Design

Start-ups

Fresh start— London

Preface

Setting up shop on your own after three decades at a leading engineering firm is a huge leap of faith. But for Cecil Balmond, who runs a nascent design company with his daughter, it seemed like the logical step.

Balmond Studio

Arup is a world-leading engineering firm with over 10,000 staff spread across more than 30 countries and more than half a century of history. Six-month-old Balmond Studio, on the other hand, has 17 staff based in a unit in the east London borough of Hackney.

The two companies may seem worlds apart. But Balmond’s founder is Sri Lankan-born engineer, architect and businessman Cecil Balmond. In his sixties he made the alarming yet enviable decision to leave his comfortable job as deputy chairman at Arup and go it alone, ending a 36-year stint at a…

Five projects

  1. The design and master plan for a major mixed-use 275,000 sq m development in south-east Asia, including a five-star hotel, ice-rink, residential, commercial and retail spaces and landscaping.
  2. A modular housing project for an undisclosed client. Looking at the “next-generation” of pre-fab housing, it consists of a modular, stackable unit. The units could be used in several situations, including refuges for disaster zones.
  3. Nebula is an art installation planned for the new Targetti/Poulsen showroom in Milan. The artwork demonstrates how daylight can be projected through a building.
  4. An integrated art programme over three floors of a college in the US. The installation of varying and shifting patterns will fill the school’s “forgotten spaces” of corridors, hallways and lobbies.
  5. Competition win for a piece of public art for a public government building in Alaska, due to be completed next year and designed in aluminium.

Monocle 24

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