London’s world-class design and creative scene aren’t new – pockets of the capital, like Bloomsbury, Camden and Shoreditch, have drawn artistic souls for many years. But now, there’s a new wave of creative neighbourhoods emerging, drawing not just artists, but interest in homes in the area too.
In fact, recent research from the Creative Land Trust has highlighted the cultural, social and economic benefits these creative hubs have on a neighbourhood – with strong associations with the creative industries bolstering the demand for residential property.
Here, we look at four of London’s most exciting creative, artistic neighbourhoods, and the latest new developments in the heart of the action.
One of the most significant creative milestones of 2021 was the opening of the Design District, London’s first dedicated, permanent purpose-built hub for the creative industries.
The latest chapter of Greenwich Peninsula – a major 150-acre regeneration project establishing a new cultural district in Zone 2 – the Design District offers high-quality workspaces, in a safe and accessible environment at an affordable price point. Along with its host of exciting amenities, it has already become a beacon for creatives since opening last September.
Beyond the Design District, culture and creativity are woven into every element of the new neighbourhood, from the extensive public art (showcasing works from names like Damien Hirst and Allen Jones) through to the global design talent developer, Knight Dragon, which has worked with to create the latest phase of homes, Upper Riverside, including Tom Dixon, Studio Ashby and Design Haus Liberty.
A striking series of five prism-like buildings along the River Thames, the apartments at Upper Riverside boast the Design District as a next-door neighbour – so are in a prime position to enjoy its public facilities, including an innovative food hall concept, Canteen, and bookable rooftop basketball court.
With the Design District to one side, Upper Riverside’s selection of studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments, lofts and penthouses enjoy uninterrupted views to the other, taking in the River Thames, the cityscape and beyond (prices from £487,500 www.upperriverside.co.uk).
Looking to central London, while the City of London might be best known as a world-leading business and finance, there are ambitions from local cultural institutions like the Barbican, London Symphony Orchestra, and Guildhall School of Music and Drama to establish the Square Mile as a new creative district.
Together with the City of London Corporation, they’ve established The Culture Mile, which celebrates and supports the local creative scene. Local residents can also enjoy the area’s Sculpture in the City trail too, a public art programme showcasing works by both internationally acclaimed and emerging artists.
With these artistic institutions and a growing creative scene activating the area beyond the nine-to-five, it’s no surprise that the City of London is becoming one of the capital’s most exciting residential hotspots too. One of the latest additions to the area is The Denizen, a collection of just 99 studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments designed with contemporary urban living in mind.
There’s a suite of thoughtful amenities too, including a private cinema, games room and business lounge, as well as a communal terrace, so residents have lots of space to work, relax and socialise. There are now just a handful of apartments remaining, with prices from £765,000 (www.thedenizen.co.uk).
Over in West London, there are also exciting things happening in Brentford, where Ballymore’s regeneration scheme The Brentford Project is breathing fresh life into the town centre, revitalising the southern half of the high street and reconnecting it with the waterfront.
The project is designed to enhance and support the area’s existing arts scene, which includes much-loved institutions like Watermans Arts Centre, and Johnson’s Island Artists – a community of artists and makers on an island on the Grand Union Canal.
There is some major art event now taking place in the area too, including the Creative Mile, an art trail weaving through the town, and even a huge, colourful temporary mural by mural artist, Hixxy, covering the façade of a new multi-storey car park on the high street – with the design inspired by all things Brentford.
As part of Ballymore’s plans, a series of passageways between the high street and waterfront will be dedicated to supporting emerging local businesses, from artisans and craftspeople to budding entrepreneurs and independent retailers.
There are also new apartments coming forward, meaning residents can live in and amongst Brentford’s lively arts scene. Contemporary open-plan layouts and floor-to-ceiling glazing, as well as cantilevered terraces to many, bring quality design even closer to home, while the majority also enjoy beautiful, far-reaching views across the river to Syon Park and Kew Gardens (prices from £445,000, www.thebrentfordproject.com).
Poplar, in East London, is a destination best known for its fashion and textile heritage, home to a vibrant and creative community of independent retailers. Poplar Works – delivered in partnership with housing association Poplar HARCA, London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London and The Trampery – provides more than 40 studio workspaces to independent and start-up businesses working within the fashion industry.
Another community offering an accessible arts programme of theatre, music, workshops, health classes and family activities is Poplar Union. Close by, located on the banks of the River Lea, is Poplar Riverside – a major new regeneration scheme providing 2,800 homes including studio, one, two and three-bedroom flats, all with outdoor space and many offering rivers, parks and city views.
Home to a plethora of exclusive private residents’ facilities, including a state-of-the-art Home Club, the development will also include open green spaces, a commercial gym, a creche, shops, restaurants and cafes (prices from £410,000, www.poplar-riverside.co.uk).