The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at architects who have recently decided to go it alone
James Wells Architects, Farringdon, London
Founded November 2013
Main people James Wells
Where have you come from?
The firm has been restructured from Wells Mackereth Architects, which James Wells established in 1995 following seven years at Stanton Williams.
What work do you have?
Commercial office buildings, a wide range of residential development projects, as well as several private houses. Cafés, bars and restaurants are also a focus.
What are your ambitions?
The current team has nine staff, we are planning to build up to 15-20 people and to move into new offices in 2015. We want to be known for clever solutions to technically challenging briefs.
What are your biggest challenges as a start-up?
One of the biggest challenges has been client confidence to proceed, this is less of an issue right now. The ongoing vagaries of the planning system and the blunting effect of design and build causes frustration. As a small firm, we can generate design solutions quickly; allowing a faster route to implementation. The economy seems to be picking up – particularly in London – though for how long remains to be seen.
Which scheme in the last five years has inspired you most?
The Shard creates a beautiful, ephemeral presence in the London skyline. I enjoy catching unexpected glimpses of it.
How do you market yourself?
Online platforms, competitions and targeting potential clients.