‘No lectures. No superiority and no pretensions. Just high ambitions, clarity of thinking and imagination in abundance.’ This is the motto of architect Christophe Egret and urban designer David West. Together they founded Studio Egret West in 2004 to create a fusion of architecture and urban design which ‘brings surprise and delight to place making’. And that’s certainly what they’ve become known for: they once constructed a wall of giant green and titanium fish, all fixed on pivots allowing them to blow in the wind, to improve the façade of the notoriously ugly 1970s Stratford Centre.
‘Architecture is too often seen in isolation from its urban context. Planning is too often seen as soulless, unspecific proposals that gather dust on shelves. We believe that the way forward is the osmosis between planning and architecture,’ says the duo. Projects are plentiful and various and include private housing, larger commercial projects, transport and infrastructure, and renovations, including the spectacular and nostalgic revitalisation of the dilapidated Gramophone Company building in Hayes into new accommodation, rebranding it as ‘The Old Vinyl Factory’.