During the winter of 2019, we had the privilege of collaborating with an innovative new business, Mason and Fifth, who have recently launched their first pioneering ‘co-living space’, The Italian Building, in Bermondsey, London. This beautiful space has been designed to promote 'well-living' for a generation seeking a new solution for home. They define this as ‘connected, communal living that joins up all the drivers' of holistic wellbeing, bringing more joy to every day.’
Seeing the potential for a fruitful collaboration in our shared values, Mason and Fifth brought us in to create some of their bespoke pieces. This included a 3-metre long emerald green kitchen with sliding doors and marble handles, fabric wardrobe doors with solid oak frames and glass panel bathroom doors in all 28 bedrooms.
The beautifully-curated Italian Building opened its doors in November 2019, with benefits including a ‘wellness pavilion’ for yoga, pilates and meditation, events, and a nutrition programme.
We interviewed Ben Prevezer, Mason and Fifth’s Co-Founder and Creative Director, to find out more about the space and his plans for the future:
1. Where did the inspiration behind Mason & Fifth come from?
A genuine desire to create better homes for young people in the city. This stemmed from some bad experiences - first when living abroad - then in London.
2. If you had to sum up Mason & Fifth in one, core purpose, what would it be?
To completely change the way in which young people think of their homes - single, fixed addresses that require maintenance and upkeep. Instead, homes can become the starting point for living well in the city. More important than the gym, than the health food shop.. The base, the starting point, the nest, the community... for a life well-lived.
3. Why the name ' Mason & Fifth ' ?
‘Mason’ - deriving from the French word ‘Maison’ (my first experience of shared housing - which wasn’t great, but gave me my first insight into the benefits of living within a community); ‘&’ an intersection of culture and space; ‘Fifth’ - capturing the notion that in western society, young professionals tend to occupy 4 different spaces on a regular basis - live, work, play/social, wellness/fitness. Our spaces seek to encompass all of these spaces plus the various additional service offerings and lifestyle perks (Fifth).
4. What is your vision for Mason & Fifth?
To roll out a network of buildings in major cities around the world and to further develop our lifestyle offering into other verticals
5. What attracted you to Goldfinger in the first place?
The social impact and training to elevate those in need not through money but through skills and training
The sustainable sourcing and upcycling of materials
6. What have you achieved through our collaboration?
Genuinely sustainable, circular and well-considered design through our spaces whilst supporting a positive social approach to design.
7. What is an innovation, change or design which inspired/excited you most recently?
I recently went to the Olafur Eliasson exhibition at the Tate. The show reminded me why I started this project in the first place - to disrupt the status quo when it comes to design but to also think carefully about what design really means at its core - The idea that space design, materiality and everything that goes into creating a space is done to create a feeling for those occupying the space. Be that a feeling of comfort, welcomeness, connection, calm, healthy, part of nature… sleep, action, romance…
For us, when someone arrives at the entrance to one of our buildings, a sense of returning, familiarity, home, safety is what we seek to achieve.
Rather than designing for the sake of design and creating pieces of art, all human-centric design must remember the human and what the purpose of the space is. We at Mason & Fifth take this approach in all of our spaces.