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It’s not about designing bigger but designing better

We sat down with our Design and Product Manager, Chloe Oades, to find out more about her role in the design team – one that we believe helps us achieve better London living. Read more below.

Hi Chloe, tell us a little about you… 

I love to travel, explore new cities and admire the architecture. It’s true to say, when you love your job it’s effectively an extension of your hobby. I also love the arts, whether theatre, galleries, exhibitions or even musicals. I’m an arty East London stereotype and proud. 

Tell us how you got into your role at Mount Anvil?

As a kid my favourite thing to do was gluing, sticking and drawing with a ruler, so my family always knew I’d be in a creative design role. I originally trained as an architect and spent a few years learning the ropes. Frustrated by the box building approach taken by so many in the industry I decided to move client side to a developer that does things differently, where no scheme is the same. 

That led me here, where I’m able to consult and implement new ideas and ways of working that ensures our developments meet the needs of Londoners, and of course, the local boroughs.

Explain your job in a nutshell.

I guess you would say I’m instrumental in the design and planning process of our large residential masterplans. I advise on the design ideas, efficiencies and layouts, often presenting to the board and our joint venture (JV) partners. I also work closely with the preferred designers and architects to ensure we create schemes that raise the bar each and every time. 

Basically, make our developments more than just a tick box exercise - a home people want to live in. 

What does a day in the working life of Chloe look like?

Meet with the team, agree priorities for the day, then I get stuck into looking at the viability of new schemes. I’ll look at its potential, where we can add value, learnings from past Mount Anvil schemes and how we can get the best out of it. 

I also do a lot of “shaking the smarties” taking the mix of units and redistributing them. I will look at the GIA (Gross Internal Area) of the architecture alongside requirements of the council ahead of planning and often tweak it for the better. This helps us get through planning faster and ultimately building more homes. 

Basically, providing not just more homes, but better homes – both private and affordable. We take time to really understand all homeowner’s needs. Get to know the demographic for a scheme, whether there are more families, specific cultural needs or disability requirements so that we truly deliver homes for the people that need them.

What would you identify as your superpower?

It’s not about designing bigger but designing better. Fitting well-proportioned apartments in architectural boxes. It’s sometimes a game of, I’ll raise you your 6 and give you 7. Manipulating the architecture, understanding proportions and the ability to make the most of all spaces. Basically, Tetris.

The backbone of our business is building well designed homes that people want to live in. After all what’s the point in awkward spaces that you can’t even swing your cat in. 

Is it all about squeezing more homes in?

Absolutely not. 

What’s the biggest fail you’ve seen when contracting out?

Luckily nothing in our homes. That’s one of the good things about working at Mount Anvil, it’s not just a contract out and assume it’s correct, we’re also experts. 

Too many developers forget what makes a home a home. So, when someone starts living in their new home and they can’t rinse the dishes and load the dishwasher at the same time that's bad planning and design. We consider everything.

Do we have a set of golden design rules we adhere to?

We of course ensure the design process recognises current legislation, standards and codes of practice- but these are considered the very basics of what we want to achieve. Lack of coordination of structure and services can compromise the spaces, and someone’s future home. 

The quality of the home is important to Mount Anvil, we invest an inordinate amount of time designing each one.  For us, it’s about the resident's journey from the front door to the rest of their home – homes that feel light bright and inviting and that are genuinely user friendly.

What makes you proud? 

Being given the freedom to challenge and work collaboratively with the team to deliver homes more suitable for the market, better value and more saleable. We design some amazing buildings and homes, looking at the final product give us all a great sense of achievement.

More specifically, having worked on the design of The Silk District scheme in Whitechapel, herald as the fastest selling scheme in London definitely makes me proud. 
 

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We’re always looking to meet A-players like Chloe – the kind of collaborative, driven, talented people who can thrive in our high freedom, high responsibility environment. So if this sounds like you, visit our careers page here