Blurring innocence and experience: William Smalley and the architecture of connectivity.
In November 2018, themodernhouse.com cited London-based architect William Smalley as one of, ´The best British architects to follow on Instagram.’ It’s easy to see why. His endlessly photogenic work juxtaposes old and ultramodern in a way that denotes a deep empathy for both, as well as a respect for nature and a lifelong fascination with the limitless potential of the built environment. Nick Mitchell Maiato was delighted to ask him a few questions regarding his life’s work.
The cult of Corian® – 52 years of stunning surfaces
People who like Corian don’t just like Corian. They love it. We should know – it´s our biggest seller by a country mile. Customers regularly send us emails of thanks, often months after it was installed in their bathrooms, to tell us how gorgeous it looks, how well it performs as a material and how they’re thinking of having their next project done in it, too.
(And, hey, if you’ve shopped with us and are reading this, please feel free to do the same – we’re suckers for a kind word.)
Our own Sales Rep loves Corian so much, she not only sells it, she’s got it in her own bathroom too, which you can see, here, at the top of the page (cat not included.)
So, what is it about this stunning, non-porous, heat-resistant, 10-year-guaranteed, scratch-resistant, seamless, renewable material that makes it so attractive? Ha ha, very funny – yes, there’s an ‘asked and answered’ question, if ever there was one. In short, Corian is awesome.
Absorbed by nature: architecture that blurs distinctions between the outdoors and the built environment
We live in a world increasingly occupied by technology. The way we consume literature, art and entertainment has reduced our reliance on stuff to a bare minimum. The Internet of Things has enabled us to control everything from our central heating to our lighting remotely from the other side of the world, if we so choose, without the bulk of controls and switches.
Those of us fortunate enough to have accumulated space amidst the growing population now have more of it to play with, as a result. For architects, this has created an aesthetic playground in terms of learning how to design for a life less occupied by the bulk of necessity. And it’s a playground that increasingly looks to nature for its inspiration.
Meanwhile, for those of us enmeshed in the compact life of the world’s bustling cities, the resultant minimalism demanded by technology and population growth has driven us to seek out new ways to reconnect with nature in ways previously unavailable amidst the concrete jungle. Thus, creating even more opportunities for the innovators of architecture, keen to meet the growing demand for greener living.
Wood, glorious wood – our ongoing obsession with natural materials in Interior Design
We’re all connoisseurs here, right? We all keep our eyes on material innovations and developments in interior design. And, yet, as remodeling obsessives, we nevertheless can’t get away from the fact that, of all the materials out there, good old-fashioned wood continues to hold a special place in our hearts. So, what is it about this wonderful product of the earth that makes it so homely, even within the most luxurious, hyper-modern interiors?
God has Left the Building: The UK Church Conversion Boom
In Whalley Range in South Manchester stands the old St. Edmund’s Church: a great, imposing, though somewhat squat gothic building (there wasn’t enough money for Manchester’s first architect Henry Price to include a spire in his original design) with stunning stained-glass windows all around its large front column and centrepiece.
Bought by property developers Gill and John Nono in 2002, who spent £2m on its conversion into high-spec residential apartments, the building now houses elite suburbanites willing to spend upwards of £215k on a flat within its confines, the price, of course, dependent on size, spec and natural light.
In the plot directly next door stands a small, somewhat scruffy, single-storey, redbrick building that’s more glorified portacabin than reverential tribute to ‘Our Lord who art in Heav’n’. And, yet, it is within this latter construction – also now named St. Edmund’s Church – that today’s parishioners go to worship the very same God who once took up residence in the big, fancy house next door. ‘Downsizing,’ we call it in the trade. And yet, all jokes aside, a clear example of the steep decline of Christianity in the UK.
In his celebrated and hugely influential 1973 book, Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered, German ‘Buddhist Economist’ E.F. Schumacher wrote that, “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger… but it takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” And yet, three decades later, by the turn of the 21st Century, it appeared that such ‘intelligent foolishness’ continued to prevail in the realm of architecture.