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Lockdown life: Simon Pirie

Design Guild Mark - August 7, 2020 - 0 comments

When we devised ‘Lockdown life’ we wanted to use it as a vehicle to peel back the onion of those working in the design sector so that we could get a better sense of the personality within.

After many months of exploring the ornamentation psyches of holders and judges of the Design Guild Mark, we have decided we rather enjoy it.

However, with lockdown slowly becoming a very distant and hopefully a never-to-be-repeated memory for most of us, we have decided to rename Lockdown life from next month as Home-life styles.

So in the final edition ‘Lockdown life’, Simon Pirie talks to us about his extension project that kept him busy throughout lockdown.

Simon Pirie

What is your favourite space at home?

We completed an extension on our existing house in 2018 and put a lot of thought into the kitchen and living room.

My parents had recently both passed away so I had inherited lots of random but meaningful items, some of which I wanted to display. It needed to be a relaxed space to read whilst and chill whilst being the social centre of the house; to watch TV and hide all the AV equipment. Most of the fitted joinery comes from one large olive ash tree I sourced locally specifically for the project.

The display alcoves contain floating shelves displaying photos and treasured objects like the Dutch badge, make by my grandfather, he made one for each of his four children, in this case for my mum – Maria.

The room contains furniture by me including the a pair of Gazelle chairs and an oak coffee table –  now rather historic pieces from my own portfolio –  and pieces I have collected and restored, like the sofa bed designed and made by Guy Rogers in the 1960s.

Tell us more about the kitchen…

The kitchen is a relatively small space compared to the huge kitchens we design for clients, nevertheless it was lovely to make one for us as a family. The kitchen opens out into a dining area which contains a lozenge shaped dining table and our latest chair design called the ‘Iceni’ half-arm. Again the furniture and cabinets in the space were predominately made in olive ash, a particular favourite of mine.

In common with the living room, there are key objects I inherited here like the pieces of Delft, including a chandelier from my Dutch mother, so the blue and white became a theme. Strange because I thought I hated it when surrounded by it as a kid.  It’s a very simple modern functional space but somehow is also very crafted and natural.

Usually you would be designing and making for clients, rather than yourself. How does the experience differ?

Having my wife as a commissioning client was an interesting challenge and I did find it an eye-opening experience seeing the other side of the commissioning process. It is always different when it is your own money and budget. I would like to think the experience will make me a better, or at least more sensitive designer.

Lockdown may be over, but what did you get up to while it was on?

As for what’s kept me busy during lockdown, well work – I never really stopped. The workshop closed and furloughed the team, but I bought a stack of design work home and almost caught up. We are back and functioning almost normally now with a very promising looking order book. Aside from that – spending more time with my young family, walking the dog and picking up the guitar again seriously for the first time in many years have kept me occupied.

For more information on Simon Pirie, go to

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