The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at those who have recently decided to go it alone
Practice name: Periscope
Where: Bermondsey, London
Founded: Summer 2015
Main people: Daniel Rea (landscape architect) and James Hampton (architect)
Where have you come from?
We first worked together at Studio Egret West, where Daniel was a landscape architect and James was associate director. While there James worked on Park Hill in Sheffield and more recently the London Underground Design Idiom.
Dan has since worked for VOGT on the Tate II landscape and was a director at Martha Schwartz Partners.
What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for?
We set up the practice to have an equal emphasis on landscape and architecture, this means we always have an eclectic mix of projects, which we like. Currently we’re working on an estate regeneration public realm project in Hackney, the landscape for a number of social housing developments and some residential architecture projects in London and around the UK.
We’ve also some installation type projects, which are on a smaller scale but we consider as being in the ‘public realm’. Our projects are most interesting when we get to combine our thinking about landscape and architecture. We’re doing this with a few projects, most notably our arts centre in Kampala, Uganda (see AJ 19.10.16).
What are your ambitions?
We’d like our clients to recognise us for having the right mix of experience and nimbleness; for being able to be inventive whilst caring about and understanding a project’s delivery; and for having a true passion for craft, materials and detail.
Our ambition is to gently grow the practice over the next few years to a size where we can take on the type and breadth of projects we want. This probably means around 20-25 people eventually. We’d like to be known for delivering exceptional combined landscape and architecture projects.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a start-up and for the profession generally?
Our necessary start-up mantra was: ‘Say yes to everything for the first year’. We’ve generally stuck to that, but more recently we’ve avoided projects or clients which we don’t think suit us.
Finding and winning the type of projects we want is always a challenge and of course we’ve had all the usual issues which start-ups face: finding work; managing cashflow; finding the right staff and making sure we spend enough time with our young families.
Some of the most relevant and frequently offered advice has been ‘do a good job, get a good job’. It sounds obvious but actually delivering on projects whilst trying to develop the practice is a fine balance, we work hard to try to get that right.
Which scheme, completed in the past five years, has inspired you most?
We both really like the work of Olson Kundig.
How are you marketing yourselves?
We use a range of means to market ourselves, including our website and social media - but we find most of our commissions come through our contacts. We often collaborate with other architects and find this is a good way for us to learn from others and also expand our network.
020 7965 07574