News - What is Human Luxury?
At YOO we often talk about human luxury. What is it? Philanthropy? Community? Satisfaction beyond the self?
In a series of personal interviews we ask the designers at the heart of YOO to convey what human luxury means to them.
Michael: I count myself lucky enough to live on the edge of central London, zone 1. My flat isn’t particularly big, but for me that isn’t important because everything of value to me is nearby. The spirit-lifting natural surroundings of Regent’s Park or the vibrant heart of Soho are both within a stone’s throw and so London seems like a wonderful, rich and colourful village to me and I get the very best of it. The location affords me extra time and flexibility. I walk to work, often chopping and changing my route which means I can interact with the city and appreciate its best features on a daily basis in ways that would be closed off to me if I had to commute by train, underground.
My walking route begins from George Mews into Drummond Street with its famous Indian, African and Bangladeshi restaurants and supermarkets. Then through the suited corporate London of Regents Place which is actually quite serene – a citadel within the city where I’m also treated to some incredible public art. I enter either the hustle and bustle of Great Portland Street, full of people rushing to work clutching their lattes, or if I feel the need for peace I walk through Fitzroy Square, an incredible Georgian space where period dramas are often filmed. On to Fitzrovia with its amazing ‘grid’ street pattern and variety of entrances and facades including the RIBA building, the new BBC Building and huge town houses or intimate mews, each with a very different character. The building which connects these all together is the Post Office Tower which my route circumnavigates like a giant map pin against which I view the changing cityscape of London.
To me this is a genuine example of human luxury. That sense of accessibility, of having everything one requires to live a full and satisfying life, the very best quality of life, is also what has informed my work on the luxury residential development, Leontievsky Mys, in St. Petersburg. What we have created there is a small citadel with formal, interior gardens, a strong sense of community and every possible amenity, but what makes it visionary is the marriage of this with its geographical location. The development sits on the cape of one of a series of islands overlooking the straits of Finland - an immense wide-open area of water.
The project is very much part of St Petersburg, very close to the city centre but surrounded on three sides by awe-inspiring landscapes. It’s the best of all worlds and a self-sufficient world of its own. This grandeur is my macro version of human luxury, reflected in micro by the freedoms afforded me at my modest but perfectly located London flat.
Experience Leontievsky Mys