Henley Design Day Marks Year of the Woman

2018 the Year of the Women was reflected too at this year’s Henley Design Day on Saturday at the Town Hall with eight women architects and designers showcasing themselves at this year’s sixth event.

Visitors got the opportunity to discuss ideas and projects for their homes and gardens with 22 exhibitors.

We asked Linda Carroll one of the group of women architects why she decided to be an architect.  She replied, “It was a toss up between art and architecture.  When I was younger I was a big fan of lego and I really like being creative and designing.  After finishing university I worked for a practice in London for 12 years and a year ago I set up my own business.  I love the mix of projects I get involved to help my clients create their ideal space – whether that be contemporary and modern or a sympathtic design in a conservation area.

Tait Architects from Woodley were back again this year.  Matthew Taylor said, “We’re delighted to be back again this year to meet people and offer our advice whether that will be for a house extension, rebuild or reconfiguration.  Some times people come with an idea for a loft conversion and actually extending the ground floor is a better option.”

There was advice on hand for gardens too, Nicola and Viv from Outside had a stand.  We asked Nicola what the latest trends are for gardens, she replied, “Definitely low maintenance and a smart space but one that you can relax and enjoy.  There’s an increase in the use of astro-turf and porcelain paving which is an amazingly hard product that doesn’t stain.”

Hobsons Choice, suppliers of designer kitchen and bathrooms returned after a successful event last year as sponsors this year.  Graham Craig from Hobsons Choice said, “We supply Bulthup, what we think are the Rolls Royce kitchens from Germany.  We don’t follow trends as we believe our kitchens are timeless and should stand the test of time for at least 25-30years.  The kitchen is the centre of the house now but itq should complement and allow the architecture to do the talking.”

Simmons and Sons estate agents from Henley attended and sponsored the event for the first time.  Angie Kraft from Simmons & Sons said, “Thank you to Sarah at RIBA for all the hard work in arranging a very successful event which ran smoothly despite the bitterly cold weather. As one of the main sponsors Simmons & Sons wanted to be there to give advice to those looking to build their own homes for the first time. We often take clients from the start of that journey through to the end and can support them throughout from the purchase of a plot or property in need of renovation, selling their homes when the time comes or helping them to market the new property if they decide to sell it rather than move in to it.  The Design Day allowed us to help lots of people with queries about their next steps on this journey as well as meeting up with some fantastic local property professionals!”

Sarah Miller from RIBA who organised the event said, “Despite the awful weather on Saturday the Henley Design Day proved to be a great success.  We had over 250 visitors throughout the day, many clutching iPads, plans and drawings of potential projects.  Some very small, and some very large!  The exhibitors, all of which I spoke to, were delighted. For the first time we had the Berkshire group of women architects who had an incredibly busy day.  RIBA coordinate 6 women’s architects groups across the SE, including this very active group of women in Reading – I hope to co-ordinate a group in Henley if anybody would like to work with me on that? All in all a fabulous day was had and I very much look forward to next year.  Date to be confirmed but quite possibly end of February.”

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