The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at those who have recently decided to go it alone
Practice name Ruffnassetti
Main people Paul Ruff and Federico Nassetti
Where have you come from?
We met seven years ago at AHMM after working for Ian Ritchie (Ruff) and Claudio Silvestrin (Nassetti).
What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for?
Currently our largest job is a mixed-use scheme for a city block in Barking with retail and 100 residential units. The experience we gained on larger schemes has helped show our new clients that we are a safe pair of hands.
Continued support from AHMM has been amazing, with breakfast mentoring by Simon Allford and recommendations and guidance from Paul Monaghan.
What are your ambitions?
We would like to ensure discussions about architecture, development and importantly life, feed into our work.
What are the biggest challenges facing yourself as a start-up?
Skill in enhancing the initial client brief with innovative and viable responses takes time and experience. One key challenge is to build relationships and working processes so we can develop with the client.
How did you win your first significant job?
Through recommendation. Our Barking mixed-use scheme is probably our most significant, and we are looking to create a well-conceived and valuable piece of new city. Varying scale has helped develop an ethos of clear ideas and innovative technical solutions.
What is your approach to winning new clients and convincing them to employ you?
Dedicating time engaging existing and new clients and trying to avoid the hard sell, which we realised can be counterproductive. We hope our passion and ability shows clients we can produce something better than they imagined.
Which scheme, completed in the last five years, has inspired you most?
Grafton Architects’ Luigi Bocconi University in Milan acts as a filter between city and university and somehow manages to be discreetly monumental at the same time.
How are you marketing yourselves?
Repeat clients with larger schemes and recommendations have been invaluable, as well as being invited by the RIBA as an emerging practice to MIPIM and being an RIBA Chartered Practice.