Croydon iStreet Competition

Friday 7th July, 2017

Much excitement in the studio today. We are incredibly thrilled to have been shortlisted for the Architects’ Journal Croydon iStreet Competition.

CW Studio put together a brilliant design team of creative fun people, including Falconer Chester Hall Architects, Chris Mullany Creative Technologist and Light Collective, with suppliers Vestre Street Furniture & Hardscape.

We are now developing our interactive street concept for the next stage and look forward to sharing our designs with you.

So proud to be on such an amazing shortlist!


Friday 7th July, 2017

Twelve months on and the planting at Moneypenny HQ is establishing well and the meadow is in flower. The staff are thoroughly enjoying their landscape and people were lunching on the deck overlooking the wetland and picnicking in the meadow which was fantastic.

We visited site with photographer Tom Biddle who took some wonderful photographs, including this photo of the view across the meadow towards the rear of the building.

“All of the flowers and grasses are flowering now and it makes the walk around the office look luscious. I can’t believe how pretty everything looks. There are so many plants I’ve never seen before which are really interesting to look at. It looks more like the outside of a hotel than an office. We love it!” – Amy Whyte, Moneypenny PA

CW Studio in the City

Wednesday 30th November, 2016

Two months in…

It’s all change! We packed, we moved, we’re here! Goodbye home-based studio, hello brand new, super cool, co-working space in the heart of Manchester. I had my heart set on That Space the moment I saw it so, Sophie our studio manager, got to work making sure that it was the right decision for the company and writing many many lists.

And we moved! We are in That Space, a property co-working space on Princess Street, which is a fantastic space filled with architects, planners, surveyors, contractors and developers, excellent coffee and a fridge always stacked with beers.

We have been working on some wonderful projects over the last four years, the company is growing, we have new and exciting projects lined up for 2017, and it felt like the perfect time to take the business up a notch, get into the city, and allow room for expansion… And expanding we are! We have an incredibly talented and creative graduate joining us full time in January, and our fabulous freelancers are still with us, so it’s an exciting year ahead.

Thank you SO much to everyone who has been supportive and encouraging. We are VERY grateful to our cheerleaders and wise advisors!

So, what have we been up to?

Carolyn, Director – I have been recycling all that hoarded paper that I really, really don’t need any more, sorting and packing, doing what Sophie tells me to do (she’s very strict) and buying beautiful things for my new desk that I definitely do need. My new desk turns into a standing desk, an option I consider every now and then as I sit comfortably, drinking large mugs of frothy coffee and staring out through the window at the beautiful facade of the town hall opposite.

I’ve been catching up with people (never not available for a red wine), brainstorming the company’s identity with Lucy Lomas at Luma Marketing and designing, designing, designing!

Sophie, Studio Manager – Anyone who has ever been in charge of an office move will know how stressful it can be! I’ve been busy making sure everyone who needs to know we’ve moved knows that we’ve moved, updating all of our documents and templates, introducing a new CRM and Project Management system, working on our end-of-year plan and thinking about how we can free up even more of Carolyn’s time so she can concentrate on what she does best (which isn’t filing, btw). I’ve really enjoyed being part of the CW Studio team these last 6 months and I feel such a sense of achievement knowing that I’m playing a small part in its growing success.

What are our plans for 2017?

We have a number of projects that will be on site next year, which is exciting, including a residential scheme in Castlefield with public realm and a podium courtyard garden, and Broxhead House in Hampshire, a new Business Enterprise Centre with formal landscape and an overgrown secret garden.

Moneypenny HQ phase two will be completed, and we are really looking forward to seeing the meadow in flower. We are designing a private garden that leads down to a lake, complete with boat house and jetty, and continue to design special outdoor spaces for a high school and sixth form college in Cheshire.

I’ll be teaching the London College of Garden Design diploma students again next year at Kew Gardens, where we’ll explore spatial design by making super-fast, super-scrappy, non-presentation models, and have fun with cardboard and tiny plastic people. I will be speaking at the Landscape Show at Battersea Park, which was great fun this year, and I’m also writing an article on pop-up pavilions for the Landscape Journal.

We are very excited to see what 2017 has in store for CW Studio. Pop in for a coffee if you’re in town!




Cheadle Hulme High School receives planning permission

Friday 4th November, 2016

Cheadle Hulme High School has received planning permission which is wonderful news. We designed the landscape for the new entrance for the sixth form and new teaching school building by Pozzoni Architecture, working with Hardscape to introduce innovative materials to be able to include the schools logo colours in the paving using sustainable recycled glass pavers and etching inspirational words chosen by the pupils into the paving.

More about the project here.

