Zahra and Philip are both fully qualified RIBA Chartered Architects, and both come with a wealth of experience, which will prove invaluable and add a new dimension to RedBook, its clients and partners. Zahra has worked as a senior architect and interior designer at practices including 1508 London and BWT London, while Philip joins after stints at Assael Architecture, Allies and Morrison and Spink.
We asked Zahra and Phil what drew them to RedBook, how they see their roles and what they hope to bring to the firm.
“…it’s an opportunity to shape client’s aspirations on their project whilst also guiding them to make the right decisions to ensure it becomes a reality.”
HOW IS WORKING AT A CONSULTANCY SUCH AS REDBOOK DIFFERENT FROM AN ARCHITECTURAL PRACTICE?
Phil: At Assael I led a team of 7 over 3 years to deliver the practice’s largest project, worth over £140 million, managing multiple key stakeholders and professional consultants. But at RedBook it is a far more personal relationship with the client and wider projects team. I’m able to offer advice strategically to clients by utilising my experience. My role at RedBook gives me the opportunity to shape client’s aspirations for their project whilst guiding them to make the right decisions and ensure their vision becomes a reality.
Zahra: I have admired many of our partners for a number of years and now I have the opportunity to work with over 200 of them across a huge number of sectors—and that’s a great privilege. I enjoy building on our existing relationships with them whilst discovering new and exciting talent. They all work so differently, and our value comes from understanding who is most suited to each client and their project. It is about understanding granular but essential differences in their skills, range, personalities and experience. RedBook is an amazingly friendly and exciting company to work for and everyone is hugely talented.
“I am fully aware of delivery challenges that can cause difficulties and delays – I’m here to foresee these and remove any roadblocks on the journey ahead.”
WHAT PARTICULAR SKILLS ARE YOU BRINGING TO YOUR ROLES?
Zahra: I’m a perfectionist. That’s why I am so fascinated by ikebana [the art of intricate Japanese flower arrangement], where nothing can be left to chance. I also bring a holistic approach to design and take pride in my attention to detail. For example, when designing a room, you have to take into account from the outset things such as the client’s particular taste in art and the focus of their collection. And what are the primary interests of a client? I enjoy being precise and super detailed.
Phil: It’s all about developing ideas and then delivering them. I enjoy both the micro and macro scale of thinking and ideas – and how they inform one another. Small decisions impact big decisions. Nonetheless, I want the whole journey to be fun for our clients and for them clients to enjoy our process by understanding and engaging with it. At the macro level that comes with understanding what motivates their dreams. But at the micro, I am fully aware of delivery challenges that can cause difficulties and delays. I’m here to foresee these and remove any roadblocks on the journey ahead.
“I want our clients to know that if they come to RedBook they will be introduced to the best proven talent for them and their project.”
WHAT DOES WORKING AT REDBOOK MEAN TO YOU?
Phil: I believe that design is a force for good and makes people’s lives better. Sometimes it’s a case of proposing and then achieving what some clients might think is not possible because I’m confident it will enhance their lives and wellbeing. What I relish is the chance to surpass expectations, and the experience I gained at Spink in the luxury sector will help me achieve this. I know how to deliver projects on every scale, and I’ve learned how to communicate ideas effectively up and down the chain.
Zahra: Offering the very best to our clients means finding the very best partners – whether they be architects, interior designers, landscape designers, contractors, or technical experts. We recommend partners to our clients who are at the pinnacle of their careers, and it is my role to find those people and then work collaboratively with them. I want our clients to know that if they come to RedBook, they will be introduced to the best proven talent for them and their project.
“Sometimes it’s a case of proposing and then achieving what some clients might think is not possible”
WHAT DO YOU GET UP TO WHEN NOT IN THE OFFICE?
Zahra: I’ve always loved art and so I visit as many galleries as I can. I love Pilates and transcendental meditation, and quite often go to boot camps.
Phil: I grew up in the Lake District and at the time I did not really appreciate it. But I do now. My heart is still there and so I return as often as I can. I’m big into cycling and running. I like sports that challenge you both physically but crucially mentally. I love to do triathlon relays, which is not as hard as it sounds because you are a part of a team (always preferred) performing 1 discipline and not all three!