Blog, Interview

Behind the Scenes with Fiona Naylor, Johnson Naylor

10 November, 2020

Fiona Naylor, co-founder of Johnson Naylor takes us Behind the Scenes of her personal design project and second home, the Experimental Station. As well as an on-going design project, it’s also where she spends most of her time when she’s not in London.

Fiona’s film is especially relevant at a time where we reflect on the places that we live in and what we need them to provide. Whether that’s a space that successfully integrates working, living and entertaining or spaces that connect to nature. As more of us are spending more time at home we have started to see the importance of having a space that we can enjoy spending time in and reflects our needs in life. We are all shifting our mindsets and we hope this film will inspire and give you a unique insight into Fiona’s world from a design perspective.

Described as “where the wild west meets the post-apocalyptic” Dungeness is a 468-acre estate which is famed for its lighthouses, coastal lookout tower and Prospect Cottage owned by the late Derek Jarman. It’s rich in British coastal heritage and nature alike, it is a nature reserve, an SSSI and also home to a nuclear power station. Over the years Fiona has renovated or rebuilt many of the industrial buildings in Dungeness starting with the Coastguard Lookout, then Experimental Station and more recently the Decca Radar Station.

The Experimental Station is now Fiona’s home away from London. It was originally named by Trinity House who used the building as a testing station for their lighthouse technology such as photovoltaics, optics, paints, lenses and fog horns until the early 1980’s. The building design integrates the outside in, connecting the striking external environment into the living spaces with large picture windows. Natural colours and material palettes were used to further blend the external environment to the interiors. The end result is a home that is both a retreat from everyday London life as well as inspiration for design work.

Fiona says “I get a lot of inspiration here too. If you’re a designer, you don’t stop thinking about ideas when you leave the studio. I’m constantly scribbling things down, and a lot of the thinking for projects is designed here; it continues to be a place of experimentation in that way. When I’m here I read, cook, draw, paint, sit outside, run, cycle and always seem to be doing continual maintenance jobs. It’s about finding things that make you slow-down”

Photography credits: Peter Marlow, Magnum Photos

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