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We believe that sound design principles can be applied across buildings, interiors and products, helping to reinvent everyday spaces, places and things to suit our changing world.  


Through our broad spectrum of experience, expertise and growing portfolio of work we explore these principles by listening, investigating, researching and making.


In our journal we provide a window into this process by sharing some of our views and what is happening in our studio and on current projects

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The Cabins named as Civic Trust Awards 2023 winner

January 11, 2023

So pleased that the Cabins have been confirmed as a winner in the 2023 Civic Trust Awards – congratulations to all the other clients, design teams and projects.

A cluster of mixed-use timber framed buildings in the heart of Folkestone’s Old Town, supporting creative industries by providing affordable, innovative spaces for studios, workshops and homes that together create a new area of public realm.  Located on a complex site between the buildings bounding two streets in a densely built-up urban environment, incorporating a right of way from the adjacent street, the new buildings incorporate Jacqueline Poncelet’s ‘Shimmera’ artwork for the 2021 Folkestone Triennial.

Image : Edmund Sumner

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Architects' Journal Awards : Highly commend 

November 24, 2022

At this week's Architects' Journal Awards they Jury highly commend The Cabins in the 'mixed use' category, citing the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust as an 'exceptional' client.  The judges were fulsome in their praise of this scheme. 'forward-thinking', 'done with care', with an 'exceptional' client. Located on a complex site in a densely built up urban environment, this cluster of mixed-use timber framed buildings in the heart of Folkestone's Old Town' supports creative industries by providing affordable , innovative spaces for studios, workshops and homes.  'This is the way we should be thinking about development', added the judges.  'It's not overdeveloped its embedded in place and is very sensitive to its community.   It is doing what needs to be done.  They've done a fantastic job'

Image : Edmund Sumner

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New Learning Space and Mill Bay public realm study

September 23, 2022

Appointed by Creative Folkestone, we developed the brief for a series of new learning spaces for adults coupled with residential accommodation and proposals to create an area of public realm along Mill Bay.

The form of the building responds to the differing scales and streetscape of Tontine Street and Mill Bay with the upper floors stepping back from the building line to create a massing appropriate to its context.  The building’s structure is CLT with the lower two floors clad with undulating profiled panels of constituted aggregate and resin.  The upper floors are clad in thermal treated timber.


Whilst the ground and first floors provide flexible learning spaces the second and third floors provide space for self- contained 2, 3 and 4 person short term units for those attending residential learning courses and visitors to Folkestone who wish to stay for a few days - such as to visit F51, with the opportunity for terraces and views across Payers park, along Tontine St towards the harbour and in the opposite direction to the skate park.

Image : Konstrukt

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Finalist : Architect's Journal Awards

August  22, 2022

We are thrilled that 'The Cabins' have been short listed in the 2022 AJ’s Architecture Awards; celebrating and rewarding design excellence in UK architecture.  We will be keeping our fingers crossed...


The Cabins are a cluster of mixed-use timber framed buildings in the heart of Folkestone’s Old Town, supporting creative industries by providing affordable, innovative spaces for studios, workshops and homes, encouraging the buildings around Payers Park to extend a positive response to the park.

Photo : Edmund Sumner


Finalist : Structural Timber Awards

July  14, 2022

Really pleased to say that ‘The Cabins’ have been short listed as a finalist for the 2022 Structural Timber Awards.  Will keep our fingers crossed…


The timber frame construction of these new buildings, which are clad in FSC Siberian Larch, reduces the embodied energy, both by sequestering carbon and reducing the quantity of excavation and concrete foundations.⠀

Photo : Matt Rowe

@STAwards22 #STAwards

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Architecture Today : In Practice

June 01, 2022

Wonderful opportunity to write about what Folkestone and the people and projects I've been fortunate to work with over the past 25 years, and for all this to be captured by the very talented Tim Soar in the accompanying photograph.

