Project Wales ~ Welsh Gold Inspiration

The Royal family always use Welsh gold for their wedding rings by tradition. Here, I am going to illustrate how Welsh gold is an incredible source of inspiration for sublime interiors and cutting edge architecture.

Welsh Gold History.

Welsh gold is gold that occurs naturally in two distinct areas of Wales and highly prized because of its origin and scarcity. One area it is found in is North Wales in a band stretching from Barmouth, past Dolgellau and up towards Snowdonia. This was mined at several mines, the largest of which were the Gwynfynydd Gold Mine, near Ganllwyd, and the Clogau Gold Mine near Bontddu. In South Wales, it is found in a small area in the valley of the River Cothiat Dolaucothi where it is known to have been mined by the Romans.

New Welsh Lux.

Imagining Welsh luxury conjures up images of thick wool blankets rather than gold buildings. This is because the current notion of Welshness has a thread of honest and humble craft. I truly believe Wales is in a position to pull on all of its national emblems to build a fantastic design revolution, like Macintosh did for Scotland.

Wales has a terrific mining history, for coal as well as gold, I am focusing on natural, textured finishes that imbue a sense of ‘taken from the earth’. Then, I have found some gold cladding that channels the morphology of slate and the surface of the dragon, compounding notions of contemporary Welsh identity into a strong and exciting, well rounded design identity.

Look at the following images and their descriptions and see how Gold, or the colour Gold can be inspiring and signature.

The dining room is adorned with panels of golden bronze on two walls. I love the delicate undulating surface of the gold and it’s dark richness. Its simplicity is statement without being harsh and minimal.
Table from Eero Saarinen to Knoll and old chairs Superleggera, by Gio Ponti.

The soft grainy texture of these kitchen units are breathtaking in pale gold. Tempered by white, veined marble to make a perfect example of top quality materials of the mine and quarry.
Apartment in Paris, on the Rue de Lille, belonging to the interior designer Jean-Louis Deniot.

Deceptively, this gold fasciae is actually a wallpaper mural. The undulating fractal pattern is like a golden quarry face or geode. It pays respect to our mining heritage.

I am in love with these panels. Every panel is different and unique, the rippling, honed surface catches light and reflection.
Wall Panels by Product Line

This interior uses gold in several ways: in borders, trims and brushed panelling.
It becomes luxurious without being ostentatious and that is because it mixes wood and pattern in an eclectic way. The unit doors each look bespoke, but that wood & gold combination is really exciting. It feels vernacular and could be Welsh woodland with veins of gold. It is a London townhouse but wouldn’t be out of place in a house on a Welsh mountainside.
The Crafted House – a collaboration between De Rosee Sa and Lionelk Jadot.

Champaign coloured glass is pressed into this waterfall of liquid gold. Mesmerising beauty especially how lights falls through it onto the outside steps..
The simple herringbone pattern could be connected to weave structures or dragon scales. It is sublime.
Glass Jewelry Box, Japan by Hiroshi Nakamura & NAP.

I am a sucker for mixing old with new so this crisp gold and concrete staircase fitted into an older brick building gets my full attention.
Each of the panels are different tones of gold, so important to not look overly manufactured and cloned.
In 2009, the benetton family commissioned OMA to transform ‘fondaco dei tedeschi’ — a 16th century building on the banks of venice’s grand canal — into a department store and public space. seven years later, the restoration project is now complete and has been handed over to hong kong-based firm DFS to outfit the interior for retail use.

Gold coloured brass panelling is arranged like slate slabs in a patio on this building. With a variety of rectangular shapes the panelling looks bespoke and hand made. The cantilevered balconies use decorative perforations to let light through as well as to connect to the surrounding buildings.
It appears that to use gold in buildings correctly. one needs to treat it like a precious metal, finely tune it and work it like a craftsperson.
10 Weymouth Street, Fitzrovia by Make Architects.

Not everything in gold looks good. Here, the panelling feels like an add on to an ordinary office block and the result is that the gold does not feel precious – it feels excessive. I like the arrangement of the triangular panels on the edifice, as it has movement and reminds me of sun glinting on water.
The Central Bank, Dublin, by Henry J Lyons and Partners. Constructed by Liam Carroll.

This ordinary glass building has been wrapped it a gold overcoat, it looks great. The large angular facets and perforated pixels create a precious object that is singular without being ostentatious. It becomes a highlight in the surrounding landscape.
Forum Gold and Silver, Germany. Architecture: isin + co.

This building looks painstakingly wrapped in gold plating. It looks precious and exquisite without feeling vulgar.
The fire engine red entrance helps the building remain grounded as does its post-industrial silhouette.

Golden scales glint in the sun like a giant dragon.
The Fold in Sidcup. The scheme was designed to tender stage by Studio Egret West with KDS Associates employed as completion architects by the contractor.

3 dimensional panelling in dull gold looks like armour as well as scales.
Titanic Belfast is the result of a successful collaboration between the Concept Design Architects CivicArts/Eric R Kuhne & Associates and the Lead Consultant/Architect Todd Architects.

Sections of blackened wood finely trimmed in gold brass. Humble yet luxurious.
Sourced by Maison Gerard

I love this cladding composed of ceramic tiles in both flint white and high gloss gold finish, angled in varying directions to show reflect shimmering light in the surface.
Surface by Giles Miller Studio.

Oxidised oak wood with interlocking bronze rectangles is an anthology of Welsh landscape and mining.
Butchers block console table by Amuneal.

Gold-leaf laminated glass, which was made by sandwiching Japanese traditional craftsman’s gold dust between high-translucency glasses using modern technologies, represents Japanese images, in addition to an image of brass instruments. By hanging these gold-leaf laminated glasses with the diagonal cable-grid system, a new type of curtain wall like stained glasses was developed.
Yamaha Corporation Building. Nikken Sekkei LTD.