On the first of this month I met with the legend of sustainable architecture and design that is Oliver Heath, at London’s fashionable Hoxton Hotel. I was so excited to meet him that actually I spilt my cup of tea, to which he promptly responded by whipping out a bunch of tissues from his bag and mopping it up before I had noticed what had happened: ‘it comes from having 2 young daughters I’m afraid’ he said. Oliver’s charm is warm and welcoming and I could instantly see why he has been so successful in his career, with too many television, national newspaper and Grand Designs Live appearances to mention.
After a post-graduate degree in Architecture from the acclaimed Bartlett school at UCL, his company Heath Design has undertaken a number of interesting projects, including the design of Islington’s Green Living Centre, Virgin Atlantic HQ and the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. Mixing modern architectural innovation and natural, sustainably-sourced materials, whether eco exhibitions, events, museums, domestic or commercial interiors, everything Heath Design touches reeks of stylish classicism, whilst being an inspiration for our low carbon future.
The impression I got was that Oliver does not like to sit still for long and always has several exciting projects on the go. His most recent book, Urban Eco Chic is out in paperback now and available in 6 languages. If you're not quite as lucky as those who get given a signed copy (eh hem, myself), then it can be ordered off EcoCentric, the online design store that Oliver started a few years ago.
After being one of the main presenters and designers on Changing Rooms, his new TV programme, Dream Homes, comprises fifteen 1-hour shows due to air on Discovery Travel and Living from 4th October at 9pm, every day of the week. He is set to be the Energy Savings Trust spokesperson for the forthcoming Energy Savings Week (25th-31st October), on the theme of Taking Control (of your home’s energy use). He has also recently done work for Ikea, The Future Of Kitchens.
I honestly do not know how he found time for it in amongst all the ideas, schemes and tasks that permeate his everyday life, but Oliver has recently finished the retrofitting of his own home in Brighton. I particularly enjoy the foot pedals instead of kitchen sink taps to stop you wasting water. There is to be an article about it in the Property section of this week’s Sunday Times (Sunday 19th September).
A font of eco design knowledge, a wealth of sustainable style, a colourful career peppered with a rich tapestry of projects; all of these things, as well as modesty and magnetism, make Oliver one of the most fascinating people I have ever met.