Embracing sustainability as the broad subject it truly is allows us to draw on a range of disciplines and considerations: economic pragmatism; loose fit design that supports long-term flexibility; retention and retro-fitting; innovation in the use of materials and resources. All these require creativity and problem-solving, coupled with perseverance, sometimes patience too, but in turn allow responses to adapt to incremental progress; this is the bit of the job that continues to intrigue and energise.

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The Hat District, Luton

February 21, 2022

Neat have been appointed by The Culture Trust to prepare a long-term property and  sustainability plan.  This will be supported by the preparation of a number of individual studies bringing to bear our experience of sustainable property development and management. 


Once complete this 15 year plan will allow The Culture Trust to develop their properties and wider objectives with confidence and stakeholder support.

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Architecture Today article

October 6, 2021

Photos by Edmund Sumner and Matt Rowe accompanying a great article by Charles Holland who wrote;

' The new houses and studios are accommodated in a building expressed as a series of timber- clad sheds of subtly varying heights. The overall impression is of a casually arranged group but the internal planning is tight and economical... essentially two-stories high but they are tall enough to contain small, loft-like mezzanine levels which can be used as a home study or an extra sleeping space, offering a sense of spaciousness...'


The site issues of overlooking have been cleverly dealt with and the right of way at the rear of the houses has been expanded to create an informal domestic courtyard... the complexities of the site have been carefully resolved...and the materials have been carefully detailed.

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Folkestone Triennial 2021

July 21, 2021

We are proud to be supporting the 2021 Folkestone Triennial and the amazing are artists who have alongside Creative Folkestone and the curator Lewis Biggs created such an uplifting and inspirational Triennial ‘The Plot’.


We are especially pleased as our soon to complete buildings at 23 to 25 Tontine Street incorporate the work of one of the twenty one artists. 


Early in the development of the design of this mixed use project at 23 to 25 Tontine Street in Folkestone we began working with Jacqueline Poncelet to incorporate her ‘Shimmera’ art work which captures the energy of the recently restored public access through the site between Payers Park, Tontine Street and Mill Bay.  Now as the Triennial opens the striking patterns of the shimmer discs and their deferring accents are revealed.


The Folkestone Triennial 2021 is open between 21st July and 2nd November 2021

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Architects' Journal article

April 8, 2021

Great article by Fran Williams with photos by Tim Soar and some fabulous feed back from the client and end user team.

Visually striking and tagged by Banksy, 69 The Old High Street, connects art and architecture, offering a new space for business innovation and creative endeavour at the heart of Folkestone’s creative community. By linking The Old High Street and Tontine Street, it feels like one of the final structural pieces in the creative transformation of Folkestone’s creative quarter.  A beacon of collaboration, this building, with thanks to Neat Architects and The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, has regenerated a derelict site and established a new place of opportunity – just what we need in 2021.
Alastair Upton, chief executive, Creative Folkestone

I am thrilled that such an interesting building has been created, bringing together the very different characters of Tontine Street and The Old High Street. Many people in this part of Folkestone remember this as an empty and rather unloved site so I’m delighted to see such a wonderfully positive addition that has received such a great response from the local residents.
Gabrielle Wilson, project director, Roger De Haan Charitable Trust

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Banksy's Art buff returns

September 16, 2020

For the past three years or so we've been keeping this a secret and working with the curatorial team at Creative Folkestone and the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust to devise a solution that integrates this piece by renowned artist Banksy into the building, placing it at the heart of the small newly formed public courtyard along The Old High Street in Folkestone.

Banksy produced this piece in the dead of night during the 2014 Folkestone Triennial, and it's gone on a bit of journey since then; shipped to America where it was put up for sale before the the RDHCT and Creative Folkestone intervened and fought for its return to Folkestone.  6 Years later it's made its reappearance and we are delighted to have played a part in its return by creating a new home for it.


