The recently-completed corporate reception area in Wimpole Street, London, is prestigious yet welcoming, and is defined by being opulent without ostentation. Designed by Rients Bruinsma with meticulous attention to detail, the space features custom-made chandeliers, a polished brass screen, onyx-lined walls – sometimes with back lighting – rock crystal lanterns and doors painted to resemble mahogany.

The new reception space at Wimpole Street embodies the classic contemporary style that is characteristic of Rients’ work. One of its main features is the striking use of materials, which exude quality, grandeur and luxury.

Personally selected by the designer, two Italian stones line the walls and floors – ivory onyx and olive brown respectively. Bronze strips placed between the stone panels create a graphic effect. These are complemented by the lanterns in the walls, which are made from back-lit rock crystal set in bronze frames.

“This gives the space a wonderful glow,” says Rients, “and adds a vertical element in the horizontally veined marble. All the pieces of marble were hand picked, and I made sure that the veins continued at corners.”

The reception desk is made from mahogany, and features a solid-brass screen, referencing the wall pattern, which is lit from beneath the top shelf to create a soft glow. The revolving door and adjacent windows are made from dark-stained brass, to match the bronze strips between the marble.

The wooden walls in front of the back-lit elevator wall are dark-stained mahogany, making the back-lit walls stand out even more. Custom designed by Rients, the round chandeliers feature rock crystal and LED lighting. The sconces on either side of the revolving doors are constructed from rock crystal panels set in bronze.

As well as implementing the decorative design, Rients often carries out his projects’ major structural changes. “Most of the time I do the whole job,” he says. “I often do the entire renovation, including moving structural elements and building roofs. I also do all the plumbing, the electrical A/C, and I offer a full architectural service.

“I believe that this is the most successful way of working, rather than to split it up between an architect and a decorator. Sometimes they work on the same project but they don’t have the same philosophy. Having both the renovation and the interior design done by the same person overcomes this problem.”

Photographer Andrew Hendry

About the designer
Rients Bruinsma established his London-based design practice, Rients, in 2003, following his time at the Academy of Visual Arts in Maastricht, The Netherlands, where he studied interior architecture. Past projects include the Presidential Suite at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York and the conversion of the Ministry of Finance in the Louvre, Paris. He is currently working on projects in London, Trieste and Lisbon.