Designplus Limited, a Jersey based architectural practice, was established in July 2005 and have worked on a range of impressive projects.
The company’s mission statement states:
“We remain focused on delivering architecture that creates exceptional and dynamic spaces to live, work and play that enrich the lives of those who use them, while sustaining the natural environment for the enjoyment of all.”
Talking to Premier Construction Channel Islands, Designplus Director, Eddie Caldeira said:
“We create architecture that improves people’s lives while enriching our surroundings. We set and maintain very high standards and always deliver to our clients the very best possible solutions for the projects, within their timetables and their budget.
“Our continued success in achieving this and the enthusiastic perseverance of our staff to go that one step further ensures that our clients’ best interests are always served. Our attention to detail, honesty and professionalism sets us above our competitors and ensures that our success continues to grow.”
The company’s headquarters are in the heart of Jersey’s capital; St Helier. The Designplus team comprises of a variety of skilled professionals including architects, technologists, surveyors and interior designers.
The firm’s expertise and attention to detail can be viewed through their design of a large single storey home in St Martin; one of the 12 parishes of Jersey. The high spec dwelling, named Le Sapin, is situated in an elevated, coastal position and boasts impressive views of Grouville Bay and Gorey Castle.
The existing building comprised of three medium sized bedrooms, two bathrooms, living and dining areas and a kitchen. Design Plus Ltd’s client wanted the building to be bespoke and private in its design so that he and his wife could live there comfortably and continue to enjoy their varied life interests.
Designplus worked around the various planning restrictions and accommodated their client’s requirements by creating a building design of four main zones. Each of the building’s zones serves a different function designed specifically for the owners.
Each zone also fulfills the client’s brief by providing complete privacy from the property to the north, while exploiting the views and light to the south of the property.
The first zone of the property is its very private garden – the secret garden! This can be found on the south west side of the building. The impressive garden contains a fire pit, waterfall, river and Bedouin-style encampment. From this zone, the property also boasts a winter garden snug which provides a cocoon from the elements with its low ceilings, stone walls and stone floors.
The garden also can be utilised in the summer months by pushing back the floor to ceiling glass wall, allowing the area to become an extension of the outside space.
Inside Le Sapin an underground library has been installed which is fitted out as a gentlemen’s club style retreat. The library has wooden floors, panelled walls and brass fittings. Due to being under the turfed roof the room provides uninterrupted silence.
The interior design of the building employs a pallet of only natural materials and creates the impression of a journey through a woodland area. The outside stacked stone is used on the inside walls and bespoke doors created from thick slices of trees, held together with amber resin are used with light shining through to cast outlines. Hidden lighting in large stretched material ceilings and wall wash complete the effect.
The property’s living, dining and kitchen area, entitled The Observatory, measures 20 metres in length and 10 metres in width. The open plan living space has an angled ceiling which rises from 2.5m to an impressive 4 metres in height.
The ceiling is plastered in part and this gives way to deep teak ribs and teak boarding starting inside the building, through the southern glazing and beyond to the large roof overhang, drawing the eye to the outside. To the south, space largely comprises of full height frameless glass and glass panels that push aside to give access to a large south facing terrace.
The bedroom has a large floor area, but a low flat ceiling to provide a sense of serenity and comfort. The bedroom suite leads into large individual fully fitted dressing rooms and a bathroom. The bathroom is a feat within itself containing a bath, toilet, basins and very large wet room shower that pushes out past the building and has core-ten metal wall with large glazed openings.
Eddie also spoke about Soleil Du Soir, the interior design of another large dwelling that Designplus Ltd took on for its “challenging’ brief”. Eddie said:
“The client had been advised by many other architects that his brief could not be achieved within the confines of the land locked site and due to planning department restrictions.
“From the outset, we assured the client that his brief could indeed be met and delivered without compromise. The commission was taken on a no win no gain basis and a design solution was developed that not only met, but ‘exceeded’ the clients brief.
“Soliel Du Soir delivered a five bedroom, three bathroom, two-storey family home from within the footprint of the original two-bedroom bungalow and without either increasing the height or excavating. The project is testament to our ability to deal with challenges head on. We think outside of the box and exceed client expectations.”
The building was stripped of all PVC doors, windows and rainwater goods. The existing cement tiled roof was also stripped back and the roof members removed. The garage was demolished and the hardstand paved areas were taken up. Internally, all walls were removed, as they were non-load bearing and poorly organised resulting in fragmented areas.
New walls were constructed to better define the areas and the existing floor slab was also removed. Designplus managed to reflect the client’s passion for sailing and the seaside through the architectural format and materials they used.
All of the living spaces faced south and enabled the clients to soak up the sea views. Also, in order to increase the accommodation in an already small foot print, it was necessary to create additional floor space at a first floor level, which was cleverly managed within an eccentric curved roof that maintained the original height of the building whilst creating the space.
This project offers another example of Designplus using all the tools possible to enable clients requirements are met; as well as create an impressive end result.
Designplus were commissioned by The National Trust of Jersey to provide design proposals for a new bird watching facility on the wetlands at St.Ouens pond. The company acquired the commission due to their proven track record for securing planning approvals where others cannot.
The site that The National Trust had available was viewed as an impossible location, as it lay right in the heart of the islands new ‘National Park Zone’ and therefore was subject to the strongest possible presumption against any form of development.
Designplus argued the case for approval of a very sympathetic and natural underground scheme and managed to secure planning consent. Since then construction of the facility has commenced.
“Working with the National Trust in such an environmentally important area has made us a practice acutely more aware of our natural surroundings and how what we design and build can not only influence this and us in the present, but also in the future. Due to the importance of the area, the building has been an ‘under the microscope’ process in respect of the interest of the general public and environmental authorities, but its successful delivery due in late November 2013, will provide the island with a new public attraction.”
With business booming Eddie still has ambitions for the company’s future. Designplus have recently taken on a number of large commissions for buildings of significant public importance.
These new commissions will act as a vehicle to showcase the firm’s talents and commitment to the “art of architecture”. Eddie added:
“Our aim for the future is to continue to develop who we are as a company and to build on our reputation for professionalism and unrivalled success. We place great importance on the commitment and support of our team; we will continue to deliver projects of consistently high quality and uncompromised service.”