Raw Spirit

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Shape have designed, fabricated and fitted an intensive range of joinery for a range of clients across London, from bars to bedroom joinery. When Mike and Tim approached us last year, we were presented with a very different kind of project. They had acquired an old horsebox wished to completely strip it out, transforming it into a cocktail bar.

Shape met with Mike and Tim to find out more about their bar concept - Raw Spirit. Both are rugby players, therefore naturally health conscious and careful what they put in their bodies to ensure they're in 'shape' to play and train. They noticed at matches that vendors would sell sugary cocktails and beers but there didn’t seem to be a healthier alternative. Tim and Mike discovered a niche in the market and jumped on it. They wanted to offer a healthy cocktail, made from 100% cold pressed fruit & vegetable juice with no added syrups, sugars or flavourings, mixed with premium spirits. Raw Spirit was born and Shape started developing the concept further.

Mirna, one of our designers at Shape, explains the design concept and material choices further. 

'We wanted the interior of the horsebox to reflect the honesty of their concept and to be true to the materials we would select. The guys were keen to accentuate some of the horsebox features and bring through an industrial aesthetic, we also looked for inspiration from the layout of traditional greengrocers and pharmacies. Shape developed the material palette with a modern approach. We kept the material palette simple and neutral, utilising Birch ply and Glacier White Corian to achieve a clean ‘Raw’ backdrop for storing and showcasing the colourful ingredients. We surveyed the horsebox and started developing the concept and looked at how they could best maximise the amount of storage and display space. It was a challenge, we needed to fit in all of the necessary equipment and allow enough area for working whilst maintaining an uncluttered, clean aesthetic. All low level doors were designed to slide, which made working in the van as efficient and easy as possible. We combined a couple of themes when specifying luminaries. We used old style bulkhead lighting on the exterior and created a built in light-box, both of which resonate an industrial aesthetic, balanced with a clinical and minimal approach for the internal ceiling and feature lighting. When it came to fitting out the horsebox, the Birch Ply cladding on the walls and ceiling were a particularly intricate task, ensuring no further head height was lost.' 

A couple of months on from completion, Mike and Tim have successfully served at a number of games and events. We are delighted to hear that the space is working to their needs, and that our empathetic and tailored approach to the joinery has helped to assist in creating an organised space which allows for efficient workflow, without compromising on style. Raw Spirit will be hosting at a number of rugby matches and events over the next coming year and are bookable for hire, so get down and see it for yourself and try one of their refreshing cocktails!

Tall Townhouses

 
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We are excited to be working on an installation for this year's Clerkenwell Design Week.  Following on from the success of The Playbox last year, we have partnered with Hakwood, who have been involved in feature installations at CDW for the past two years.

Shape has been asked to work on designs for an installation to sit by the entrance to Spa Fields.  The installation acts as the first of the 'Clerkenwell Features,' to visitors coming from the North of the festival, welcoming them to Design Fields and CDW.

We kicked the design process off with a historical investigation of the Park to see if events of the past could inform a site-specific installation. It seems that Spa Fields Park has a very rich history. During the 19th century, the fields were described as having been 'the summer's evening resort of the townspeople, who came hither to witness the rude sports that were in vogue, such as duck-hunting, prize fighting and bull baiting'. In the 1800's the site was run as a burial ground, that became so overcrowded, became a target for grave robbers. The burial ground was finally closed in 1853 and in 1886 was transformed into a public park. The consistent story throughout the centuries was how enclosed Spa Fields Park was, which explains why the tightly knitted residential fabric around the site is so important.  

Looking for a more upbeat influence, we started to look at what Hakwood and Shape could bring to the site from their homes of South East London and Holland. After a weekend in Amsterdam, it became apparent Holland is synonymous for its 'tall Dutch townhouses'. It quickly became clear there were strong links between the Dutch Townhouse and the Georgian urban design of Clerkenwell. Shape has recently moved its design office to Dragonfly Place in South East London, which again take on a tall terraced house form, striking a strong resemblance to the built environment of Holland and Clerkenwell.

