David Chipperfield at the residence of photographer Nick Knight:’ The whole street lobbied against it, writing to Prince Charles to try to have it stopped.’ Photograph: Michael Franke/ The Guardian
In 1990, when I was in my mid-3 0s and still quite inexperienced, I was approached by the style photographer Nick Knight and his wife, Charlotte, to expand their London home. They were living in a postwar live that Nick’s father had constructed. Nick required a studio upstairs and more seat for his young family. At the time, I had a small office of four or five people and we were working with the designer Issey Miyake on a number of store interiors in Japan. This was my firstly building.
I was aroused about everything I was seeing in Japan at the time: they tend to treat the plot as part of the house. Most of Nick’s neighbours wasted a lot of coin on their facades; we did the opposite. We were focused on how the house and garden could connect. We caused a large concrete frame that provided out from the side of the house, which had the consequences of the partially enclosing a courtyard garden. It too meant that the angle of the living room could be opened up, without a supporting line, framing a judgment into the garden, creating an outside room that feels like an indoor one.
We objective up with a fight on our hands. The whole street lobbied against it, writing to Prince Charles to try to have it stopped. The beings across the road obstructed their screens reaped for a couple of years in assert. It was an introduction to conservative English taste, which was quite shocking. It wasn’t that the house was too big; it was that the front didn’t look like the other houses in the street. That was the worst part of the process for me. Once we started to build, it was easy by comparison.
Designing and building rooms for beings is a delicate process, which is why I exclusively take on one or two at a time. Success depends much needed on how you develop a path of being personal and professional: that relationship is critical.
This was the first time I had a central opinion to my work- the idea of creating an expansive opinion in a suburban street- and it is a strategy I’ve lived by since. The home has been part of Nick and Charlotte’s life for 30 years and I think it has helped them formulate a work-life balance. Nick’s work is incredibly intense and demanding, yet he is dedicated to his family. I like to think the house has played a role.
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