The team behind the practice, which was established by three friends in 1997, describes itself as “agents of opportunity” – able to build upon existing architecture rather than always needing to create something new from scratch.
“Our work is known for being playful and inventive – often by stripping a building back to its bones,” said Laura O’Hagan, one of the studio’s directors.
“We have developed a specialism for the creative reinvention of existing buildings, rather than simply reaching for the wrecking ball every time. Some of our most successful projects have actually been those that demonstrate a very minimal intervention.”
Since its founding, the studio has taken on projects across the UK and Europe and grown to encompass almost 100 employees, who have collective ownership over the practice.
“Following our transition to an Employee-Owned Trust in 2019, we evolved our practice into a collection of eight studios led by Associate Directors,” explained founding director Paul White.
“Each studio has its own design specialism but we all share the same practice-wide goals, such as the clever reuse of existing buildings and a commitment to working sensitively – regardless of scale.”
This is evident in the studio’s roster of completed projects, which includes a series of London redevelopments and restorations – from a disused car park in Victoria that was turned into the multi-use Eccleston Yards retail space, to the Grade-II listed Edwardian town-house 21 Soho Square that is now home to a WeWork.
The studio’s pluralistic approach is designed to promote trust and celebrate independent thought, which White explained has allowed the practice to work broadly across different sectors.
“I think one thing we’re really proud of is the range of our projects – from a boutique clothing store in Seoul to student accommodation in Aldgate, to a new co-working space in Madrid – all approached with a creative spirit and open mind,” he said.
Most recently, the company has developed a specialism for cultural spaces. It is currently working on an exhibition and working space for art world professionals in South Kensington called Cromwell Place.
The project, which is set to be completed in September 2020, will see a series of regency townhouses converted for use by gallerists, dealers and collectors.
Similarly, the Technique workspace development in Clerkenwell will incorporate a gallery and studio space for artists and is set for completion in 2021.
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