Estimated to be roughly 2,000 years old, London is one of the oldest major cities in the world — and as one of the world’s largest financial centers, it continues to grow.
Of course, population growth means that new buildings become a necessity, both for the people who will call London home and the businesses that will employ them. As the home to four World Heritage sites, it is naturally important that new structures reflect the city’s rich heritage and are equally desirable in and of themselves.
To that end, Costas Polycarpou, founder of Polyteck is among those leading the charge to ensure that the city’s future growth continues to build upon its legacy.
A primary area of emphasis for Polycarpou is regenerative development — the idea of redeveloping existing spaces and putting in new buildings that better meet the needs of the community.
“There isn’t much undeveloped space left in London,” Polycarpou notes, “and at the same time, there are many structures that are no longer suitable for their intended use. With regenerative development, we can work with local stakeholders to determine the right mix of housing and commercial spaces. A transparent approach with the community and holding ourselves accountable is vital for getting results that will ultimately benefit everyone involved.”
The lack of new space for development has led to dramatic changes in London in recent years — such as a proliferation of skyscrapers better suited to handle growing business needs. Of course, not every old building can be turned into a skyscraper. Careful community involvement becomes a necessity to ensure that the right structures are going into the right areas.
By taking the needs of the local community into account, such development efforts have a true regenerative effect that benefits all stakeholders.
Refurbishing Existing Properties
Creating desirable spaces doesn’t merely happen by replacing older structures. “We have many buildings in London that are absolutely amazing and full of history — but they don’t fully meet the needs of our modern world,” Polycarpou explains.
“Fortunately, it’s not an either/or proposition. We don’t have to tear down these gorgeous structures. Instead, we can restore their most defining features and refurbish them to account for updated electrical support, access control, HVAC, plumbing and more.”
Polycarpou notes that many buildings that fit these needs are still actively being used — an issue that isn’t all that surprising, considering London’s history. Many of the city’s homeowners don’t even know when their house was originally built, sometimes requiring a fair amount of research to find the answer.
Such structures — whether used for business or a personal residence — have likely already had their fair share of upgrades made in the past to account for then-new conveniences. Polyteck’s approach seeks to refurbish these spaces to make room for current tech improvements, while keeping intact the unique historical features that make them so desirable in the first place.
“Refurbishing and restoring a space offers a unique opportunity in the world of construction,” Polycarpou says. “The combination of modern amenities with historic ambiance is something you cannot achieve in many other places outside of London.”
Ongoing Maintenance and Monitoring
Of course, Polycarpou and Polyteck understand that it isn’t enough to construct new buildings. London has stood for generations, and the new buildings that aim to make the city more desirable today must be built to stand the test of time.
While ongoing maintenance is an obvious need for any structure, Polycarpou sees the biggest opportunity in remote monitoring. “With traditional facilities maintenance, you often wouldn’t discover a problem until things got out of hand. Remote monitoring solutions use smart sensors to carefully track any system — HVAC, plumbing and so on. This technology allows us to monitor everything from temperatures and refrigerant pressure to water leaks and energy consumption. Immediate alerts mean a faster response, and more efficient results.”
This is especially important when dealing with older structures, which are more likely to have energy efficiency problems and other maintenance issues.
Active monitoring through internet of things (IoT) devices allows maintenance teams to take on a more proactive role in replacing worn components before they fail completely. Refurbishments and routine maintenance alike can be scheduled based on the insights gained from monitoring to keep everything running smoothly.
Rather than needing to shut down a facility for days or even weeks at a time, this proactive approach ensures more consistent maintenance that decreases building down time while also keeping the structure in pristine condition.
A Bright Future for London
Overall, Polycarpou is optimistic about London’s future.
“The city continues to grow for good reason. We just need to make sure that the buildings that will be welcoming these people to London — regardless of whether they are commercial or residential — are sending the right message. Desirable and durable buildings are ultimately the foundation for a strong city that will continue to grow and flourish.”
While the city certainly poses its fair share of development challenges, it is clear that strong community input and innovative providers that embrace the latest technology will help new structures — and refurbished existing spaces — stand tall for many years to come.
How Berite Labelle Is Translating Her International Modelling Career Into Acting Through Passion and Self-Care
Moldovan-born beauty Berite Labelle has shed her chrysalis to emerge as an actor and writer.