After a number of days of working on design ideas in the studio, we started to develop our approach to creating a pop-up street scene of tall townhouses to connect all three localities of Clerkenwell, Dragonfly Place and Holland. We also wanted to highlight the growing design community in South East London. In particular, the Architectural community that Shape is working with to deliver bespoke joinery projects for. To activate the pop up streetscape, we suggested to Hakwood that we engage with the local architectural community, to design bespoke interiors for the terrace.  This would then highlight the growth of the South East London Architectural community to the city and international market beyond. It also highlights the close relationship between Architect, Supplier (Hakwood) and Maker (Shape).

Designing across countries can be challenging however from the initial concept idea, Hakwood has fully embraced the design and premise of the installation. We have worked together to present a feature for Clerkenwell that embodies the nature of the festival. We will share with you more images as we develop the design but until then please see some precedents from our concept sheet.

We are excited about highlighting the design community in SE London, all studio below will design and curate an interior. 

Gruff Architects, Selenky Parsons, Fraher Architects, Stolon Studio, Bam, Grey GriffithsGreen Tea

Behind Closed Doors

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We are delighted to reveal ‘Behind Closed Doors’ in collaboration with Hakwood.

We are happy to announce Hakwood will be present at Clerkenwell Design Week sponsoring an installation for the third year in a row, This year they will collaborate with Shape London, offering a fresh design perspective. 

Hakwood’s ‘Behind Closed Doors’ will be a 3.2 m high installation designed and fabricated by Shape London. It will be a miniature street-scape that draws inspiration from the Dutch home of Hakwood as well as Shapes’ South East London Design Studio.

Shape London will design a pop up street scene of tall town houses located at the entrance to Spa Fields, in close proximity to the Exmouth Market area. The decorative houses will be clad with Hakwood Wall Tiles where each house will have its own unique pattern sharing the same colour pallet. Each house includes a small door revealing a series of miniature interiors designed by various architects from Shape’s Dragon Fly Place Collective demonstrating that any interior, any décor is an open door for creative inspiration. The hidden rooms will be placed at various heights to invite visitors to interact with the installation and ‘discover’ all the rooms. Each of these miniature scenes will contain Hakwood flooring and be decorated by a different architecture practice from the South East London community to create a true mix of design styles.

We look forward to welcoming you at Clerkenwell Design week. 

Shape are hiring

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We are preparing for a very busy 2018, which means a bigger team. We have two job vacancies on sites across London and in our South East London workshop,  we are looking for a Workshop Assistant and Experienced Joiner / Carpenter. 

If either roles are of interest, please email lizzie@shapelondon.co with your CV and portfolio attached. The closing date for both roles is the 9th March 2018, all successful applicants will be called to interview the week commencing 12 th March.

We will review all application received, however due to the high volume of applications we will only contact those who are called for interview. 

We look forward to receiving your application. 

A helping hand

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In collaboration with SODA, Shape London provided joinery as part of a community initiative for the Childhood Trust at the Venture Centre. Based in North Kensington, the Venture Centre delivers children and adult community services. It is also home to the UK’s oldest adventure playground ( we did not manage to try it out).

The aim? To create a more welcoming and accommodating space for all users. Between all contributors, we have managed to create a revitalized entrance space, dedicated staff room, bespoke desk and work spaces. All together, a happier community centre.

Following the collaboration SODA commented: “Your generosity in time, materials and expertise have allowed us to transform a space used by so many less fortunate than ourselves, and make a positive difference to the day-to-day life of the community at the Venture Centre.” Russell Potter RIBA, Director, SODA.

If you can't beat them, join them!

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Shape London has started to work with a number of leading architectural practices in London, to assist with the delivery of their bespoke joinery packages. At present, this covers the private residential sectors as well as the commercial sector. We talked to Lizzie, Director at Shape;

How does this help practices and what are we learning?

Shape London was set up as the delivery vehicle for all of the bespoke joinery that we were designing for our Fraher Architects projects. As an architectural practice, we had struggled to find a consistent provider for the joinery we were designing that did not provide the following problems:

- Not following the drawings

- Poor level of finish

- Lack of adaptability with respect to materials and finishes

- No overall coordinator to arrange a number of different specialists trades ie. metalworker, stonemason, AV specialist and joiner.

