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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Schwoerer Haus

Earlier this week, myself and some collaborators from Build Consutlants were invited to the factory of Schwoerer Haus, near Stuttgart, to see for ourselves how the flat pack houses they sell are made.  We have a few prospective sites where we could use the houses, which benefits include 30 year guarantee, lowering utilities to 20% of the original cost, and a crazy fast build time.  From paid deposit of 10%, it takes 12 weeks for your new house to be installed on site.  

Obviously this is a huge advantage for developers, and also for those looking for a more robust option other than the flimsy new-builds we see going up around the country.

5 weeks supply of Timber, all sorted by size by a giant sorting machine...  enough for 20 new houses.

The size of the factory blows you away, there is a shed the size of 2 football pitches, and the lumbar yard above.. all felled from nearby sustainable forests. The company produces all of it's building material on site from the wood (which is spruce) and incinerates any waste product in it's on-site power plant which produces enough electricity to power 60,000 homes. 

What astounded me about the product is that all but 2 of the 37,000 homes they have already built are unique.  With a seemingly infinite choice of finishes, they have a sampling centre where you can see all the materials you have, and pull together your mood board for your new home.  

Below are some of the show homes they had on site.  Gives you an idea of all the variations you can have.  Kind of blows any pre-conceptions about flat-packs out of the water.

Give me a bell if you want to find out more, a bit more information... too much to put in one post!  Hopefully we'll be seeing some of these in the UK soon...

Monday, 17 November 2014


I have finally made it to see Chipperfield's re-design of the Neues Museum in Berlin.  Beautiful detailing and conversations between different materials made the museum as much as a show-piece as the artefacts inside.

In contrast, Chipperfield has been commissioned to renovate Berlin's Modern Art Museum, Neue Nationalgalerie, and had installed an art piece "Sticks and Stone's" in the galleries main space before the work commences in 2015.  I can't wait to see how he and his team tackle the Mies van der Rohe building.... possibly more challenging than the  Neues museum in terms of critics!

We checked out the exhibitions there, I hope the redesign helps the space, a little bit crowded for me! Just some detail snaps of art works below.

Berlin itself was lovely and autumnal, staying in the district of Kruzenberg, we checked out the riverside street market, great cafes and bars.  Very laid back there! We'll be back soon. 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Ikon - Church Road Barnes

Last week saw the roof wetting soirĂ©e  of one of the first projects I embarked on as the independent entity of Catherine White Interiors.  From concept sketches three years ago, we are now almost finished!  Just a few finishing touches to go in along with the furniture and then we are done.  

The house is spread out over four entire floors of the prominent property overlooking Barnes Pond in South West London.  Two reception rooms (including an open plan kitchen and bar) a generous master suite with a steam room, along with a cinema room, maid's quarters, and two guest suites, and a study.

The planning concept behind the house was to keep the private spaces (suites and study) clearly separate from the more public spaces.  The client enjoys cooking and spending time with friends, so it made sense to create entertaining spaces that really work.  The two reception rooms are stacked one on-top of each other, so we opened up the floor to connect them and create one big party area.  This opens up onto a large deck and then one further.  No shortage of space, which was well used as he had 160 guests!

There is a clear circulation path through the property, with the stairs and lift in the same area allowing easy navigation of the large property.

The strongest design elements are the feature stair which is made of slate and steel and the void which exemplifies the minimalist ethos of the project, with it's fuss-free steel, glass and lighting elements.  The bar is made of Slate and Zinc and was a big hit with the guests, it's curvilinear shape contrasting with the rest of the property.

We kept the materials palate very minimal, only using steel, slate, glass, plaster and gorgeous large format timber in the main spaces.

A massive team effort, with a fantastic result!  

Slate and Steel Treads Cantilevered from the Structural Wall

Glass Ballustrade with Steel Wrap

Void connecting the two main entertaining spaces
Slate and Zinc Bar

Proving to be a great entertaining space

New lift for ease of circulation internally

Excited designer!  Great seeing my dreams come to life!

Team and Suppliers:

Project Manager : Avis Appleton and Associates
Contractor: M & J Development
Lighting Designer: Light IQ
Kitchen: Extreme Kitchens
Flooring: Texfield

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

The Serpentine Pavilion

I popped along to the Serpentine Gallery this week to look at the new Summer Pavilion.  Designed by Smiljan Radic, the Folly looks like a large chrysalis on top of some rocks.  I'm not too sure that was the look he was going for, but the texture of the fibreglass structure really comes into it's own when you are inside.  He was representing papier mache, and it definitely gave that effect.

Sharp LED lights with a "rubberised" diffuser snaked through the space, and distinctive cuts in the structure allowed views through to the surrounding park.  A stark contrast to the Serpentine Gallery itself, it had an air of "the space ship has landed". 

Probably not my favourite pavilion thus far on the outside, I loved the space on the inside.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Paphos - Mosaics

I have been lucky enough to go to Paphos recently to do some research for a resort I am working on there.  

I've always been interested in archaeology, and the mosaics in Paphos  did not disappoint!  Gorgeous patterns which look so fresh and modern, they wouldn't seen out of place in a contemporary interior, yet were made thousands of years ago.  

And here are a few shots around the gorgeous resort I am working on, so excited to be working with such a beautiful location!