Watch This Space
A new studio and workshop for a watch-maker in South East London. The project was developed following detailed analysis of Mr Jones' approach and identity. Reflecting the brand’s own process of customising and adapting high quality watch casings and mechanisms, the new space is conceived as a blank canvas into which the company can grow and express itself over time.
nimtim began the project with a detailed analysis of Mr Jones’ approach through observation and dialogue. This analysis revealed the collaboration with artists and illustrators that was at the heart of their process: with invited creatives working alongside their own design team to create each unique watch. We also saw first hand the incredible level of technical expertise and skill that goes into the printing and fabrication of each watch.
The ambition of the project emerged from this analysis of the organisation. We wanted to reflect and and express the extraordinary watch-making process within the architecture of the new space.
This was then tested against the particular constraints of the space which had entrances at two levels and a complex interface with the residential units above. The building had a fascinating history: the front of the space was an early 20th Century addition to what was previously a Georgian townhouse. The unit had been used by a number of businesses over its history including a well regarded bicycle manufacturer until the 1960s.
This prompted another ambition: to express and enrich as much as possible of the original fabric of the space. Thus new elements would be simple and neutral allowing the patina and grain of the historic materials to be celebrated.
The watch making process moves from back to the front of the new space.
The bespoke designs are printed onto faces and cases within a new double height printing workshop at the rear. This space is separated from the rest of the studio by internal glazed screens; isolating the fumes from this process from the rest of the space and creating a sense of theatre and drama as you move from the entrance to the rear of the studio.
In the centre of the space under the most controlled lighting conditions, skilled technicians assemble the watches at bespoke workstations. These work stations create micro-scaled work areas for this incredibly delicate process.
Watches are packed and shipped at the front where the studio meets the public realm. The new shop front is articulated as a series of vertical glazed openings with shutters behind. The shutters allow staff to create privacy or solar shading as required. The front of the studio thus becomes the public face for the company: a space that can welcome visitors or host launch events as required.
Materially, as much of the existing surfaces are retained as possible including the original timber floor, brick separating walls and wooden joists. New elements including separating walls to the flats above (which had very demanding fire and acoustic requirements) and the shopfront are expressed simply in a pale grey to contrast with the rich original textures.
The space is conceived as a simple blank canvas into which Mr Jones could grow and evolve. They have already grown into the space and made it their own with bespoke furniture and equipment. We wanted the space to celebrate the organisation and the extraordinary making process that they undertake with each watch.