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10th January 2018

Sea Containers House

LASSCO has salvaged a number of interesting items from the prominent former Bankside office, Sea Containers House, designed by Warren Platner.

Sea Containers House
Sea Containers House with LASSCO stock in situ.

Sea Containers House was built in 1978 to the designs of American architect and designer Warren Platner.  A renowned perfectionist, Mr Platner attended to every last detail of the design of the building during it’s construction. It was originally commissioned as an American style luxury hotel however the 1970’s recession led to its conversion to office buildings instead.

Warren Platner 1919 - 2006
Warren Platner. 1919 – 2006

Mr Platner himself was and is an architect of international reputation. His focus on creating buildings that were at once attractive and comfortably habitable meant that he was admired both by his fellow architects and the occupants of his buildings alike. During his career he built landmark buildings in America and across the world. He was heavily involved in preparing the interior designs for Eero Saarinen’s masterpiece, the TWA Terminal at Idlewild (later JFK) airport in New York. He won the Rome prize for Architecture in 1955 and was inducted into Interior Design magazine Hall of Fame in 1985.

Warren Platner designed bronze lights
Warren Platner designed bronze lights

Mr Platner was also widely admired for the quality of his interior design and the close attention he gave to his re-fits and enhancements of existing buildings. Most famously he designed and oversaw the creation of the Windows on the World restaurant at the summit of the New York World Trade Center of which the Architectural record noted that:

 “each square inch of the one acre space received the most careful design attention – in the creation of scores of very special places, and in the execution of the rich and varied elegant details… in a word masterful”.

Sea Containers House Lettering
Sea Containers House Lettering

During its life as an office Mr Platner would come back regularly to check that the interior of Sea Containers House was not perverted from his designs by the introduction of unapproved fixtures.

…as an office block, Sea Containers House had the feel of an ocean liner, drifting grandly along the Thames. Its designer, celebrated US architect Warren Platner, was sometimes spotted striding through, captain-like, checking that we didn’t wreck his concept by sneaking in unauthorised table lamps or blinds.

Former occupant of S.C.H.

Interior at Sea Containers House
Interior at Sea Containers House

He also created the interiors for numerous buildings throughout the United States including the lobby of the famous Pan Am building on New York’s Park Avenue. The controversial decorative scheme was subsequently seen by some to herald the beginning of the rejection of ideological modernism and a return to more playful and exuberant decorative forms in architectural design.

Giant Golden Globe Finial from Sea Containers House
Giant Golden Globe Finial from Sea Containers House

Beside his architecture and interior design practices Mr Platner was also a prolific and respected maker of furniture and fittings in the 1960’s modernist mould. This was particularly true in his work for the design firms Knoll and Georg Jensen.

Warren Platner Restaurant Interior
Warren Platner Restaurant Interior The American Restaurant 1974

LASSCO has salvaged some of the various fittings that were deemed surplus to requirements during the 2014 re-modelling of Sea Containers House and is now pleased to offer a number of them for sale.

Warren Platner Designed Lobby
Warren Platner Designed Lobby NYC

These salvaged objects obviously represent a piece of intelligent design; however they also evoke a curious and now forever lost moment when one of the big-beasts of American glass and steel mid-century design left his personal hallmark on the muddy banks of the London River

Detail of Sea Container's House Letter.
Detail of Sea Container’s House Letter.

Details of all the salvaged items can be viewed here

Sea Containers House during the Diamond Jubilee
Sea Containers House during the Diamond Jubilee. LASSCO stock clearly visible.