For several years, Berite has deconstructed, redefined, and developed her modeling skills into techniques fit for an A-list actor.
The path from the catwalk to the film set is a walk of fame mastered by Hollywood legends including Grace Kelly, Nicole Kidman, and Noémie Lenoir. Naomi Campbell successfully transitioned to the small screen as an actor and performed brilliant comedy roles spoofing herself with perfect timing and delivery. Former model and Emmy Award winner Tyra Banks turned to acting and hosted her eponymous chat show. She also birthed an industry from her modeling career and today has a net worth of $90million.
Berite’s passion for communication is at the core of her acting and writing ambitions. She aims for both movies and the stage.
Already established as a successful model in Europe, Berite’s vertical performance started in 2019 when she participated in the World Championship of Performing Arts competition in Long Beach, California. She entered the Spoken Model category and claimed first place. Propelled by her competitive success, she went on to study acting at the New York Film Academy on a partial scholarship. She also competed in dramatics and comic monologues performances in Los Angeles.
During her modeling career, she showcased luxury brands including La Perla and France’s Aubade lingerie house at The Four Seasons Hotel – Geneva, and luxury jeweler Faberge. She also walked the runway for Tiffany’s fashion week in Paris and represented hair giant Toni & Guy.
“At the same time as modeling, I joined a small theatrical company in Switzerland. I decided that it was my mission to become an actor. As well as working with the theatre company, I set about teaching myself English. Communication is key in acting, and the more languages you can communicate in, the better.”
Berite has acted in music videos and is working on a project where she serves two different roles of important historical women: the last Egyptian Ptolemaic queen Cleopatra and the Victorian English writer Mary Wollstonecraft. Berite is also writing scripts.
“I love communicating in different languages, as shown by competing in California. Today my overarching professional desire is about expression and interchange. I am inspired to communicate as an actor on a deep emotional level. To tell a story non-verbally,” says Berite.
“Acting demands a high level of emotional intelligence that is outward-facing and creative, but you also need to be able to run a business. As an entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of my entertainment company – Berite Labelle.”
It is hardly surprising that Berite pivoted toward acting. Adaptation and learning new cultures are hallmarks of her childhood. Born in the tiny former Soviet country of Moldova in Eastern Europe, Berite traveled the world with her Chadian father, who worked for the United Nations. Constant traveling meant new schools, cultures, and languages. Berite thrived until her father died when she was 14 years old. Her family decided to send the teenager to school in Paris, where she fell into bad company.
It took three years for the young woman to determine that she was the only person empowered to change her life. It was an epiphany that changed the course of her life, and she walked away from the shady side of teenage years. At 17 years old, Berite enrolled in a diploma course studying commerce to set a positive direction. As part of her education, she landed an internship with the exclusive Swiss watchmaker and jeweler -Bucherer est 1880. During this time, the young woman understood that her way forward was to become a model. She immersed herself in a sophisticated and creative life.
It was not the first time Berite considered modeling as a career. As a child, a colleague of her father predicted the little girl would become a model. The prophecy triggered Bertie’s lifelong love of fashion, and the little girl’s favorite entertainment was watching Fashion TV. She also took up ballet, which helped her modeling career bloom.
To this day, the entrepreneur continues to dance as both a way to express her creative energy, de-stress, and maintain her physical form. She has also performed in music videos.
Indeed, a successful modeling career requires strict discipline and self-care – two covenants are a must for a career as an actor.
“It is essential to stay in shape, so I still dance, and I also enjoy going hiking, and I practice yoga. Drinking plenty of water is great for your skin, and I have a routine for sleeping and looking after myself,” Berite explains.
“Selfcare is as much of a priority as self-love. When you develop your routine and perform it faithfully, you learn how to love yourself and properly care for yourself. Confidence is important in the world of entertainment. To take good care of others and to love them authentically, you must feel good about yourself. It helps if you never forget about your own needs and feelings,” she says.
Berite is a great believer in reading for pleasure as self-care; “reading scripts, books and work-related material counts as self-care.”
Given that Berite is often exploring another person’s character, working on mastering accents, or running her business, she likes to check out of her dynamic workspace through meditation. She has also discovered a rich vein of joy by continuing her education with online acting courses with Acting Center in Los Angeles.
The final thread of Berite’s self-care regime is twice weekly hair and face masks, which she believes are well-earned breaks from a fully engaged life.
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