There's an impressive range of businesses housed at Pill Box in Bethnal Green so we were excited to feature Gatti Rhodes Architects.
Co-founder Stefanie told us about the work they have on the go including varied mixed-use projects and domestic residential work as well as their plans for growth in the future. Find out more about Gatti Rhodes Architects
Tell us a bit about yourself.
We’re Richard Gatti and Stefanie Rhodes. Tom Routh works with us on a part-time basis, as do others. We’re architects – before setting up Gatti Rhodes, I used to work for Karakusevic Carson Architects and Richard used to be an associate at Erect Architecture. We both teach as well.
Tell us about Gatti Rhodes Architects and how you got started.
We are what’s politely called an emerging architecture practice (small, but hoping to be bigger). We’re working on a range of projects, from residential extensions to large-scale mixed-use schemes and master-planning, and we do lots of work with charities, community organisations, and churches. We all met at university, during different parts of our education. Tom and Richard had decided to set up a practice years ago– it just took us a long time to get around to it.
Where were you based before? Why have you decided to move into Pill Box?
We set up Gatti Rhodes from our front rooms, but when we got more work and full-time members of staff, it was pretty clear that wasn’t going to work for much longer. There are only so many flooring and brick samples you can fit under a sofa! The Pill Box suited us because of where it is, both close to where we live and easily accessible for our clients – but also because it is a fantastically handsome building, the office space is well lit and airy and the Pill Box Kitchen is a big plus too.
Business-wise, what are you most proud of?
We’re a relatively recently established company, so life is pretty exciting: our first big client, our first completed project, our first premises. We still remember paying ourselves for the first time.
What have been your biggest business challenges?
Our biggest challenge has been the jump between working in the evenings in our living rooms, and having a proper office with full time staff – both space-wise, as well as taking the step from relatively comfortable jobs to the adventure of running your own practice.
How are you funded? Did you seek any outside help?
We’re lucky in that architecture has relatively low start-up costs. We don’t have any external funding, although we do supplement our income with some (architectural) teaching. We teach because we really enjoy it and for the challenge rather than simply for the money.
Where do you see Gatti Rhodes Architects in a year's time? In three years’ time?
In a year's time? I hope we’ll be bursting at the seams in our unit here and seriously thinking about moving into a bigger unit, and employing more staff. One of our current larger projects should be on site by then, and I hope we’ll have another couple of projects of a similar scale in the run up to planning. In three years' time? Stirling Prize winners, of course.
What are the most important trends in office space and architecture?
Wow. That’s a hard question. Trends in architecture veer dangerously between things you can only identify in hindsight and short-term fads. But I think increasingly people are thinking about offices as a space in which they spend a lot of time and so there is a need for them to be enjoyable as well as functional. And certainly in the small business end of the market, office space with built-in opportunities for meeting people – either as clients or potential partners – seems to be increasingly important. It is for us anyway.
If you weren’t in charge at Gatti Rhodes Architects, what would you be doing? What do you think the rest of your team would be doing?
Richard: I haven’t been doing this for long, but I can’t really imagine doing anything else. Stef: I fully second that – I currently can’t imagine not working in our own practice!
What are the most important things for you in an office space? What's your office luxury?
Most important thing? Natural light, probably. 24-hour access was quite a big deal to us when we moved in. Our luxury is definitely something to do with café downstairs – the occasional 4 o’clock coffee and brownie, perhaps?
Find out more about Gatti Rhodes Architects