Charlotte Findlater’s holistic design approach incorporates the values of simplicity, craftsmanship and the supreme importance of the natural world
As a biophilic designer, Charlotte Findlater goes to extraordinary lengths to ensure each of her projects is connected to the surrounding landscape. “We tell a local story,” she says, one that involves not only examining the history of the site, but also the clients themselves.
Charlotte’s award-winning architecture and build, interior design and ecoscaping studio works collaboratively with forward-thinking clients who share her ethos, care about sustainability and appreciate outstanding design. “Our obsession is the interplay between people, built environments and nature; our ethos centres on considered design that reconnects people with nature; and out of concern for the human experience, we transform spaces into true holistic ‘emotional universes’.”
Every time she takes on a new commission, she goes through a holistic questionnaire with her clients to get to the heart of what design means to them, whether it’s a memory, a place, even a favourite scent. “I love bringing our clients on a journey that connects them back to nature, to natural materials, and tells an authentic story not only about them, but also the building in which they live and the locale,” says Charlotte. “We’re always doing the best thing for the client and for the environment, too.”
Take, for example, the River Resin dining table, a commission for a client in the Lake District. Made of walnut infused with finishing oils, it has a middle section that was immersed in a dark green resin, to trickle through the wood like a fast-flowing river. “That was about evoking the power of the storms and lakes in the area,” says Charlotte. The table also embodies the use of time-worn natural materials. “It’s about finding beauty and simplicity in an object and embracing impermanence, which makes it unique.”
For Charlotte, it is essential to engage with local artisans to craft such pieces while keeping the art of craftsmanship alive. “Thoughtful, crafted items have the power to elevate the ordinary. There’s a beautiful relationship between craftsmen, materials and nature, which we find fascinating. We are passionate about collaborations that bring designs to life – from initial discussions to the end result, it’s a pleasure to watch. Connecting our clients with talented artisans is central to our work.”
The perfect combination of craftsmanship and biophilic design can be seen in the Mill, a building that dates to the 1300s. The clients design journey was one of transformational restoration requiring sensitive architectural interventions and the preservation of the Mill’s industrial origins. Charlotte paid homage to the property’s industrial working heritage by restoring its water wheel and internal mill working and laying down floors using locally sourced stone. Two new wings created a visually striking architectural drama, while the latest smart home technology, CCTV and critical infrastructure were installed.
“We’re always looking to connect the inside to the outside,” says Charlotte of the external work around the Mill. “Its just as important that it aligns with the history of the site. We restored the ancient millpond and introduced numerous planting schemes to encourage the return of wildlife.
“By designing buildings and interiors that respect nature and the human experience, we create spaces that inspire and tell a story. Places that encourage people to slow down, to think, and to nourish their sense of wellbeing. That’s what we’re about.”