The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at architects who have recently decided to go it alone either through choice or redundancy
One-World Design, Battersea
Founded: September 2011
Main people: Chris Medland (director); with Richard Arnold, Chris Okoro and Stephen Lam
Where have you come from?Chris was an associate at BDP’s London office for seven years and worked for Jestico+Whiles before that.
What work do you have and what kind of projects are you looking for? We’re working at all scales, from small interior design and residential refurbishment work to a mixed use development of around 100 homes and a hotel. Generally the work is focused on the residential and hotel sector. However we’ve also worked up designs for a new bridge.
What are your ambitions? A former boss at BDP once said to me that there was only one way to eat an elephant - one small piece at a time; this has been my motto for the past 12 months or so. Small steps in the right direction, but keep going in that direction and hopefully build up momentum with time. One-world design started as a manifesto, we have ideas about architecture and society that we would like to put into practice, if this works and our projects are well received then the idea could roll out further afield.
How optimistic are you as a start-up practice? The recession has given the construction industry time to draw breath, re-evaluate priorities and respond to the changing market. It has been horrible for lots of architects, in the long run however it may turn out to be good for society as the boom and culture developing in the noughties was unsustainable in every way. It would seem that economics will continue to suffer aftershocks for a few years to come but fundamentally life goes on.
People need somewhere to live, to be educated, to work and to play and the architecture of these places will need to respond to our new context – economically and environmentally.
How are you marketing yourselves? We enjoy entering design competitions, with recent submissions for the Almost Home, Capithetical and Amsterdam Bridge competitions, and we attend local business events. Our projects have arisen through personal contacts rather than marketing. With time we expect this to change.
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