Vex review – London’s grooviest house

By Rowan Moore

An avant garde score by Erik Satie has inspired a corrugated spiralling north London house with its own soundtrack

“Pain starts past six hours,” said the pianist Nicolas Horvath of performing Erik Satie's Vexations, which requires 840 repetitions of the same few lines of notation. “Madness starts past 12 hours; hell starts past 20 hours!” Another pianist, according to the New Yorker, abandoned his performance of the piece after 595 of the repetitions “because he claimed he was being overtaken by evil thoughts and noticed strange creatures emerging from the sheet music”.

This is not the sort of talk you usually hear around the making and selling of speculative property developments, but then Steve Chance and Wendy de Silva, although they can be defined as property developers by virtue of the fact that they buy sites, build on them and then sell, are not of the usual kind. They are architects for whom trading in land and construction is a means to a creative end. “We behave more like an artist,” they say. “You just paint what you want and hope someone wants to buy it.”

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Source: Vex review – London’s grooviest house