A special place to be creative

August 31, 2020

During the very early stages of this project for the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust we proposed that the 4th of 5 art works created by artists Diane Dever and Jonathan Wright for the 2014 Folkestone Triennial, that stood on the then vacant site, be retained and integrated into the project.  The RDHCT, Creative Folkestone and both artists embraced this proposal, and so Pent House 4 has been converted into an 'in residence' studio space sitting along side the 4th roof top apartment of this mixed use project.  Pent House 4 metaphorically and physically pokes its head above the parapet of the new elevation of projecting fins. 


Creative individuals can, from late September 2020, apply to Creative Folkestone to rent this unique apartment and begin an inspirational journey working within an art work curated by Lewis Biggs for the 2014 Triennial.

Photo by Matt Rowe

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If only all sites progressed at this pace

July 16, 2020

A site with multiple boundaries, restricted access and our belief that we should, as an industry, be minimising embodied and life time energy, drove the use of insulated timber frame construction combined with timber cladding. 

This short time lapse photo sequence shows the second larger timber frame building  containing three double height commercial units and three two storey residences, being constructed over the period of 1 week, in the once neglected heart of Folkestone's Old Town.  All thanks to the vision and investment of the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and Creative Folkestone

Watch out for the seagull at 1 minute 8 seconds - blink and you'll miss him

Time lapse photography by Matt Rowe

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A Pan Mac Book ; making Pan Macmillan's new home

May 20, 2020

Reflecting on past experiences during Mental Health Awareness Week, especially in the current circumstances, we are reminded of how much we enjoyed working with the Pan Macmillan project team and completing the project with Knight Harwood from start to completion. It was a truly collaborative project with a great deal of consideration and generosity from all sides.  We enjoyed the experience so much we created a book mapping the project's design and construction, illustrated with our development sketches, colour and material selections, photographs during workshop and site visits, the artwork we created from Pan Macmillan's archive material and the fantastic photographs of the completed project taken by Edmund Sumner.

Below is a link to a short flick through of the completed book

Wishing everybody well now, and for the future

23 to 25 Tontine St, Cabins, Gordon Abbo

Performance, texture and colour

February 20, 2020

The technical and performance requirements associated with timber rain screen cladding, especially in a tight urban site with multiple boundaries, both real and abstracted as part B of the building regulations, are complex and take time to resolve.  Added to this mix of constraints and narrowing field of solutions, is our desire to create a well balanced, interesting composition of colours and textures.

This week, with the various samples of timber cladding in hand, we have been working through the various arrangements of species, treatments and colours that will be seen when the cladding is first installed, and evolve as weathering starts to play its role in settling the building’s into their location in the once neglected heart of Folkestone's Old Town. 

All thanks to the vision and investment of the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and Creative Folkestone

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A table for one, two, three or more

December 19, 2019

International publishers Pan Macmillan commissioned us to design a table to satisfy one of the nine work settings key to their new office.

Through its proportions and shape the table balances three patterns of use;

  • The shared and accumulated use pattern synonymous with the library table where visitors arrive as individuals, taking up their preferred position, one by one occupying all of the available spaces until the table is full, whilst maintaining their individual existence and tasks. 

  • The collaborative work group, who coalesce around the gently tapering ‘ends’ facing in towards one another whilst leaving sufficient space for another group to join the table without crowding

  • The artwork or reference use pattern, where one or two people require sufficient space to layout all of their reference and artwork material in an array around them, way from their colleagues to prevent distraction to either.


We developed the key dimensions and proportions through a combination of initial sketch details, 2D, 3D modelling software and a mdf mock up in our office, followed by the invaluable input of Benchmark furniture and joinery makers who provided samples of details and then created the tables for Pan Macmillan


Up against it...

November 08, 2019

Compact, multiple boundaries, very limited access and overlooked from all angles; tight urban sites are complex to solve, even more so when minimising embodied and life time energy by using highly insulated timber frame construction combined with timber cladding. 

However, and perhaps because of these challenges, we are delighted to see the first of our cluster of finely crafted timber frame buildings start to emerge from the once neglected heart of Folkestone's Old Town.  All thanks to the vision and investment of the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust and Creative Folkestone

Photo by Matt Rowe

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February 20, 2020

Pan Macmillan used workplace effectiveness expert Leesman, activity-based working pioneer Veldhoen + Company, and architect and interior designer Neat to think things through.  The result is an environment that, while it looks quintessentially like a Pan Macmillan office, functions more like a home.

