Michaelis Boyd has been synonymous with exceptional London architecture since 1995 and in celebration of this milestone, the company has launched its first book entitled ‘Thinking + Living Like an Architect’.
Over the past two decades Michaelis Boyd has designed and created some of the most innovative and interesting spaces in London, the south east and overseas. For Alex (Michaelis) and Tim (Boyd), who met whilst working at John Miller and Partners in the early 90’s, the differing skill sets and interests that they bring to their practice (Alex with a focus on future proofed new residential development and green energy solutions and Tim with an expertise in the restoration and redevelopment of listed and period buildings and commercial projects ) has built a glorious body of work that is laid out for view in the book.
Beautifully portrayed as a partnership that has both endured and developed a well-known style, each page evokes the sort of lifestyle that we’d all like to experience. From reworked country houses to contemporary city homes, elegant minimal interiors and futuristic lifestyle environments, ‘Thinking + Living Like an Architect’ shows architectural creativity at its very best.
Modest in their response to the launch of their book, for Alex Michaelis and Tim Boyd the importance of marking their 20 year milestone in this way, was more of a want than a need as Tim explains; “The book was 20 years in the making and we had thought about doing it before but there was never time. This seemed like the right time and it is a way for us to say to ourselves that we have done what we set out to do and are still doing it. It underlines our original ambitions and we hope will encourage others who are just starting out, to have the same faith in themselves. We don’t think it looks like a book, more like a catalogue of great pictures.”
Continuing Alex said, “We have become so used to looking at the images of various projects over the years, that we weren’t sure what people would want to see from us. We wanted to remind ourselves and the people that we work with, what the practice has created since its conception and what we are capable of going forward. This is a collection of some of our own favourite projects but it’s by no means all-encompassing. In fact since it was published, we’ve noticed that one of the most significant projects that should have been in there, is actually missing. Cue a second book!”
It may certainly be a stunning catalogue of properties, but it’s clear that this is also a book that’s meant to be picked up and thumbed through for reference as much as enjoyment. Divided as it is into three categories, ‘Houses in the City’, ‘Houses in the Country’ and ‘Places People Go To’, you can imagine putting post-it notes on the pages that you want to come back to again and again. As well as recognizing several award winning homes, it’s easy to also see that Michaelis Boyd has played a strong hand in helping to define the identities of some of the most well known lifestyle brands including Soho House Group and Brew Dog.
Flicking through the pages, it must be difficult for Alex and Tim to pick out a favourite project. For Alex, it’s his family home that takes centre stage and he comments, “I am still very proud of what was achieved on the family home that I built for myself in Notting Hill. So many people said that it couldn’t be done but the resulting space was exactly as I had imagined it and it was such a personal as well as a professional achievement to succeed.” An ongoing commercial project encompassing the design and development of the Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn reminds him of the bohemian roots of London’s Soho. He continues, “The eight storey building we have designed emulates the faded industrial heritage of the area but as a direct contrast, at its heart is a huge glass ceilinged ballroom that will house 400 people for a party.”
For Tim, the British countryside has provided enormous enjoyment and all of the country homes in the book have enabled him to indulge his love of period architecture. He comments, “All of the country houses in the book have presented their challenges but being able to realise a 21st Century update on buildings with such incredibly beautiful bones has been very fulfilling. There is a sense of achievement that comes at completion, to know that you have played a part in the building’s pathway through history. Of course none of this would be achievable without the team that we have.”
The team comes up time and time again in interviews with Alex and Tim and the importance that they place on the people that they work with and a picture of the whole clan outside their Notting Hill gives the practice a human face. It also records a sense of time and place for those involved in the work that has been included in the book.
In a digital age where we are told that paperless rocks, it’s difficult to image how a book like ‘Thinking + Living Like an Architect’ could be enjoyed in any way other than in print. The depth of knowledge and understanding that Alex and Tim and their practice have, is been shamelessly presented in an array of some of the most enviable and coveted spaces around. If you have any doubts at all about your own personal surroundings, view with caution!
Michaelis Boyd; michaelisboyd.com