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Russian for Fish’s new studio space is set up for collaborative work

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The 70m² space in Bethnal Green is designed to accommodate both the practice and five other small architecture practices

This self-designed studio space is three times the size of the practice’s previous one, which was located in the same complex in Bethnal Green’s Durham Yard. 

The building is a fin de siècle industrial building that once housed the workshops of cabinet makers and is situated in the Old Bethnal Green Road Conservation Area.

The dual-aspect, high-ceilinged space has been designed to nurture a collaborative atmosphere, with Russian for Fish joined in the studio by founding director Pereen d’Avoine’s father’s firm Pierre d’Avoine Architects, as well as four smaller practices.

White walls and mid-grey floors are designed to lend a neutral backdrop to the bespoke fixtures and furniture, created with designer Gavin Coyle, with the aim of creating a simple material palette of lightly steamed beech and oiled Valchromat fibreboard. 

Zetteler rff new studio selection photo by peter landers 06

Used for cupboard fronts, bookshelves, desktops and display shelves, the midnight blue Valchromat is intended to create a visual thread drawing the eye through the space, with the solid beech of Coyle’s tapered table legs in tonal contrast.

With its subtle pale pink undertones, the beech was chosen to complement the brass of the Tala LED pendant lights that illuminate the space, and the gold of Russian for Fish’s ironmongery designs, which feature on the cupboard doors.

One wall is lined with a full-width bookshelf, a series of low-level units used for storing office essentials, and topped with a display shelf for the practice’s architectural models. In the central area are three desk spaces and a large meeting table with a speckled white tabletop by Smile Plastics, created from the lids and labels of recycled yoghurt pots (a nod to Russian for Fish’s emphasis on material sustainability). A second display unit beside the table serves as a privacy screen for client meetings.

Zetteler rff new studio selection photo by peter landers 07

Architect’s view

Architecture studios are busy places – we have samples everywhere, cladding tests, models, drawings, prints etc – so the underlying space needed to be calm. It was important that the studio was functional on a daily basis but could also be a showroom. Now, we can invite clients to the office; they can see our door handles in use; they can understand our attention to detail and the level of finish we aspire to; and they can appreciate the holistic vision we bring to a space and the talent of the designers we collaborate with.

Pereen d’Avoine, founding director, Russian for Fish

Zetteler russian for fish new studio unit 16  04 section

Project data 

Start on site 
January 2018
January 2018
Gross internal floor area 70m2
Construction cost £17,500 (inc. VAT)
Construction cost per m²
 £ 42 (inc. VAT)
Russian for Fish
Client Russian for Fish
Furniture designer Gavin Coyle
Lighting Tala
Surfaces Valchromat
Meeting table top Smile Plastics
Main contractor Peridot Design and Build
CAD software used 
Vectorworks & SketchUp

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