Its been a pretty quiet summer here, as most summers are in the building trade. We’d had some time off; Lewis has gone to Lewis and I’ve gone to Orkney – nothing tropical for us (not while the pound is worth less than an old crumpled Drachma) and both trips were pretty relaxing. The past few weeks seem like years as we have been solely doing warrant queries across a wide range of projects, from Type 23a Bothies to a £3 million industrial scheme. It is an endlessly frustrating experience and takes an inordinate amount of time – I’d like to loudly blame the local authority’s building standards departments for this - but it’s not their fault that their budgets have been slashed to preserve front line services. I wish someone further up the chain would realise how damaging it is to the economy to have projects tied up in a woefully underfunded statutory approvals system. In the meantime, we’re just getting on with it and beginning to prepare for our next round of projects for technical design. Most of them are starting on-site in January 2019 and are shown below. These consist of a very big house, a big house, a holiday lodge and a bothy – all of these projects are now in the detail design stage; I’m trying to find the elusive balance where all of the office’s projects are at different stages. Elusive.
So, after a long and tortuous winter of being on site through everything the weather could throw at us we are now finally basking in baking sunshine - and nothing is on site. Plenty of things all tee’d up and ready, plenty of things at tender stage but nothing giving us a reason to go out on a sunny day and do a site visit. However as plenty projects are finished - such as Lochend shown above, we still have an excuse to get out!
A couple of hospitality projects we have been working on recently are now open and trading successfully - Gather by Zique and the Bakery by Zique, both in Hyndland and both very much a product of the client/owner/proprietor’s force of will and imagination. Mhairi is always a joy to work with and suits our somewhat informal approach to these kinds of projects…whether it be these two distinctive businesses, Cottonrake or the soon to open 5March - it is the business owners that drive the concepts and agonize over every detail - what we tend to do is the initial spatial concepts - the flow and dwell of customers. Then its the nitty gritty spatial arrangements of squeezing big bulky catering and refrigeration equipment into tiny spaces to maximize the valuable floor-space and get more bums on seats. Then we get all of the required statutory permissions and are on call to quickly design small details, interfaces and finishes. We’ll certainly give our opinion on concepts/finishes/details and colours but our role is to support our clients in refining and delivering their concepts…these are always highly personal businesses and should always be a true reflection of the person behind them - not the whim of a designer. Its the client’s passion that makes these businesses what they are - not who they hire to draw stuff!