Italians like doing business in London and are here to stay, soft or hard Brexit. The love affair with West London is still going strong, at least for those who can still afford it, or got there first, and set roots in leafy Notting Hill and surroundings.
A statement of their commitment is the newly refurbished and extended Italian School in London, a full time bilingual Italian and English Primary School with Nursery, located in one of the nicest roads in the upmarket Holland Park.
The education model integrates the British system – in particular its educational objectives and teaching methods – with the Italian curriculum, merging the best of both worlds, using the words of their founders.
The school originally opened in 2010 to accommodate a limited number of pupils. The growing number of Italians – most of them bankers and professionals – that have chosen the UK capital to do business and start a family has been increasing steadily for the last six years, and despite the uncertainty triggered by the referendum, it doesn’t look like it is going to stop anytime soon. So more people means more families and children, and higher demand for more space to accommodate pupils.
The difference between junior schools that most of us attended and this one are staggering. While our chairs were old and made of the cheapest possible materials, the desks scribbled all over it and were dated pre Second World War, these are colourful, ergonomic and have the signature of leading design firms behind them.
And that is the interior. This new development, which features a glazed walkway through the courtyard between the two properties on the first floor, was executed and delivered by JT Lab, architecture and design firm based in London, led by two young Italian architects.
The project presented a high level of complexity and challenges, such as the conversion of a listed building, located in a conservation area, from residential to school, the redesign of the inner space to efficiently enable a smooth connection between the original building and the new one, delivered within a tight deadline.
Tiziano Massarutto, principal at JT lab and project lead said: “We are delighted with the new building. We got there after facing several challenges, such as matching the features of the building and the need to deliver a space suitable for young children and their educational needs. We are very proud of the result, having delivered it on time, within budget and to high standards.
While we were working on this project, we thought a lot about the users of this space, the children and their teachers. Putting their safety first, their experience at school, and their desire to have fun at school, we designed this space around them. This school, which features Italian leading furniture companies for their interiors, is a child-centric space, and I hope my little daughter will be able to study here in few years time”.