 -Not following the drawings (did I say that already?)

So what was your solution?

As such, we started to work with a good joiner that we found through a contractor who began to work exclusively for Fraher Architects.  Over a short period of time, we realised that to keep up with the delivery of our work we required an alternative cutting process.  At the time one of our associate architects and his bench joiner brother (our wonderful co-directors Rob and Rich) bought a CNC machine and began to provide all the cutting power for our joiner to then install.  Fast forward two years to 2015 and several large scale joinery contracts later, and Shape London was born.  

Why did you decide to branch out to Architects?

As Shape had been born out of fulfilling a making and procurement need for one architecture practice, we started to discuss the idea of working with other architectural practices to support them in the making of the joinery elements of their projects. Again and again, we came across the same procurement and making issues that we had experienced in the architecture practice, the same issues that Shape was resolving. We have been able to provide technical feedback where necessary, and offer a design facilitator and production arm to these practices so that they can achieve the concepts behind their projects within their joinery offering.

So, what is in the pipeline?

Exciting conversations are happening with emerging and well as established practices and we love working with like minded designers! We also understand the role of the architect within a traditional, D&B and Management contract situation and can provide the design team with early stage feedback to assist with budget analysis and programme.

Its an exciting time in the studio and we hope to work with more and more architects as a making arm for all the wonderful projects that you are working on.  Get in touch with the studio if there are any projects that you want to discuss.

C.P.D - Challenge.To.Present.Differently

  Lizzie presents with coffee and cake @Sodalondon

Lizzie presents with coffee and cake @Sodalondon

 

Three out of four of the Directors of Shape are Architects. As such, we have sat through many of CPD's in the office covering a range of topics, some of interest, others less so. In the past year, we have started our own CPD series; a complete role reversal! Shape wanted to present  differently - gone are the lunches of quietly munching lunch whilst taking in the CPD presentation. Instead, we considered the time poor, content driven generation to provide a "mobile CPD",  presented during a coffee break or before evening drinks, as a response to the needs of Architects and Designers.  

Step into our presenters shoes, we talked to Lizzie, Director at Shape.

So what does a Shape CDP entail? 

"Learning from experience, we like to keep our CPD's short and sweet (30 mins max) with a lot of visual content. This includes images from our projects, a photographic narrative of our work processes, a virtual visit to our workshop and an open feedback session to discuss how we can respond to a practice's design and making needs."

How do you find presenting to different practices?

"Presenting to a room full of experienced design professionals is dynamic and challenging.  Every practice is different, and it is exciting to see how Shape can work with each practice to assist in the delivery of the bespoke joinery contracts. We also have understood that our model needs to be adaptable, organic to work with each practice".

"Since starting our CPD,  we have learnt a lot about how different practices operate, procuring joinery, working with contractors and managing a strict programme. The great thing to hear is that we all struggle with similar issues as architects and as fabricators. We totally understand and sympathize with procurement and budgeting challenges. We look to creatively solve both issues, by utilizing our talented team of designers and makers."

The very concept of Shape London was born out of the same struggle, however Shape acted as a tool to support the studio at Fraher Architects with interior packages. Shape are now able to support design practices across London in a similar way. We hope to provide a welcome relief from the usual, and present the CPD that you remember!

Please contact the office to discuss booking in Shape London: lizzie@shapelondon.co 

In Detail - The Signal House

  Interior View of the Kitchen and Living Area at the Signal House

Interior View of the Kitchen and Living Area at the Signal House

 

The Signal House is not a listed building, however careful thought has gone into introducing period elements in a contemporary way, to create a house bursting with character in a modern aesthetic. Our Designer - Mirna, leads you around the house, exploring specific details and materials used. 

"Walking through the front door you are greeted with an open plan living space, hand painted V-groove wall panelling clads the perimeter of the ground floor. A feature staircase is suspended in the centre of the room, the  delicate black spindle balustrade contrasts with the ash flooring and Farrow and Ball Slacked Lime panelling.

