I fell into quantity surveying and fell into the world of project management.
When I was a kid I really wanted to be an architect, but the idea of seven years’ worth of training didn’t necessarily appeal to someone so young.
Ultimately, I did seven years’ worth of training to be a Quantity Surveyor and then a Project Manager. So I did my training on the job and I think I found my vocation.
Primarily, My day to day is running the business and it’s actually doing. I like getting my hands dirty doing, getting in the trenches with my team, and bringing the magic together!
I still enjoy that thrill of providing that unit that the client is expecting, but probably doesn’t understand in terms of what’s drawn.
We’re implementing what’s unseen in their eyes to actually make sure that all the bits join up and link in. I remember one of the earlier jobs we did for Cafe Nero, it was actually was at Chessington Park.
We turned what was the hippo house and the elephant house into a coffee shop.
It’s not there anymore, but we went from a big hole in the ground and a concrete slab to a purpose-built coffee shop.
That was quite a transformation in terms of what we were doing there. If you look at the best transformations that we see, we’re refurbishing existing restaurants and we’re taking aspects of a building and reusing that rather than demolishing or engineering a brand new build.
We’re actually taking buildings that have had a history, had a past, and we’re helping to develop that story and that redevelopment of that unit to actually give it a new character, to actually give it a new use. In doing this we are actually enhancing communities, breathing life into its spirit.
If you look back, probably back towards the start of the company once we’d actually formed it, one of the jobs we actually did was working on the Shoreditch High Street.
We worked on what has now become the Shoreditch Cafe/Restaurant, we worked there for one of the original fit-out units and we actually turned what was quite a deprived, up-and-coming area into a community for the people.
We put in a unit that quite swiftly became a cultural centerpiece for the local African industry.
We added a bar, we actually put a club in there. I understand that that was utilised most weekends by the Afro Caribbean community in that area.
It became a real hub and they attracted some big speakers in that space.
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