It becomes increasingly clear that it is lifestyle, or the dream of a particular lifestyle, that drives most of our clients to extend or alter their house. This may sound fairly obvious, but it is important for me as a designer to understand because it means that I have to change the way which I approach a design project. Long gone are the days when our typical client wanted just another room. Clearly, the need for an extra bedroom or larger cooking space can still be a driving force, but so often now it is a desire for a ‘beautiful space’, as seen in a magazine or more likely an architectural TV program such as Grand Designs or George Clarkes Amazing Spaces, which causes them to contact us.
This is why clients are often showing me an example of an interior design which they really like. Even the way they do this has changed. It used to be clipping from a magazine that our client had been cherishing for months or even years perhaps, but now it is a bookmarked page on Pinterest or Houzz more often.
In some ways, all this has made the work of an architect or interior designer easier because the client can point the designer in the right stylistic direction but of course it also makes a client more design savvy and demanding. Good thing too I say, since it may well sort out the wheat from the design chaff. Now, here is the interesting thing for me. My company, Building Tectonics are neither architects, nor interior designers, so how come we keep getting asked to do this type of work? The simple answer to this is that we are good at producing spaces that give the client what they want. We have a good feel for it, and we can often do it without rebuilding the whole house or spending your money for you on expensive wallpaper.
Frankly, we can do it on the cheap. Essentially we are Technologists and we understand the technology of space, or rather how to produce it. Sounds a bit pretentious I know, and I am sorry about that, if you have a better explanation I would be interested to hear it.
A very influential architect, Richard Meier, once said “the architect has to think of the original material of architecture; space and light”. This is true, but you also have to think of the stuff that is between the spaces and also the surfaces which the light can play on. We also have to keep our feet on the ground. I want clients to bring their high expectations to me and I certainly do not want to squash that expectation. We will then do our best to make them happen in a practical, sensible way. This is actually the way to make sure that they get built.
We also like to return the favour and show clients what design ideas we have found for interiors and parts of the house by sharing our boards on pinterest with them. www.pinterest.com/btectonics in case you’re curious.
Written by Tony Keller – Building Tectonics Ltd.