The irony is not lost on me that I like to go to the cafe up the road from my gym after I have completed an exercise class. I do try to steer away from the endless rows of pastries that line the glass fronted shelves and usually just opt for a coffee. I have read that drinking coffee after the gym increases your metabolism. We all know that can only be a good thing..
How does this relate to my work as an Architect and indeed why would I like to share the rather mundane act of my weekend cafe habit ?
Aside from this cafe serving really great coffee and incredible pastries baked on the premises, I adore everything about the fitout, down to the flowers on each table that change weekly. I feel so comfortable in this space and so inspired by the atmosphere that it has become a place to relax for a few minutes and contemplate life, work, current affairs and everything in between before I head home to family life and domestic chaos.
The space is authentic. It is an insertion of new, utilitarian cafe elements with a few beautiful timelesss classic pieces of timber furniture set against raw concrete and steel. The soft, unfinished timber of my favourite Thonet Chairs contrast with the hard edge industrial elements of the display cases and self contained Kitchen. The building, as shopfront on Oxford Street was originally a Plaster Ceiling Shop at the turn of the 19th Century and the different options for Plaster Ceiling Roses are still intact, visible when you look up.
When I graduated University, nearly twenty years ago, the space was an Art Gallery and we held a memorable end of year function here. Following that it was the Charlie Brown fashion emporium for many years. So while I drink my coffee and skim through the Saturday papers my mind often wanders as it tends to when give the space and time.
My recent musings over a coffee and yes I admit it, a cronut ( seriously who invented these morsels of heaven ?? ) led me to the conclusion that it is very important in life, work and play to align your values.
Yes, I may be stating the obvious, however with so many distractions in the world, it really is easy to lose sight of what our values actually are and how a deeper understanding of them helps to forge stronger relationships and enhance creativity. My Yoga instructor would could it "Flow".
I am interested in this for several reasons. Mostly because I can feel a shift in our business and I need to make sure that the values upon which we have built our practice are aligned with the clients who engage us and the work we produce. We have been so fortunate to work with many wonderfull clients recently who have been referred to us directly by friends and colleagues. I am so grateful for these opportunities.
Over the past couple of years we have designed several new homes and alterations that are now coming to completion on site. It is an exciting, if not busy time and we are working with a couple of amazing builders.
While all this is happening I am also looking for new projects and opportunities. For several years I have been considering the direction I want to take the practice and I am now actively seeking those opportunities. My experience in Urban Design and larger residential projects is considerable and I hope to foster new relationships where we can work collaboratively on designs of this nature. I don't want to grow my practice in size, however would like to scale the projects, while maintaining to current scope of work that I (we) love.
I currently employ two students, Emily and Isobel who share their role while studying and pursuing other interests. With passion and talent they help create a fabulous team.
I value authentic, honest, timeless design. In the spirit of Sustainability and Wellbeing I believe that people benefit from Architecture and Interiors that are light filled, spatially inspiring and connected to nature. It is quite simple, yet often very challenging to achieve.
If you have a project in mind I would love to hear from you ! To be continued......
P.S My values are not aligned with Nike Slides. My 11 year old son is more fashion forward than I am, as is this customer I managed to snap alongside the croissants.