There’s no shortage of talking points when it comes to Edoardo Alessandro Mapelli Mozzi, to give him his full name. The son of former Olympic skier Count Alex Mapelli-Mozzi, he has, since last month, been engaged to Princess Beatrice of York. In his entrepreneurial capacity, Mapelli Mozzi, is the director of property development firm Banda, whose latest project is the imperious, stucco-fronted Leinster Square in Bayswater.
Do you recall any specific moment when property became your calling?
I’ve been passionate about property and design for as long as I can remember. My mother worked in commercial real estate so I recall being taken all over the country to look at sites with her from a young age. I was particularly drawn to the residential side of the industry because I was interested in exploring how design can influence emotion and shape the way in which we live. I knew even before going to university that I wanted a career in property – I spent every summer doing internships at all the big developers in London, learning from them and growing a network of contacts that I have continued to build since then.
What prompted the founding of Banda – did you feel there was a gap in the existing market?
I was in my early 20’s when I started the company, having noticed what I felt was a gap in the market for a residential developer putting design at the forefront. I took inspiration from other European cities as well as large one-off houses and explored how this level of design and quality could be introduced to boutique developments of, say, 10-15 apartments. It wasn’t easy setting up a business at that time – it was right in the middle of the financial crash of 2008-9, but fortunately our focus on design, quality and craftsmanship struck a chord with our audiences who recognised the added value and longevity this brought.
How do you get into the mindset of potential owners, when coming up with the aesthetics of a property such as Leinster Square?
I think a combination of factors including the location, the design and the impeccable quality of the craftsmanship throughout the project means that these homes will most likely appeal to discerning buyers who have an appreciation for good quality design and a truly London lifestyle. They will most certainly be people who wish to lay down roots in this part of the capital, as opposed to investors simply seeking to acquire real estate in London. We’ve seen a lot of interest from buyers who may be looking at other more established neighbourhoods like Chelsea, St John’s Wood and Mayfair – however, they love the fact that this part of Notting Hill is up and coming. It’s vibrant, and it has character and charm.
How are tastes changing when it comes to redesigning and re-characterising historical buildings?
London is home to some of the most architecturally beautiful buildings in the world and being able to restore them to their original grandeur for future generations to enjoy is hugely satisfying. I think buyers are increasingly seeking a home that has some kind of identity and character about it. That’s what historical homes offer. At Leinster, we have restored all of the wonderful heritage features like the beautiful cornicing, the stunning period façade and the floor-to-ceiling windows. It also benefits from access to a traditional garden square, which is incredibly rare in central London. Being able to harness the charm and beauty of a Grade II listed building like this, in this location and elevate it through design, craftsmanship and 21st century technology, is the key to creating a truly enticing proposition for our clients.”
Are new generations of HNWIs, in your opinion, more fastidious when it comes to authentic sustainability, provenance etc?
There is certainly a lot more focus on authenticity and a great deal of appreciation for true craftsmanship. Our clients take a genuine interest in where the materials are sourced and the craftspeople behind the joinery and furniture in our projects. At Leinster Square, we’ve endeavoured to source sustainably produced materials wherever we can and focused on supporting local British craftspeople as much as possible. For example, we commissioned a Shropshire-based designer, Rupert Bevan to create a stunning brass table for the dining room and have used Versailles parquet oak wood flooring, sourced from Ludlow, Shropshire throughout the principal areas, with herringbone in the bedrooms. We also looked to our immediate surroundings, taking inspiration from Notting Hill’s rich history to bring in sustainable elements such as the stacked empty frames we sourced from a framer on Kensington Church Street and re-purposed as pieces of artwork in their own right.
What are the challenges with sourcing materials sustainably?
The expense is one, as well as time and the fact that there are fewer suppliers offering truly sustainable solutions. The industry as a whole still has a long way to go but it’s encouraging to see that the ambition amongst the design and build community is there. Steps are definitely being taken in the right direction.”
Who, dead or alive, is your greatest creative inspiration?
There is no one person. I take creative inspiration from everything I see around me.
Apartments at 13-19 Leinster Square, W2 start at £5.9 million. www.bandaproperty.co.uk
Pictures courtesy of Banda Property