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40 INSIGHTS


© NAARO Nutritious architecture


The firm brings all of its rich conceptual approach together under the umbrella term ‘nutritious architecture.’ While this does not mean a literal application of de Beaupuy’s nutritionist expertise, it encompasses a desire to create architecture which is nourishing, because it is “full of nutrients.” Says Bilska: “We see every element of a design within a space – materials, colours, proportions, form, and clients’ design intentions – as a nutrient, and will affect how people will feel in that space.” She adds: “We believe that every surface has a functionality and a relationship with the inhabitant and the environment.” Because of this, the firm tries to use only non-toxic and/or natural building materials, towards creating a healthy indoor climate. They see the holistic design approach they employ as closely aligned with the body itself. “We use it to nourish and nurture various systems in the human body,” says de Beaupuy. She identifies two aspects – firstly the simple fact that individuals each have a unique set of needs. Secondly, that humans are a “web of sophisticated physiological, mental, emotional, cultural and spiritual systems,” and these interlinking systems all affect each other.


Bilska explains further why a careful, bespoke response is required, referring to a completed project for a private client’s bathroom (pictured, above left): “For one person, a dark, warm, cave-like bathroom made of Tadelakt and climbing air filtering plants on a three-dimensional golden trellis will trigger physiological responses, hormones and neurotransmitters, and feelings and energy in a very tranquil, calm way. For another person, it will trigger responses of anxiety, stress and wanting to run away.”


Small is beautiful The practice admits that they “operate in an area that is quite niche.” With work thus far having transpired via word of mouth and recommendations, there has been a “filter effect of clients who are interested in what we do,” says Bilska. “We got to understand quite early on that our style and way of designing is not for everyone. This was extremely helpful to understand, and saved us a lot of energy and time.” De Beaupuy says: “It is key for our practice and business to interact with people who are sensitive to


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© Bilska de Beaupuy


our style and ethos, and from there, we adapt. In general, our clients tend to intuitively understand our ideas and suggestions.” The duo say clients have generally been “open and forward thinking,” and it’s been a case of open dialogue rather than pushing an agenda. “It all depends on how far the client wants to push the brief,” says Bilska; “the final decision always sits with the client.” She notes that the practice does input its knowledge on materials and their environmental impact in client discussions where possible however.


In order to move on from the first commission, Bilska de Beaupuy worked hard in competitions, design fairs, and industry and social networking across all sectors. “As a young business you can lose a lot of time trying to find a client if you don’t understand first exactly who your client is,” says de Beaupuy. “If you don’t, you will not find them.” In terms of goals, expansion is not the overriding aim, in fact in order to retain the focus on creativity and a quality service, Bilska de Beaupuy believe that “remaining small is key.” The similarly small scale of projects they have undertaken is also beneficial, “as it enables direct contact with the client and control over quality and design.” Bilska adds however that they are “currently at a key stage” and are considering recruiting a new team member, “which is exciting.” They say they will be looking to bring on board an architect who’s “ready to embrace projects that are creative, challenging and meaningful.” Also, although they have been focused on the residential and leisure sector thus far, they “welcome all design collaborations that could take us on the journey” in future. They note that they have found it essential for the client to engage with their vision, rather than, necessarily, the contractor. In terms of working with contractors, “it is crucial to discuss and agree the requirements of the project before any work is started.” Growing organically, as befits the focus on holistic aspects, Bilska de Beaupuy is a firm with a slightly different, highly creative approach to all aspects of design. They also bring a refreshing attitude to their work day, with early starts, regular breaks from the screen, and as much model-making, drawing and illustration as possible. The presence of their two dogs in the studio also means that they are required have to be out in the nature that inspires them, perhaps more than most! 


ADF FEBRUARY 2019


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