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New Practices #80: Trolley Studio

The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at architects who have recently decided to go it alone, either through choice or redundancy

Trolley Studio, London

Founded:  April 2010

Main people:Michael Holms Coats and Katharine Willis

Where have you come from?After a number of years with Behnisch in Stuttgart, Michael became an associate with Levitt Bernstein. Katharine worked at Imagination, before concentrating on research into interaction and ‘locative media’. Trolley began in 1997 as a series of ‘proactive events’ while students at the Bartlett, and eventually spawned this business.

What work do you have and what projects are you looking for? Each project is allowed to have a ‘mind of its own’. Current jobs include a private residential extension and refurbishment projects in London, the West Country and Aberdeenshire. Collaboration allows us to branch out further with commercial projects, which include workplace refurbishments and a fashion showroom as well as our first arts project, an urban youth theatre.

What are your ambitions?We’re ambitious for better real-world design that works for people. Listening to the client and stakeholders is key, but just as important is learning from other design disciplines. Academic research and teaching, as well as collaborative work, add real stimulus and allows a greater reach without the overheads of a traditional practice.

How optimistic are you?Optimism is risky but necessary. It’s a juggle – heads in the clouds and our feet on the ground.


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