Leading global bathroom and kitchen brand GROHE, has collaborated with Regalmain Ltd and Steven Johnson from the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London on a multi-use project; Flimwell Park. Based in East Sussex, Flimwell has been created to help rural communities create a positive economic, social, environmental and ecological impact through a closer relationship with the surrounding water and woodland.
With a lack of internal investment and no surrounding industries, the village of Flimwell was struggling. On a mission to create a place to give people hope, while connecting with their natural surroundings, the Flimwell Park team and Steven Johnson turned to GROHE, to come together and develop the site. Initiated by a family of designers and builders, the ecological project needed partners with corresponding beliefs on board.
Steven Johnson, architect and teacher at the UCL-based school, said: “We were keen to create a place to give people hope. The Flimwell Park team’s mission was to try and develop a story – a picture – and what better way to do that, than for us to build something. When you build something as an example of what can be done, people start to listen.”
Developed to complement its surroundings, the buildings in Flimwell are constructed of timber, feature solar panels and large, panelled windows to maximise use of light while allowing residents and workers to enjoy the woodland views.
On GROHE’s products which have been utilised across the village, Steven said: “It’s very rare for a company to understand that what they’re making goes beyond those products. On a site like this, we have toilets, wash basins, sinks and showers – everything you’d expect in an office or house. Those are components, but those components then link into a system which is efficient and ecologically sound and that’s when it starts to become extremely exciting.”
With sustainability as one of the core values on which GROHE builds its business and develops products, the partnership grew to create a village within the woodland and generate a place for people to work, live and create with nature.
“There are so many ideas going on in this project, but it’s just the start. We have students coming out here who are driving this. They’re looking at this as something that is new and really spectacular and there’s a shift in attitude – they’re questioning the next step. The next step is getting them out into the woods and working with local people to create new things, by taking what we’ve produced here and move it on in a serious way.”
The surrounding woodland can be cycled and every 30 years, timber can be taken to create new buildings; the buildings can regenerate in the future as the trees have been preserved within that time.
Ebru Bircan, Leader Marketing Activation UK, LIXIL EMENA, added: “At GROHE we hold sustainability – and our overall impact on our resources – in extremely high regard. Working with Regalmain Ltd and Steven Johnson at the Bartlett School of Architecture on Flimwell made complete sense for us as the aim to protect and learn from nature. What’s been created is an impressive development where people can monitor the woodland while they work, learn and live sustainability. We’re proud to have GROHE products installed throughout the buildings, contributing to the overall environmental credentials; it’s a fascinating step forward in creating more ecological spaces.”
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