Bella Freud and Maria Speake of Retrouvius unveil joint interiors project

Trailblazing the 1970s revival with their Television Centre penthouse apartment, this duo are the crowned queens of cool

Maria Speake of Retrouvius and Bella Freud at Television Centre
Michael Sinclair

While some designers may still be courting curves, brass and velvet, Bella Freud had different ideas for the interior design of the penthouse apartment that she masterminded at London’s recently redeveloped Television Centre.

Bella Freud and marie speake apartment television centre
Photography: Michael Sinclair

A collaboration with Maria Speake, co-founder of reclamation and design studio Retrouvius, the three-bedroom, 204-square-metre duplex at the White City location leans heavily towards a retro aesthetic, or, as Speake cheerfully puts it: ‘Not some hippy chic thing. It’s more seventies porn.’

Bella Freud and Maria Speake penthouse apartment Television Centre
Photography: Michael Sinclair

Having first met almost a decade ago via a Ladbroke Grove antiques dealer, the pair have since worked on two of Freud’s own properties, as well as her flagship store on London’s Chiltern Street.

Bella Freud and maria Speake of Retrouvius television apartment
Michael Sinclair
Photography: Michael Sinclair

They have also been making their mark over at the Grade II-listed former BBC headquarters, where the walls are lined with suede, hessian and cork, the sofas are covered in corduroy and the carpets come in a lipstick red, angelica green and marigold palette that’s reminiscent of Bella’s iconic knitwear.

Bella Freud and Retrouvius apartment television centre
Photography: Michael Sinclair

Bespoke wall-hung rugs by The Rug Company feature Freud’s instantly recognisable motifs, while the artwork comes courtesy of Canadian-British photographer Lorena Lohr and feminist ceramicist Eliza Hopewell.


bella freud and maria speak retrouvius television centre apartment
Photography: Michael Sinclair

There’s lacquered seating, a Willy Rizzo table and a collection of iconic Marcel Breuer ‘Cesca’ chairs sit beside a beaded curtain, originally destined for Freud’s own home. ‘It reminded me of my dad [the renowned figurative painter Lucian Freud] when I’d visit him as a child,’ she says. ‘He always had these crummy, small studios, but he’d take the door off and have a beaded curtain instead. It was a perfect fit for here.’

Bella Freud and Maria Speake Retrouvius apartment television centre
Photography: Michael Sinclair

The result of this bold style and cleverly edited collection of furniture and accessories is a modern homage to 1970s style that is as brilliantly cool as one would anticipate of this duo. Expect the hip kids to follow suit soon.;

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