The right reason to blow the budget…

When tothepoint met RHJB it was to show them an area in our office they could rent and to discuss possible collaborations on some of our workspace environment projects. Little did we know we’d be the first client in this collaboration! Having set aside a small budget for some basic office decorations and the possibility of a new reception desk, the dynamic duo asked if they could look at space planning and other refurbishment ideas. The plans came back quicker than expected but the ideas put forward addressed issues we just hadn’t had time or budget to resolve in our 16 years based here. We’re now in the process of seeing how much we’ve blown the original budget by but we know some, possibly all, of their ideas should be taken forward. We can see how they add value to our space and working environment and create a fantastic canvas to showcase our work… and theirs. Never wanting to miss an opportunity, we had to suggest that RHJB needed to look at their branding and website, so collaboration at Maidstone Buildings Mews is truly underway.

With the RHJB brand refresh, we are looking at giving their logo a more modern and contemporary look and feel, so for now, here’s a sneak peek at the work-in-progress logo that is currently favoured and awaiting application to materials including a new website…

Who are RHJB and where have you guys come from?

We are RHJB Architects, a young and vibrant practice founded by us, Richard Hobden and Jonathan Butler. We founded our practice some 3 years ago on a bedrock of over 30 years collective experience in private practice. We’ve worked on schemes of all shapes and sizes, from one off homes, multi-million pound schools, universities and master planning to historic listed buildings.

What kind of work do you love to do?

We pride ourselves on producing exciting contemporary architecture across all sectors from commercial and education to high end residential, masterplanning as well as fit-out projects. We currently have a healthy mix of these types of projects on the drawing board.

Why Borough? Why tothepoint?

We were immediately struck by the buzz of the area, its community spirit and how eclectic it is around here. It feels like a hub of potential, and there’s loads of opportunity to meet like-minded people & network as well as places to eat and drink! We met the guys at tothepoint and could immediately see how this could be a positive and fun new home for us with opportunities for collaboration and growth.

How did the project at tothepoint come about?

We were made to feel welcome as soon as we moved in, but the cogs were immediately beginning to spin on how the studio could be improved. Simon initially asked us to see if there was anything that could be done with tothepoint’s dated reception desk. Seeing the opportunity, we went one step further! It was clear that we could bring some fresh ideas to the table, so we looked at the whole studio space and ways to give tothepoint a crafted environment to show off the great work they do. Bespoke furniture, concealed storage, new facilities and a great new meeting room were presented to show how we could achieve this. The added bonus is that we will get to enjoy the new space too!

The reception is the first point of address for visitors, client and staff alike. This desk and the studio at large silently speak volumes for tothepoint and the companies (Yes Us!!) who share this creative environment. Not only did we want to improve the immediate image of the studio, we felt that there was a huge opportunity to enrich the exciting space that had attracted us initially.

We set about creating a journey through the office, from entrance and reception, through the working creative core, culminating at a simple yet striking meeting room. The beauty of the existing studio is its historical charm, with bare faced brickwork, low ceilings and exposed beams, all boasting the industrial roots of the wider premises. Our strategy was to work within this, with a somewhat light touch that essentially assisted in defining spaces and building on this existing and strong aesthetic.

New wall treatments such as the restored scaffold boards to the entrance wall, provide physical character building on the existing, whilst linking the reception to the areas adjacent. New washroom facilities look to address functional needs. Full height glass screens and storage units which also provide a clean pin up space. A considered lighting strategy provides for a professional, accessible and highly visible meeting space at the heart of the office.

The tothepoint project is typical of the level of importance we (RHJB) place on not only assessing a client’s initial brief but looking at the wider environment when considering change on any level. In many cases this is a collaborative process involving our clients, their open-mindedness, their understanding of what an Architect can bring to the table and obviously, budget. We are very proud of the proposals and were delighted that Simon and the tothepoint team bought into the principles behind the concept at its infancy. The excitement for the project from top to bottom is enlivening and heralds a great working relationship moving forward.

Where do you see RHJB going and what sets you apart?

We are becoming busier and busier, not least thanks to our recent relocation. Our aim is to grow organically to fit our expanding workload, and we are recruiting right now. We are careful to select work that is right for our expanding portfolio and like to involve ourselves with projects where we can bring something different to the table. We are hands on, and engaging client relationships are key for us in delivering architecture that is bespoke, tailored and successful. We pride ourselves on being approachable and open with a fun side that translates into our work and candour with our clients. The sky is the limit for us; we aren’t shy and there is no ceiling to our ambition!