                              'this is not an extravagance, it is a coherent response to our strategy'

                               Anthony Forbes Watson : Managing Director of Pan Macmillan

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Pan Macmillan's new headquarters

September 08, 2019

Building on our experience of developing new and innovative workplace environments over the past 15 years  we are about to unveil the new headquarters building for the internationally respected publisher Pan Macmillan.  

Alongside our role as architect, lead consultant and interior designer, which includes the design of bespoke furniture pieces to achieve specific needs and combination of uses, we were also appointed to design the wayfinding, graphic branding and curate the artwork for the building.

Photo by Edmund Sumner

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The joy of good colour and sunlight

June 10, 2019

We invested a great deal of time selecting the gradated transition from deep blood red to vibrant orange set against three different shades of grey gradated from light against the blood red to dark against the orange.  Today with the scaffold struck and the sun shining we feel the investment paid off with lots of visitors and local residents stoping to spend a bit of time taking in the new addition to Tontine Street. 

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Style and luxury cap doffed to our recently completed private chalet

January 02, 2019

Following the complete refurbishment of this private chalet located in the exclusive la legettaz area of Val D’Isere, France, Ceri Tinley managing director and co-founder of Consensio; a luxury ski chalet operator renowned for its attention to detail, published an article giving advice on how to achieve luxury chalet style citing our project and selections.  Very pleased that we are in such good company and recognised by such an authority in the field. 

You can read the article at

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A long distance view improves your day

September 29, 2018

When designing our innovative new live-work project at 69 The Old High Street in Folkestone we set about creating an impressive range of spaces that maximised the best medium and long distance views possible as research shows that these are key to maintaining our wellbeing.

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Craft and complexity of steelwork

June 20, 2018

The pre fabricated frame and internal circulation steelwork for our innovative new live-work scheme at 69 The Old High Street in Folkestone has now been completed.  Providing an early opportunity to appreciate the way design responds to the change in scale between the two very different streetscapes

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Planning consent awarded

April 11, 2018

Our master plan for Bury Gate Farm has been awarded planning consent - Set within the South Downs National Park, our sensitive proposals for this rural estate were fully supported by Horsham District Council, SDNP and local residents


Innovative mixed use scheme on site

January 31, 2018

Our mixed use scheme creating four floors of media style workspace, four apartments and incorporating two art works, one of which will become a roof top creative studio, is on site - due to complete later this year.


Bury Gate Farm master plan

December 22, 2017

Set within the South Downs National Park our master plan for Bury Gate Farm has been submitted for planning - a unique opportunity to provide a sensitive development structure for this rural estate

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Folkestone Triennial 2017

August 17, 2017

Incorporating two exhibits from the Folkestone 2017 Triennial our project at 3 to 7 Tontine Street is now complete forming the gateway to the Creative Quarter and drawing in huge crowds

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Hackney award planning consent

July 11, 2017

We are very pleased to reveal that Hackney Council have awarded planning consent for our carefully considered  dark brick  extension and re working of this Georgian terraced house

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Planning consent awarded

September 03, 2017

Wiltshire County Council award planning consent to our timber clad extension to a historic family home nestled between listed buildings in the heart of conservation area.


New project in the heart of the design district of London

November 30, 2018

A great way to conclude a successful 2018 and a fabulous start to 2019 as we are appointed by Pan Macmillan as architects and interior designers for their new 40,000 sq.ft head office in the heart of Clerkenwell.  Creating a trail blazing new work environment for their talented and creative team of over 300 people. 

69 The Old High Street; 69TOHS, Gordon A

Site ready for works to start

October 22, 2017

After some complex and delicate demolition works the site of our latest project in Folkestone is now ready.  Ground works start next week followed by piling.  Great to see this project progressing.

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