Moving upstairs the spindles are exchanged for ash cladding. On the first and second floors we have two twin rooms and a master suite. Bespoke ash beds sit against panelled headboards. Every effort has been made to create as much storage as possible, the beds have pull out drawers and shelving, and all of the rooms have built in wardrobes. V- groove panelling is reintroduced on the doors of the wardrobes and bespoke handles with ash detailing creates a pop of colour against the Slaked Lime sprayed doors.

This particular handle detail can be seen in many areas of the house, the wardrobes, the bespoke room doors and even the kitchen cabinets, this attention to detail has created a distinct design language throughout the house.

The kitchen sits in the extended lower level of the the house. Ash doors with recessed bronze handle details dress the kitchen. Carrara quartz worktops slice through the back wall cabinets and create a full wall splashback which also folds over the entire kitchen island. Stained dark grey ash panelling clads the back of the island and extractor housing this statement finish helps marry all the materials and finishes together.

Finally, over the four floors house there are many nooks which have been have been attentively designed and filled with pieces of joinery to create snugs and areas to escape and relax. The natural palette combined with the thoughtful approach to detailing has created a timeless aesthetic, full of charm and sophistication.

The Playbox - Clerkenwell Design Week

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Shape London have been working in collaboration with Fraher Architects on a bespoke compact installation for the 2017 Clerkenwell Design Week. Shape London create bespoke furniture from concept design, to manufacture and installation. This creative collaboration has allowed Shape to combine the director's previous architectural, design and joinery expertise. As regular visitors to Clerkenwell Design Week, we sought to be involved this year with the aim of creating something that can be enjoyed by all users, whilst supporting the social dynamic that is inherent to the festival.

The Playbox was initially presented as a 1200mm x 600mm unit, based on a standard double cupboard. The concept was to manipulate and activate each elevation in every detail. The Playbox would store items that support the user's experience, facilitating a place to entertain, socialise and play. It was conceived as a mobile unit that would visit different sites during the festival around Clerkenwell. The Playbox will be made at Shape London's 5000 sqft workshop and embodies a number of working details, each integrated handle design will vary, each door will open uniquely, with the box reverting to its original form when not in use.

After receiving interest from the Clerkenwell events team, we started to think about how the Playbox could assist events, how it would be managed and where it would be located. We believed that multiple play boxes could form different characters around Clerkenwell, distinguished by size and build material. Whilst having individually distinct persona's, they would reference back to one another and serve as visual markers around the festival.

Clerkenwell sought for the first playbox to be located in Design Fields, inhabited by Newby Teas for the duration of the festival. A fresh conversation with CDW and Newby Teas commenced whereby the Playbox grew into a 'Big Sister,' installation, increasing to a 1200mm x 1200mm unit. The Shape London design team started to look into the influence of antique tea caddies and carpentry that has supported the tea industry over the centuries. This Playbox adopts the character of an ornate modern day tea caddy which is beautifully yet discreetly decorated. The Big Sister will be made from black multi-wall, a versatile and sleek material which has been kindly provided by James Latham. She will open to serve the tea and when closed continues to sit as a bespoke piece of furniture to be admired from every angle.

Soon after, Pentagon and Peronda Tiles sought to collaborate with our team to facilitate a second Playbox. They wanted to inhabit the original Playbox design for the duration of the festival and after discussions with CDW, Brewhouse Yard became the home to the 'Little Brother' Playbox. The Playbox was to provide the same opportunity to socialise and entertain as initially intended, but would also provide Peronda with a place to exhibit their work and create a play event of their own. We thought to clad this Playbox in cork to create a textured contrast to the tiles which line the inside.

All our work at Shape London goes through a bespoke design process where all opportunities are explored through sketching and computer modelling, before being modelled in SolidWorks ready for fabrication.

Shape London utilises the latest digital fabrication techniques and machinery as well as drawing on years of bench joinery experience. Ultimately, we believe the precision of digital fabrication and the craft of bench joinery should work in harmony to create a truly unique and beautifully crafted piece of timeless furniture. The Playbox will be digitally fabricated to demonstrate the opportunities that modern methods of construction enable us to create, whilst showcasing the best of hand joinery detailing. We will be posting a Go Pro video from our workshop showing the production of the Playbox once complete.

