Knight Frank Interview

Richard Hywel Evans, Studio RHE's founder, sits down with Knight Frank to talk all things architecture.

Written by Richard Hywel Evans

What are your main considerations when starting a new project?

First of all it’s about what inspiration we get from the Site and the Client’s initial ideas. Does it work, how can it be special, what is unique about the location what can we do that stretches the Brief and maximises the opportunity?

How were you able to act sustainably when designing the Private Residences for Six Senses in the Seychelles?

It’s such a unique project, we actually designed it more than once at our own cost just because we felt that the response had to be right for the Island.

The main concept was that nothing could be seen from off the island, that the buildings were constructed from the same materials as could be found there and that they could eventually just be removed at some future date. That’s when we termed the phrase ‘stealth architecture’ which also harnesses the available local energy and resources.

For years now we have embraced the opportunity of showing how we can build more sustainably, and so we are delighted that our clients are now putting that at the top of their agenda.

You have been mandated by some of the world's wealthiest people for their properties, but what is your proudest achievement to date?

Every single project is unique and we become completely immersed in it, so the current project is always the best!

Having said that haven very lucky to work with some amazing people, with great vision and energy and that has lead to some truly amazing buildings, but also planes and boats!

Talk us through the stages of design, from concept to construction, and how you implemented this in your work with Knight Frank?

We have been working with Knight Frank for over 20 years, they were one of the first to recognise the power of design, and since markets were evolving so quickly every project needs to become really special to stand out and be relevant in a crowded visual space.

Our process always starts with the Site, we spend time just getting to know the place and we quickly propose options and possibilities with the Client. This iterative process continues until we have something that we both believe in that fulfils the Brief and hopefully more!

After that stage it’s really a matter of designing each detail so that we get the most from the project that can be achieved. We can offer the complete service from site assessment to choosing the cutlery!

What do the next 5 years look like for yourself and Studio RHE?

We have some amazing projects on the boards right now and it will be really exciting to see them emerge, but we also look forward to new adventures that always start with an unexpected call or mail from anywhere in the world.

We were already heavily involved pre-pandemic with the challenges that have emerged for the workspace in recent years, and that has now become even more urgent. We are applying our learnings and process from our hotel design work to that with some success, and at the same time the learnings from new construction techniques are informing our work in remote places. For example pre fabricating large elements of buildings with very high quality finishes.

So for at least the next five years we’ll hope to become involved in more of these amazing projects that continue to excite us and demand the best of our design abilities.