There’s something universally captivating about a derelict building with a story to tell. Such was the line of thought that sparked a then-23-year-old Edo Mapelli Mozzi to found Banda, his boutique London development firm specializing in converting unconventional character properties into bespoke residences. Fifteen years later, with projects sprinkled across the globe and a growing interior design wing (not to mention, a recent marriage to England’s Princess Beatrice of York), Mapelli Mozzi expounds on his distinct vision of residential luxury.
Formative influence: My mother worked in commercial real estate and used to drive me around to her job sites. I understood from an early age that how we live and work are intertwined; how spaces can make us feel.
In a name: Banda means “house” in Swahili. I’ve spent a lot of time in Lamu, Kenya, and source huge amounts of inspiration from the people and way of life there. I wrote my business plan from a “banda” in my early 20s. For me, the word conjures a feeling of simplicity. Design doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to stir emotions and promote well-being.
Holistic approach: When I launched Banda, there was a gap in the market for a high-quality search, development and design business. Many developers take a cookie-cutter approach that isn’t true to life. Our aim was to offer something out of the ordinary with quality and experience at the core.
Buyers want: There is a definite shift away from prime postcodes and pure new-build schemes. Our clients want personality through design, community and security. These elements work together to form a unique feeling of luxury.
Market update: Buyers are extremely serious right now; there’s no window shopping. Likewise, sellers are motivated. Covid has put a lot into perspective and encouraged many to make lifestyle changes. One thing for certain is that properties with open outdoor spaces will be the ones that shine as we navigate this unprecedented time.