Our in-house design team works alongside external architectural and landscape practices assembled for each project. Emilie joined our team earlier this year.
Growing up in Scandinavia and working on development projects around the world has given her architectural work a truly international perspective. Now she’s applying that experience to helping design the Phoenix Project here in Lewes in ways that inspire and enable sustainable living.
Where did your interest in design and sustainable living come from?
“I grew up in Denmark and Norway, so a healthy and sustainable way of life was second nature for me - for example as a child, cycling and rollerblading were just as important as learning to walk, and were stitched into my everyday life from then on.
Growing up in co-operative housing association buildings showed me first-hand both the benefits and the challenges of shared living. Many of the shared facilities were meeting points for social interaction. We got to know our neighbours really well, felt safe and could see from an early age how living this way was more environmentally friendly.
“My masters programme at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts focused on Architecture and Extreme Environments. Working on projects such as phytoremediation of the polluted Yellow River in China and bamboo toilets for girls in Pemba Island, Tanzania reinforced the fundamental importance of focusing on outcomes - and specifically on quality of life for people and the ecology they live within - as a core principle driving anything we’re designing. I’m still finding inspiration from all around the world - from Kenyan agroforestry initiatives to Portuguese edible botanical gardens. "
You’re working at the heart of the Phoenix Project design team. Which aspects of the project are you finding most exciting?
“One of the things I love most about the project is the way we’re using the principle of healthy and sustainable living to inform every aspect of the site. This is expressed in so many different ways - from climbing walls, yoga and rehearsal space in the Old Soap Factory to urban farming and super-greening on every possible building, roof and balcony”.
What are you preparing for the Design Festival 10th - 12th September?
“I’m helping curate the exhibition space, preparing models and an axonometric map and an illustrative roof plan, showing everyday life around the project. And I’m diving deep into plans for a proposed sustainable living and recreational centre in the Old Soap Factory. It’s going to be so exciting to share our early drawings with everyone, and to gather ideas and inspirations from the wider community”.