Behind the design of our Soho House rooftops
As we hit rooftop and pool season, our lead designer reveals the method in their magic
Thursday 27 April 2023 By Soho House
Every one of our Houses around the world is unique, but one thing they all have in common is an alignment to the city and surrounding neighbourhood they’re located in that gives each one its own sense of place. And that also applies to our rooftops and pools, which are designed with the same attention to detail as every other part of the House.
According to Soho House Principal Designer, Severine Lammoglia, the first step in a rooftop’s design journey is working out its ‘sun path’ (yes, that’s a thing) and getting the measure of its all-important views. ‘The sun path is how we decide where to position the pool and the sunbeds to ensure we give members maximum sun exposure,’ she explains. ‘It also helps us with the placement of terrace furniture, so that everyone can enjoy the best views from the rooftop.’
When you consider just how iconic some of those views are – Brooklyn Bridge stretching from DUMBO House to the Manhattan skyline and the City of London skyscrapers from the Shoreditch House rooftop – you can understand why these design elements are so crucial. But Lammoglia and her team are only just getting started.
Once the layout has been decided, as ‘the biggest visible surface’ flooring is up next. ‘In Rome, we had the luxury of having a 360° view with the rooftop spanning the whole surround, so we could divide the space between a pool, a bar and a Cecconi’s restaurant area,’ she says. ‘We used a local material for the flooring called palladiana – a travertine mosaic that creates a seamless floor with interlocking marble pieces reminiscent of ancient Italian floors.’
Alongside local materials, pattern, texture and colour all play a vital role in giving a rooftop design its own identity. ‘The building is often part of the backdrop to the rooftop, therefore we bring together the façade finishes and colours within the overall palette to create synergy,’ she explains.
Which brings us to the all-important pool itself. ‘As the key feature of the space, we always look at bright colourways,’ says Lammoglia. ‘We like to feature a pattern on either the umbrellas or sunbeds.’ (Or, in the case of Brighton Beach House, into the pool itself – its interior features a bright yellow mosaic banana by world-renowned local artist, David Shrigley.) Whatever palette the team settles on, the House pool towel is designed to complement this. ‘The stripe pattern is always a starting point,’ she notes. ‘But we reinterpret it for each House using local motifs and colours.’
Add a little landscaping for zoning, shade and privacy (‘We play with various species and heights to ensure we create atmosphere within the different areas of the rooftop’) and some ‘low-level lighting on tables to add a soft glow for evening ambience’, and the final pieces in the rooftop design puzzle are complete.
Now all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the view.
Heading to a Soho House this summer? Here’s everything you need to know about our rooftops and pools around the world.