communities of tomorrow then we have to understand what draws people in, and provide accordingly. It is not about the size of your indoor pool or your state of the art Technogym equipped health club. It is about understanding the needs of your residents. It’s no longer out of the question to provide a rock climbing wall, yoga studio or dog grooming parlor.

  • The Versace-designed children’s play area in Damac’s Aykon Nine Elms scheme:


Amenity spaces shouldn’t be thought of as a series of tick boxes to justify the management fee, or to keep up with the competition. Instead listen to your target market and create interior spaces that they will love spending time in. Make them dynamic; give the resident a sense of ownership. Send them out to work in the morning inspired and make them proud to come home every night. The Oceana Bal Harbour in South Florida is taking this idea one step further by offering each of its residents part ownership in two pieces of New-York artist Jeff Koons’ work (pictured below). I’d like to see a London developer offer their residents a chance to co-own an Emin or Hirst piece. London’s market is ready for something game changing!

To most people who can afford to live in one of London’s luxury residential developments, their most prized asset is time. Offer amenities that make the most of their leisure time, and deliver unique, money can’t buy experiences. Build high end, commercial grade, communal kitchens and offer residents the opportunity to dine with London’s top chefs for exclusive evenings. Don’t just build wine tasting rooms or cellars, why not create a space where London’s top mixologists and sommeliers can host special events?

Amenities spaces are the setting within which communities are made, memories are generated and a developer’s long lasting legacy can be forged. Make them delightful, meaningful, thoughtful and memorable.

  • Jeff Koons’ artworks at The Oceana Bal Harbour in South Florida: Ballerina (above) and Pluto and Prosperpina (below):

Jeff Koons BallerinaJeff Koons Pluto and Prosperpina

Mathew Dalby is Creative Director of The Studio at Harrods