The latest in a series of practice profiles looking at architects who have recently decided to go it alone
William Matthews Associates, Clerkenwell, London
Founded January 2013
Main people William Matthews, Florian Ballan and William Conway
Where have you come from?
Matthews worked for Renzo Piano Building Workshop in Paris for 19 years. Ballan was there as well before working at Wilkinson Eyre. Conway has just arrived from New Zealand.
What work do you have?
Having spent 12 years working on the Shard, I was keen to do some smaller projects, and so far we have had some fun projects. Current schemes are a new house on the White Cliffs of Dover, a two-storey penthouse in Borough Market, a footbridge between two buildings in central London, a small new house in New Cross, and a rooftop bar and restaurant near London Bridge.
What are your ambitions?
The aim is to be big enough to do large projects, without becoming a big firm. Having spent half my life abroad and worked on projects all around the world, in the mid-long term I am keen to have projects overseas.
What are your biggest challenges as a start-up?
New firms are fragile, so choosing the right projects, clients and staff are critical. I suspect I have been overly cautious, but so far so good. The market does seem to be improving.
Which scheme in the last five years has inspired you most?
Yikes – it is also a tricky question because via the media we are aware of so much that we never see in reality. I would love to see some of Studio Mumbai’s works, but I have not yet.