img(height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2939831959404383&ev=PageView&noscript=1")

Climate emergency drives Office S&M’s procurement policies

Words:
Hugh McEwen

Why hide the recycled nature of your plastic worktop? Hugh McEwen of Office S&M likes the story to be clear, as he explains with this and his other specification recommendations

Credit: French + Tye

Smile Plastics
We see waste materials as being valuable in and of themselves, instead of using a recycled version that aims to recreate its virgin form. This is because we want each material to tell a story, as Smile Plastics do. Sheets of Smile Plastics are fused together from various waste plastics; this worktop (left) is made of white plastic milk bottles and black drainage pipes. We used a range of waste materials in Mo-tel House, based on conversations with the client about re-use. She founded Onloan, an online clothes subscription service that tackles fast fashion by lending. In this way, her interest in reuse was carried through in the story told by the materials of her new home.

Mirrl
We use colour as a building material, in the same way as bricks and mortar. On top of its spatial properties, colour contains immense meaning. For Upside Down House we installed a bespoke Mirrl worktop in the kitchen and bathrooms. Mirrl is a solid surface material on a birch plywood substrate. It is highly resilient, long-lasting, waterproof, food safe, and repairable. Mirrl was chosen by the clients because it reminded them of New Zealand paua, or abalone. Meanwhile, the purple of highland heather and the lush green of mountains represented the client’s Scottish and Kiwi heritage. 

Airlite
Architects can have an impact on the climate emergency and can increase awareness. As part of Shape Newham, a community-led initiative creating 18 public space projects in eight town centres, residents in Little Ilford highlighted pollution to us. Our Pollution Gate shelters residents from pollution and the weather, and provides ‘nudges’ for us to act more responsibly. The entire sculpture is painted in Airlite, which acts as a photocatalyst to turn pollution into harmless salts. So this little gateway will clean the air that passes over it, and help everyone to clean up Newham. The Pollution Gate is coated in five Airlite colours.

Latest

The Light Roof ideas competition, run in conjunction with Keylite Roof Windows,  asked entrants to design a generous family home where the only daylight came from directly above

Light Roof ideas competition, run with Keylite Roof Windows, asked for house designs only daylit from above

Stephen Macbean's design, using ingenious rooflights to direct its occupants’ vision skyward,  was overall winner of the RIBAJ/Keylite Roof Windows competition

Stephen Macbean's design uses ingenious rooflights to direct its occupants’ vision skyward

Soraya Somarathne’s subterranean residence, designed for the grounds of Lambeth Palace, incorporates building techniques found in the Indian villages of Rohtak

Soraya Somarathne’s subterranean residence is designed for the grounds of Lambeth Palace

Matthew Bate has updated the 1800s back-to-back house, addressing poor lighting and ventilation by means of a long, triangular roof lantern

Matthew Bate has updated the back-to-back house, improving lighting with a long, triangular roof lantern

Martin Gruenanger's sunken courtyard provides daylight and natural ventilation in this house extension that doubles the floor area

Martin Gruenanger's sunken courtyard provides daylight to this extension to an existing house