Grey Matter

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Client
Grey Matter
Location
Ashburton, Devon
Photography
Richard Downer
Our clients needed an architect in Ashburton, Devon to provide them with a Full architectural and interior design service for their Office Refurbishment.

Grey Matter, A software supply and management company, were looking to upgrade their tired town centre offices, set within an old Brunel warehouse, that served the adjacent railway. With a projected increase in staff and a building configuration that was inefficient, Grey Matter approached van Ellen + Sheryn to completely redesign their premises.

The re-design involved a complete strip out of the offices, re-wire and new services strategy. At the heart of the design proposals sits a central entrance hall, within a double height void above. The circulation stair and lightweight bridge link the various office departments in an open plan arrangement and act as a focal point.

The industrial heritage of the building has been maintained with the restoration and enhancement of period features throughout. Adjustable external louvres provide protection from solar gain and are a modern day re-interpretation of the shutters that used to adorn the building. The project has been nominated for the insider ‘Office Development of the Year ‘ 2015.

My husband and I are in the process of turning a damp-infested. nastily converted barn from the 1980’s into what we hope will be a beautiful, architecturally interesting base in cornwall. We are ambitious for it but like most people, don’t have an endless pot of money. We are also completely new to anything like this. We’ve never even used an architect before. We met many, most of whom were based closer but it was perfectly obvious to both of us that Eilir and his team were the ones we wanted to use despite their practice being Devon, not Cornwall based. Logistically it’s not as sensible but in every other respect they far outclassed everyone else we met. We loved their work and felt our aesthetic was similar. Plus we felt we’d get on as people. And be able to lean on them when things got stressful as they inevitably will do!

We are yet to begin the build but have done the design and got planning approval, undoubtedly thanks to Van Ellen & Sheryn. Eilir and David contributed so much to getting the design through planning, really working with the council to ensure it would get approval. It is quite a brave design for a barn so we hadn’t expected it to be so smooth but Van Ellen & Sheryn managed to achieve our mutual ambition for the project, whilst at the same time satisfying any potential concerns the council might have.

What is also hugely helpful is how promptly and thoroughly they respond to concerns or silly questions we might have. I feel I always have counsel when I need it, someone I can lean on, who I trust, for advice. We have expensive taste but not really the budget to back it up! Going into the next set of drawings, that is something that has worried us, but we have been able to lean on Van Ellen & Sheryn who are advising us on bringing the costs down on the build so they hit our budget.

Beautiful, interesting, sympathetic design generated by lovely, talented people who have given us lots of time and attention when we ask for it. And they have great knowledge – and taste. From my experience so far, they are a class act.

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