<BACK TO CASE STUDIES
Passion, vision, a love of good food and the influence of Italian culture come together in a ONE17 conversion project.
VENI, VIDI, AMAVI!
Devour. There’s a passion, an urgency, a vitality about the word that conveys so much more than ‘consume’ for example or, even more prosaically, ‘eat’. Devour is the title of a project currently on the ONE17 books and it really could not be more appropriate.
Two fairly prosaic former industrial buildings in a semi rural riverside setting are in the process of being transformed into a culinary hub, the brainchild of Olivia Robinson, an award-winning Anglo-Italian with a background in the creative, design and marketing industries. Although born in England, Olivia’s culinary heritage is firmly Italian with the result that Devour will be a celebration of everything foodie that makes a trip to the land of the late Antonio Carluccio such a sublime experience.
The idea is to create a complex where people can immerse themselves in Italian food culture. They will learn about (and be able to buy!) the finest ingredients; be taught how to prepare and cook authentic Italian dishes, and find a homely welcoming space in which to congregate and enjoy the pleasures of sharing wonderful food with loved ones.
Olivia had a very clear idea of what she was aiming for and conveyed it very effectively to the ONE17 team through a combination of words and images.
So we knew where we wanted to get to; how do we get there? How the project was developed showcases the way in which the complementary skills within ONE17 are deployed to cover the various tasks to be addressed.
WITH HER BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE OLIVIA ROBINSON HAD HER OWN VERY CLEAR VISION FOR EVERY DETAIL OF DEVOUR
First of all the buildings and site were surveyed both to measure the buildings and to establish their condition: their structural soundness and the general condition of the fabric. With this information transferred onto the computer, the resulting ‘as existing’ drawings could be used by the architect to investigate proposals for discussion with the client. Once an approach to the conversion was agreed, the next stage was a meeting with the local planning authority. The broad principle of conversion had already been established but now the outline scheme drawings enabled detailed issues to be raised, such as access, delivery and parking arrangements as well as materials and details.
AFTER A GOOD DEAL OF NEGOTIATION, PLANNING APPROVAL WAS GAINED AND A MAJOR HURDLE HAD BEEN OVERCOME
The proximity of a river and a public footpath (not to mention some dreaded Japanese Knotweed) only added to matters to be taken into account. After a good deal of negotiation, planning approval was gained and a major hurdle had been overcome.
Because of the tight schedule set by the client for opening, it was agreed to phase the project and separate the work on the building shells from the fitting out, meaning that work could start on site before all the details were complete. But work on site brings health and safety concerns into focus and the need for pre-construction health and safety information about the site and the scheme to be assembled and is another service ONE17 is qualified to perform. This is passed to prospective builders so that they can ensure they make all the necessary arrangements to keep workers and the public safe during the work. It may not be the sexiest part of construction but it is a very important one - the death and accident rates on British building sites have fallen dramatically since the turn of the century.
Work on site also requires Building Regulations approval, another hurdle cleared by ONE17. Armed with the necessary approvals and information the project management arm of the office set about organising the first people needed on site. At the time of writing work has recently started and, appropriately enough given the nature of the project, the expression “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs” could not be more apt. In most cases the early days of a building project can make the casual observer wonder how it will ever be resolved into the clean, crisp completed scheme.
To help non-professionals see beyond the dust, dirt and debris ONE17 makes increasing use of computer aided visualisations. Indeed some of these can be so realistic that they can easily be mistaken for photographs – except the spaces don’t yet exist to be photographed!
Super-realism can at times be a drawback: images can be so detailed that if a client takes against a piece of furniture, or a material or even a colour in the image, it can distract them from the overall qualities of a proposed interior which is really what the image was created to convey. To counter this, ONE17 has reverted to a ‘half-way house’ where CAD drawings are used as the basis for hand-drawn images, where detail can be suppressed if it would otherwise detract from what is really at issue.
Needless to say, the interior design skills of ONE17 are capable of detailing and delivering exquisite interiors where furniture, fixtures, fittings and finishes are combined to produce results often unimagined by clients. The company even goes so far as to design bespoke pieces and items if nothing suitable can be found ‘off-the-shelf’.
With her background and experience Olivia Robinson had her own very clear vision for every detail of Devour. As a co-founder of pizza oven company Delivita alongside her Uncle Joe Formisano, Olivia was already involved in ways to provide authentic Italian food to Brits raised on pale substitutes, and she was at pains to point out that Devour would also enable her to showcase authentic Italian ice-cream, the finest wines of the country and coffee of a quality that most of us never knew existed. Wow! Later this year you should be able to enjoy Olivia’s vision and revel in the culinary delights of her cultural heritage. We can’t wait!
Follow Devour on Instagram: @devourdaily