We will be hosting a series of creative events during the festival, please check our website for the latest schedule.

We look forward to meeting you all at Clerkenwell Design Week - come see what we see.

The Shape London and Fraher Team

Sponsors:

James Latham have kindly provided all sheet material for both Playboxes.

Current Phase have kindly installed all electrics on both Playboxes.

Designer. Maker. User.

 
 

Three is the magic number. Designer, Maker, User.  

With the very nature of working on bespoke design projects, each brief  is unique, focusing on the Client's specific requirements and preferences. This can often be born out of a very definite and well-researched design brief, or sometimes can be much more of a protracted design process stemming from a collaborative design approach between the User, Designer and Maker.

Most Shape designs commence with a quick fluid sketch to scope out the basis of the design project.  This often starts with the configuration requirements of the pieces of furniture, closely followed by the concept of the pieces. For example,  fitted furniture may be a progression of timber finishes around the building.

Once the configuration of the furniture is agreed,  the Shape studio team start to experiment with contrasting materials and finishes.  As our work will form part of a wider considered internal context,  Shape will often take references from the existing material context.  Our designers like to be playful with palettes, which may result in an existing material being used and re-imagined in a different way.

 

 

  3D Sketch of proposed joinery and materials

3D Sketch of proposed joinery and materials

 

 

 

After the final design workshop with our Clients, the interior package is handed over to the in-house modelling and fabrication team. Shape's technical supervisor works with the design, creating an effective method of crafting and cutting the furniture. Computer modelling and CNC cutting enables our designers to apply a high level of precision to all individual pieces which does not detract from the 'hand made', tactile nature of all Shape joinery. 

Once the fabrication drawings are agreed the joinery is cut in our workshop and assembled by a highly skilled team of cabinet makers and finishers.  It is here that ever corner, joint, fixing and cabinet face is carefully checked, before  being sent to site for fitting.  

Designing does not finish with the assembly of the furniture. As a team of Designers, Technicians, Architects and Craftsmen, Shape prides itself on revisiting work to refine design process, exploring a previous detail helps to reinforce our own learning.

 

  Proposal for joinery detailing materials

Proposal for joinery detailing materials

The shape of things to come

 
     Welcome to Shape.   It has been an exciting month for us all in the run up to launching our new venture. We have many plans for the months ahead which we are eager to share with you.  After branding our new business, securing new suppliers and upgrading our machinery, we have finally moved into our new workshop in Woolwich. With our new facilities we are thrilled at the prospect of increasing our capacity and building our in-house joinery team. We warmly welcome two new carpenters to our team, along with a new workshop assistant. In addition, we are completing the fitout of two of our largest residential and commercial projects to date, which we are keen to share with you come Autumn.    All things wood and joinery aside, we anticipate opening our first showroom next year, along with a few home accessories (chopping boards ahoy) and seasonal  dining events with guest chefs. We hope you are able to be part of our journey at some point, whether you are a client, supplier or simply interested in our process and products. In the meantime, please follow Shapelondon on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on the latest updates and for a sneak peak of our latest projects.   Put simply; this is the Shape of things to come and we hope to meet you soon. 

 

Welcome to Shape.

It has been an exciting month for us all in the run up to launching our new venture. We have many plans for the months ahead which we are eager to share with you.

After branding our new business, securing new suppliers and upgrading our machinery, we have finally moved into our new workshop in Woolwich. With our new facilities we are thrilled at the prospect of increasing our capacity and building our in-house joinery team. We warmly welcome two new carpenters to our team, along with a new workshop assistant. In addition, we are completing the fitout of two of our largest residential and commercial projects to date, which we are keen to share with you come Autumn.  

All things wood and joinery aside, we anticipate opening our first showroom next year, along with a few home accessories (chopping boards ahoy) and seasonal  dining events with guest chefs. We hope you are able to be part of our journey at some point, whether you are a client, supplier or simply interested in our process and products. In the meantime, please follow Shapelondon on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on the latest updates and for a sneak peak of our latest projects. 

Put simply; this is the Shape of things to come and we hope to meet you soon.