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New practices: Seán & Stephen

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

Seán & Stephen, Hackney, London

Founded October 2012

Main people Stephen Mackie and Seán McAlister

Where have you come from?
We both studied architecture at University of Dundee. Mackie worked at Sheppard Robson and Neu Architects, and McAlister at Grimshaw Architects and Jason Bruges Studio.

What work do you have?
Our commissions include 13 shopfront designs in Walthamstow, an installation in the V&A, several private residential designs and a graphic installation for Camden Collective. We have fun and unusual projects; small and medium scale; temporary and permanent.

What are your ambitions?
We want to keep the practice to between two and five people. Each of our projects invariably has a playful side: colour, shape and narrative are our regular tools. Teaching has always been one of our ambitions as well. We are approaching universities to run workshops on using a filming technique we have developed, recently on show at the V&A.

How optimistic are you?
We had awesome advice from Maria Smith and Je Ahn at Studio Weave and Dele Adeyemo at Pidgin Perfect, among other inspiring, young start-ups. We were told that, when we get the scent of a great project, to give it all our designer energy, and not to be paralysed by profitability or administration. We were also told the opposite; be careful and mindful of the risks and liability. So just now we are navigating between these two wisdoms.

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