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David Tigg & Rachell Coll - Tigg + Coll Architects

18th Jul 2013

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Established in 2008, Tigg + Coll Architects are a young, innovative and highly motivated architectural practice based in West London. The practice was formed by the two directors, David Tigg and Rachel Coll, who bring two very different perspectives to the practice. Domus Nova found out more...

What does architecture mean to you both?
Although we both have very different backgrounds in our development as architects, our influences and philosophies have always worked in parallel and complemented each other from day one. As a result, 'architecture' is a very similar thing for both of us; we believe that it has the capacity to encapsulate and touch all aspects of life. From the everyday function and articulation of space, to the importance and consideration of each small detail, back to the the grand public scale of cityscape and master planning.

Define the concept behind Tigg + Coll Architects
The focus of the practice is the meshing of contemporary design and development of a strong strong client relationship, to produce high quality sustainable architecture. With extensive design experience spanning across a section of scales and typologies, from urban master planning to detail design, Tigg + Coll Architects have the experience to deal with the complex requirements for all architectural environments. Our current workload spans residential and commercial sectors on new-build, refurbishment and fit-out projects. Through introducing a consistency of fresh and exciting ideas to each project, we aim to constantly challenge architectural boundaries and innovate.

How were Tigg + Coll Architects established?

We set up the practice together after we met at Cambridge University, many moons ago! We decided to start the practice at the same time as getting married and building our first home together in Notting Hill (2009 was a very busy year for us…!) We always knew we wanted to start an architectural practice together at some stage and so it really just came down to 'when'. We completed some small-scale developer projects locally and as a result this gave us the momentum to develop the practice to where we are today. In terms of how we work together, we believe that we bring two very different perspectives to the practice. Our varying backgrounds at previous design studios have allowed us to engage with a full range of architectural scales and so between us, we have an extensive range of high quality design-led experience. From developing macro regeneration schemes to national arenas and education buildings, through to high end residential, restaurants and boutique hotel fit-outs. This combination encourages a plethora of individual skill sets and knowledge to be brought together, to in turn complement each other in every design.

Did any particular architect inspire you to start a career in architecture?
It wasn't so much a specific architect, but more on how we view architecture and can appreciate how much a 'built environment' can serve to inspire. We all engage with it and use it in our daily lives, from the simplest and most tertiary of tasks we undertake every day, to the one-off experiences that can inspire us for the rest of our lives. Architecture can be a pretty powerful thing when done well, which is something we certainly want to pursue as a practice.

What other cities could you live in, in terms of inspiring design?
We are both very much Londoners at heart, where we spend a great deal of time living and working in the heart of Notting Hill. We love what London has to offer in terms of the backdrop of historic form versus the continuing evolution of the city, cosmopolitan attitude and the energy of daily life. If there was an option to venture further afield, it would have to be New York where we both love the intense vertical scale of city living there. It is such a creative and inspiring place, particularly Williamsburg that echoes a great deal of the urban scene we see here in Shoreditch & East London. 

Which building or structure do you wish you had designed?
We were very envious of the Olympic Cauldron designed by Thomas Heatherwick - a fantastic achievement in redefining a simple form, while showcasing what British design and architecture can achieve at its best. 

What do you feel has been your greatest career accomplishment?
Probably starting a design studio in the worst recession in living memory! It was a real challenge and as a result we're unbelievably relieved to see just how much the studio has grown in these difficult times. We have been very lucky and have to thank all our clients who have had a great deal of faith in us over the years. We are still young in architect terms, which we see as an advantage in bringing energy and fresh perspectives to projects – we try and do something new with every project to keep things interesting.

What’s been the most interesting project you have worked on?
As a practice we have been very fortunate to be work on some particuarly varied and interesting typologies. Locally, we are working on a mixed-use development on Portobello Road, where we are looking to help an established brand expand in the area and create the space for this to happen. We have also had some really fantastic commissions from private clients that have led to us getting our work published in the Far East, the USA and mainland Europe.

Why did you choose to work on residential projects, as opposed to commercial?
Residential architecture is a very personal experience and as a result each project evolves in a very different way. In our opinion, this brings even more of a challenge as you have to develop new ideas specific for each client and their individual lifestyle, which is something you can't always experience with commercial where the focus usually has a very different set of priorities.

What projects are you working on at the moment?
We are currently working on projects ranging from some fantastic refurbishments in Notting Hill and Kensington, to an exciting and very contemporary new-build mews and apartment development in Battersea. 

What future projects do you have in store?
We have just started work on a large villa for a client in the hills of Tuscany, where we have been asked to create a set of contemporary spaces to blend seamlessly within the existing built context and landscape – quite a challenge! We are also working on a large new-build private residence for a client in Poland at the moment. All in all it is keeping us very busy….

What architectural trends can you forsee?
More personality. While we love a good bit of 'brilliant white', we also love to inject colour and playfulness into our designs. Playing it safe with a muted colour and material palette always works well, but you need to inject fun and life into design whether it be by colour or a twist in the detail, to make it bespoke and interesting – you never get a wow factor with taupe! Similarly with materials, we are loving texture at the moment. We use this to create points of interest in simple rooms and façades, to add articulation without over-fussing the design. A good friend of ours has just completed work on the Bishop Edward King Chapel for Niall McLaughlin Architects,which has a textured brick façade - we love that! It's such a simple way of creating expression and a third dimension, without too much noise.

Whereabouts do you live in London?
We have recently moved from Notting Hill to Brackenbury Village (Hammersmith), where we're now closer to a few of our friends.

What does ‘home’ mean to you?
A home is somewhere which reflects you and your family's personality. How you choose to inhabit it and what you fill it with are deeply personal; no house is the same with different inhabitants. A home should be somewhere you feel comfortable, where you can retreat to and relax.

Describe your own home in three words.
Work-In-Progress! We have just bought a very dilapidated Victorian terrace house that is undergoing a considerable transformation!

What inspires you daily?
Our walk (or cycle) to work through the streets of Notting Hill. It's great to continually see the area evolving and transforming.


How do you both relax?
We like to keep active, so our time off is usually spent doing something rather than nothing. We love learning new things and a challenge. We both ran the London Marathon a couple of years back and are now considering doing a triathlon, after being inspired watching David's brother complete the Blenheim Palace one recently.

Linden Gardens by Tigg + Coll Architects - Sold by Domus Nova.