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Sean Griffiths, Charles Holland & Sam Jacobs - FAT Architecture

12th Sep 2013

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FAT Architecture is an award-winning practice with an international reputation for delivering outstanding projects at a range of scales and for many different uses. Their clients are a Who’s Who of business success, including the BBC, Selfridges and Living Architecture, while they’re always committed to developing their client’s briefs into extraordinary projects. The Financial Times have heralded them as, “True originals who are creating some of the most striking and different contemporary architecture” And before you ask, their name stems from their core passions in life: Fashion-Architecture-Taste. We caught up with Sean Griffiths, one third of the coolest design trio around…

What has been your background up until this point?

The directors trained at the University of Westminster and the Bartlett in London. Other than teaching, we have all only worked for FAT.

How long have you all been working together?
18 - 19 years.

How would you explain all of your individual roles?
We all have similar roles. Each one of us looks after a particular project, where we have regular design discussions so to input in what each other is doing. As well as design we also make art, write stuff and exhibit. All these things form part of the discussion.

What’s the best thing about working with partners?
Alternative views and ideas.

And the worst?
The thing that’s the best: Alternative views and ideas.

How would you describe the philosophy behind FAT?
As the name suggest we like overindulgence. So it’s about being interested in everything, not just what is narrowly defined as architecture.
Where do you get your inspiration?
From different places that others get theirs.

What would a normal working day be like for you?
Sometimes thrilling, sometimes boring, sometimes tiring.

What’s the most important thing you’d like people to take away from your work?
We hope it stimulates. I don’t mind whether people love it or hate it.

What’s been your career highlight so far?
There have been many. It’s difficult to single out one. The bits I like best are getting the job and when the idea crystallises.

Which has been the most fun to work on?
Some of the smaller projects, such as the Venice Biennale exhibit last year, as smaller projects usually mean purer ideas and less time spent with managerial type people.

Of all of the projects you have worked, which is your favourite and why?
Probably the Blue House in London, as it was the first proper building we ever embarked on.

Which is your favourite London building?
St Georges in the East by Nicholas Hawksmoor. I like that it was bombed in the war and they built another church inside it.

How do you feel about being a part of the London Design Festival?
Excited, of course.

What are you most looking forward to seeing there?
As we have a few technical problems to resolve, I’ll be very glad to see our own piece there.

Where do you live in London and why?
Dulwich Village because the person I love happens to live there.


The Quick-Fire...
Tea or coffee? Coffee, black.
Dogs or cats? Got both.
What’s the last really great film you saw? Faith (part two of the Paradise Trilogy by Ulrich Seidl)
What’s the last thing that really made you laugh? My girlfriend complaining about politician’s constantly referring to “hardworking families”. She said, “I’m not part of a family and I’m not very hard working.”
What are you looking forward to most about autumn? The London Design Festival of course.
What’s the one luxury you can’t live without? Difficult books.
What’s your guilty pleasure? I am an intellectual snob, so I don’t have any, except pornography.
What song never fails to get you dancing? John Cage’s Piano Sonata number VII is pretty funky.
How do you relax? Smoking.
How would you spend your perfect Saturday? In bed.


Fashion Architecture Taste, 5 Rear, Thornhill Road, London N1;


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