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New practices: London Atelier

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

London Atelier

Founded: August 2010 but we started trading in 2011

Main people: Practice was founded by Ralf Eikelberg and Pouya Zamanpour. We are a practice of four and have two full time architects, Eva Willoughby and Hayley Anderson, working with us. We collaborate with a range of external consultants from graphic designers, interpretation specialists, engineers and surveyors.

Where have you come from? Ralf and Pouya studied together at the Bartlett. Ralf worked for Gumuchdjian Architects, Future Systems and Howarth Tompkins and Pouya work for TPS consults, Andrew Wright Associates, Metaphor Ltd and Event Communications before setting up London Atelier. 

What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for? We are interested in working on cultural and heritage sites. Our projects range from masterplanning major heritage attractions such as the Auckland Castle to cultural exhibitions and gallery designs such as the ‘from the Heracles to Alexander the Great’ exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum (see below) and the redevelopment of listed buildings such as the residence of Oscar Wilde in Tite Street, Chelsea.

London Atelier's ‘from the Heracles to Alexander the Great’ exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum

We work with historic buildings, objects and stories and reinterpret them to be experienced in the present. Our dream project would be one that combines all facets of our practice and allows us to reinterpret a site with significant heritage. To give an example, we would be more than happy to help with the future of Battersea Power Station.

What are your ambitions? For the next five years we hope to remain a small practice, perhaps slightly bigger than we currently are, but the challenge is of course to stay in business for that long!  

Our residential projects have been mostly in conservation areas and within listed buildings around London and we hope to continue to find parallels with this and the work we do in the heritage sector, museums and galleries.

How optimistic are you as a start-up practice? We are perhaps foolishly optimistic and we think we need to be to be able to carry on. We put a lot of effort into what we do and try our best. We hope to be able to continue and for the practice to grow stronger as we go on. We have never traded in a different climate so as far as we are concerned this is the norm until we experience something different.

We have had no success so far with the tenders we have entered, although we have been shortlisted multiple times for very interesting museum and gallery projects. Perhaps this is because we are new and small and not as convincing as the larger and more established firms on paper. All of our work has been through returning business or through recommendations by colleagues and clients we have collaborated with before. In these situations being a small practice has been an advantage.

How are you marketing yourselves? We have a website and advertise through a few business networks but our main marketing tool has been satisfied clients and referrals by people we have worked with previously.

Website address:www.londonatelier.com

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