Exquisite lace-paper Valentines and embossed playing cards used to be made at a Victorian printworks in Hoxton — but the factory has now made way for Hoxton Press, two hexagonal towers with 198 apartments that are a fitting tribute to the site's craftworking origins.
Clad in neat Belgian bricks, the towers' robust yet elegant design is the work of celebrated architect David Chipperfield, and these homes are among London's best examples of space-efficient apartment blocks.
Each tower incorporates a rhythmic pattern of deep-and-wide recessed, double-aspect balconies. These highly useable, year-round spaces, accessed by a wall of sliding glass, provide fresh air and protection from the elements. Inside, the studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom flats have more space and higher ceilings than required by the Mayor's London Plan regulations. Pocket doors slide back into the wall cavity, while there is cleverly concealed storage space.
Underfloor heating means walls are radiator free, and with oak floors throughout, white lacquered kitchens and shadow-gap skirting boards, the interiors are clean-cut, contemporary and comfortable.
Moreover, being 16 and 20 storeys high, the towers respect the area's historic architectural context next to Regent's Canal and are far less obtrusive than the shiny steel-and-glass skyscrapers along nearby City Road. The development overlooks Shoreditch Park and Gainsborough Studios, an arty enclave of flats and workspaces.
Firms of architects, designers and digital start-ups are settling into the neighbourhood's quiet backstreets, while there is a sprinkling of gastropubs, one with a noted theatre. The marketing suite across the road from the towers cost £1.5 million to build and eventually will be converted into a local primary school. Prices at Hoxton Press start from £615,000. Call Anthology on 020 3308 9813.