Saturday

Embassy Court Tour - Brighton Fringe 2014 review by Sarah Agnew


Embassy Court Tour, Company: Bluestorm Ltd
Venue: Embassy Court, Category: Tours
10-11, 17-18, 24-25, 31 May, 1 June 11:00 £6 (£5) [1hr 15mins]

Just so you know (I didn't), Embassy Court is not actually Art Deco, it is however one of the finest examples of architecture from the Modernist movement.  Apparently this is a common mistake made by local taxi drivers and as it goes by me too.  It is also not true that the building has any connection to Hoogstraten while we're at it.

Embassy Court was designed by Wells Coates, completed in 1936 and offered very stylish living to a privileged few, with concierge and a bar on the sun terrace.  Although the original occupants could only rent the apartments, the service they were provided with included 40 staff to cater to their needs, a mail service twice daily from the lift and laundry.  It was the perfect starting off point for residents who wanted to set off on the Grand tour of Europe. They could simply cross the road to the West Pier and sail across to France.

Our tour guide was the impressively well informed Cara Courage, an Art and Architecture Consultant who winningly shared her passion with us.  As facts and figures circled around my head, the tour headed onwards to see inside one of the corner flats.  Half way up the eleven floor building we entered one of the flats to see for ourselves how Coates' Modernist vision had been realised.  To the left of the sitting room a curved-corner of glass windows sparkled with reflected light from the sea into a warm and inviting room.  The view was a show stopper.  Diagonally opposite this view our guide Cara pointed out the door we had just walked through was curved too, one of only five remaining on site and a perfect example of Coates' attention to detail.

Wells Coates it turns out had been somewhat of a perfectionist, bordering obsessive and had been involved in every detail from the style of the flat numbers to the design of the light switches, a style that has become instantly recognisable.

Ascending skywards our next stop was the sun terrace, which really did feel like we were walking out onto the deck of a cruise liner. Quite a peculiar sensation, but in a good way. The views from every angle were spectacular and I went into snap-happy heaven.

Our final destination was the rear of the building and our guide Cara's favourite view of Embassy Court. Looking upwards you can really appreciate the aesthetic value of Coates' design.  Personally though for me the views of the sea from inside were my favourite.  Embassy Court has many stories to tell including how it was recently rescued by the leaseholders as well as that of Terence Conran's involvement.  I must admit I'm fascinated by history, architecture and design so this tour was made for me, but I can't help thinking that this iconic building has the power to win anyone over.

Sarah Agnew - follow on Twitter @IrishAggers





Embassy Court, Brighton

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