Remi Connolly Taylor On Championing Resources

Then Remi Connolly-Taylor, the designer and founder of Remi.C. T Studio, first moved to its new self-designed construction in Maryland, east of London, it immediately felt like home. Remi was born and raised in East London; her contemporary living /working space is a pay to the region. She used locally sourced materials, worked with local manufacturers, and even called her home Maryland House. But it also felt like home because Rémi had dreamed of space for so long – and the completed five-year project is everything she imagined.

There are a few things that you notice when you enter the house: the abundance of natural light, the palette of contemporary materials, the bold design. The short Remi set was to build a functional space that reflects the lives of a new generation of creative workers. After reaching a piece of land at the end of the terrace during an auction, Rémi realized that the only way to fulfill this mandate was to dig to create a basement for life, leaving the top floor as a studio. In what was her first development project, she dove headfirst and convinced the city council to give her permission to continue with her complex ideas and trade with local artisans for the best deals. Here she explains how she did it.

Remi “” at Remi’s.C. T Studio we are designers at heart. We always think about the beauty of a project. This was our first development and we wanted to make a statement.

“I had lived in New York to study architecture at Columbia University and this experience motivated this project. I wanted a certain lifestyle, a studio space, an enjoyment space-in New York, you don’t cook, you entertain. I came back to London and I wanted something exciting; I wanted greatness.

“I went into the development in a very naive way, which probably worked in my favor. I went to an auction and got my hands on a piece of land that had previously failed to get planning and had lawful problems. I didn’t really understand then what that meant. I thought to myself ‘” why wouldn’t someone want a nice house on this site?’

“I was fortunate that the council was on board the project. I sent letters telling them that I am from here, born and raised-I grew up in Leytonstone in Waltham Forest. They appreciated that I was going to live here and the diversity of the lifestyle I lead. I said to them, “I’m not going to put a triple bed here. I need space to work and in London there are people who want to live and work in different ways. Our housing stock should reflect this – you need to allow me to create this space for myself as a designer.’

“It was important that the house was really sustainable and that we worked with local manufacturers as much as possible. I wanted it to be an Eastern structure. All terrace houses here are made of bricks from the London Stock Exchange – they are used throughout the city, but they are especially common in the East End. It was important that we reflect – or at least pay to-this palette of materials.

“We used unwanted bricks that we could find ourselves or from construction sites in the area to reduce costs and recycle if possible. We wanted the elements of the house to be raw. I didn’t want it to be too polished, like a beautiful piece of jewelry.

“The prefabricated build of the House took only 10 days to build, but we bought the site in 2016 and the planning and design took four years. The basement accounted for 60% of the work – we dug four meters, and it was a very complex construction. In the basement, we wanted to inject as much light as possible into the room. This is one of the reasons why we have the skylight and we put the skylight to conquer the dark places.

“The diffused glass blocks we used for some of the walls keep the light soft in the heart. When it is dark at night and the lights are on inside the house, there is a beautiful glow from outside.

“As I said, I wanted to make a statement to the house, but I didn’t want the statements to seem secondary, I wanted them to be the real infrastructure of the House. For example, the stairs: in a house you need a staircase, rain or sunshine, so we thought: “let’s go.”I really wanted it to feel like the real heart of the House.

“I chose red for the stairs because I wanted something striking. I wanted it to look like a contrast to the rest of the space – I knew that I wanted Green in the house, and there would be a lot of white. I also chose a red front door because I like the idea of creating an entrance – and it’s huge, 2.7 meters. We could not buy something of this size, so we had to make it. We convinced a local workshop to bring his remains.

“The interior is minimalist. I moved so much, so I never had time to collect things. I love canvas spaces. I like the idea that this Parliament gives the impression that I can manipulate it to my liking. The studio is my favorite space. I love the unique structure of the house and the fact that the studio is on the top floor. This is the space where I feel calmest – people don’t usually say that about their workspace.

“Even though the house is daring, we didn’t want to do anything too strange on the street. We really hoped that he would be welcomed positively by the neighbors-and he was! They love the House. This shows that density doesn’t have to be negative if done right.

“East London has changed a lot through the Olympics – and many ways for the better. But I love the locals. You meet so many interesting people from all walks of life. I feel that East London is a great reflection of diversity in all respects, especially class and race. I am a mixed person and I love it. I feel very comfortable here.

“The House eventually became a collage of my experiences of where I lived and the places I went. The metal staircase is inspired by New York, then there is the London stock brick and local materials, as well as the Golden kitchen and the concrete floor, which are a pay to my West African heritage.

“The house immediately felt very welcoming because I have known the building in my head for so long. The house looks like what I thought – it’s exactly what I wanted.”

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