If you can't beat them, join them!


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.