De­sign note­book

HOME Magazine NZ - - Design Notebook - Q&A with Nat Cheshire and Ian Scott of Cheshire Ar­chi­tects

Why was it im­por­tant to you to take on this project?

NAT CHESHIRE Jeremy and Cameron’s apart­ment is the lat­est in a string of very small projects we’ve built in the last few years, clients who have all been so brave and are very pre­cious to us. We’re as proud of a strange and beau­ti­ful wash­room as we are a thriv­ing city block. The tiny scale of this work af­fords us an op­por­tu­nity to at­mo­spher­i­cally tune space to very fine in­cre­ments. In lit­tle rooms like th­ese, clar­ity and sub­tlety of com­po­si­tion, ma­te­rial and de­tail be­come enor­mously pow­er­ful tools. They also cre­ate a dis­ci­pline in our prac­tice that echoes into our larger work. It’s a vi­tal part of who we are, and who we want to be: the de­sign­ers of whole cities... from city blocks to door han­dles.

What were the par­tic­u­lar op­por­tu­ni­ties this pre­sented to you as de­sign­ers?

NC The great op­por­tu­ni­ties were hu­man: to be­come a very in­ti­mate part of the lives of two bril­liant peo­ple, and to work in great de­tail with crafts­peo­ple such as the cabi­net­maker Cliff Arm­strong and his team at Es­sex Cab­i­net­mak­ers, and Tim Eng­land and Scott Blake­lock at Early Bird Con­struc­tion, our build­ing con­trac­tors on this job. They did a very care­ful job and man­aged a few curve­balls from the ex­ist­ing build­ing. Be­cause there were few things to dis­cuss – whether it be the rit­u­als of one’s do­mes­tic life or the dif­fer­ence be­tween two types of hinge – one is af­forded the op­por­tu­nity to dig very deep into those re­la­tion­ships.

Was there was any as­pect of this project that was the hard­est to sell to the clients, and if so, what?

IAN SCOTT The bath­room was chal­leng­ing but Jeremy and Cameron were both ea­ger to en­ter­tain ideas and were re­cep­tive of the di­rec­tion we sought. Nat had de­signed a sim­i­lar room in his own home and be­ing able to take them there helped. We think they un­der­stood that there is too of­ten a level of ex­pe­ri­en­tial waste in the way we make bath­rooms – the ster­ile na­ture, chrome fit­tings, and ar­ti­fi­cial lin­ings. In this con­tained, in­te­rior space, we took a lit­tle lib­erty to break from the mod­ernist palette of the build­ing and cre­ate this con­trast­ingly at­mo­spheric sanc­tu­ary with small pools of soft light il­lu­mi­nat­ing warm, nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als – like a kind of spa, a spa­tial and psy­cho­log­i­cal re­treat.

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