CW Studio goes to Italy

Wednesday 26th October, 2016

Beautiful stone, gorgeous views, lovely food and delicious wine. A three day trip to Trento, Italy earlier this month with Hardscape to see a porphyry quarry was a fantastic opportunity to learn about this stunning stone.

Porphyry is an igneous rock formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava. The word porphyry is from Ancient Greek and means ‘purple’; localized metal ore deposits give the stone some of its many vivid rich colours. As well as being vibrant and warm in colour, it is extremely robust and is often used as setts in fan patterns and sawn for something more contemporary.

We saw porphyry in the quarry, the plant, and in a number of inspiring landscape schemes as we travelled up into the Alps. This is the only place to get true porphyry (if you get offered it from China it’s not the real thing!)

Sometimes I really really love my job.


Timber Wharf Completes

Tuesday 20th September, 2016

We thoroughly enjoyed collaborating on Timber Wharf with the brilliant Claire Brooker, interior designer at Chalkspace, and the excellent Ferrious, who supplied the gorgeous furniture and implemented the project.

Timber Wharf is the Urban Splash development in Castlefield, Manchester, and our client, Clear Law Solicitors, purchased five units here for their new workspace in the city.

We designed the outdoor terrace which overlooks the Bridgewater Canal, and had a brief to provide an attractive and contemporary place for staff to enjoy.

We worked closely with Claire Brooker to get the palette of furniture and colours just right, so that internally and externally worked seamlessly and to create striking views out on to the terrace from within.

The loose chairs on the terrace and in the office are Vegetal designed by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec. Positioned chairs on the terrace are Little Albert designed by Ron Arad. The round tables are the Container Table and Container Stools by Moooi, and all the planters, inside and out, are by Vondom.

Planting was based on a strong green palette using the texture of multi-stem birch trees, ferns, grasses and ground cover planting layered with spring and autumn bulbs. Internally planting included a variety of succulents and palms.

More info and photos on the project here. All photographs by Helena Marie.

Moneypenny HQ opens its gates

Monday 5th September, 2016

It’s so exciting to see Moneypenny’s new £15m headquarters in Wrexham complete. CW Studio designed the landscape for this striking new building by AEW Architects. It’s designed to accommodate over 1000 staff and has a tree house for meetings and a village pub.

The building is set in a ten-acre landscape and boasts dramatic views over meadows, woodland and an orchard, to the countryside beyond, all designed to create a happy, relaxing and inspirational setting for employees and visitors.

Employees and visitors enter along an Irish blue limestone walkway through a landscape of tall, swaying grasses, echoing the natural landscape of the meadow beyond. Hornbeam hedging gives structure and defines the space. Solid granite welcome benches with Artscape etching by Hardscape terminate diagonal crossing paths and are enclosed with tall grasses.

A timber deck leads from the building to a wetland filled with filtered surface water, while a wet meadow detention basin holds any overflow in severe weather.

An orchard provides apples, damsons, plums and black cherries for the staff to enjoy. All species were chosen to provide fruit for the staff to enjoy throughout their working day, and Moneypenny provide picnic baskets and blankets so that people can sit in the meadow at lunchtime and eat apples from the trees. It’s so wonderful to see the staff loving their new home.

Moneypenny has been the perfect client and it was fantastic to get such lovely feedback from Ed Reeves, Moneypenny co-founder and director, who said:

“CW Studio has exceeded our expectations with this project. Carolyn has been a joy to work with and has delivered something that we’re truly proud of.”

Some planting numbers!

  • 1750 trees
  • 500 bulbs
  • Over 1000 ornamental grasses
  • Over 1000 wetland plants
  • 12,000 m2 wildflower meadow
  • 10 oak saplings from the 500-year-old oak tree on site were transplanted and replanted in the meadow, to protect the heritage of the tree for at least the next 500 years.


Photo credit main photo: Aliva UK


Urban Sketching

Wednesday 31st August, 2016

I love sketching. I’m not the greatest but sometimes it comes out ok. I tried life drawing but was pretty hopeless and my sketches reminded me of when I was twelve. I recently joined the Urban Sketchers Manchester for an evening with Simone Ridyard (whose sketches are exquisite) for an evening of sketching at Castlefield, Manchester.

My first sketches weren’t great, but this one, my last one of the evening, I felt I’d finally captured something of the scene before me. It reminded me of when I was a theatre designer and used to sketch all the time. When we’d finished we went to the pub. Must keep this one up!


Tuesday 9th August, 2016

The Hive at Kew is incredible. Wonderful to look at from within a specially created one-acre wildflower meadow. Even more wonderful to look out of onto the beautiful big trees at Kew. It feels like a gently pulsing cocoon. The soundtrack from members of Spiritualized and a colony of 40,000 bees resonates through this multi-sensory, completely immersive experience.

The 17m high structure is made from a lattice of 170,000 pieces of aluminium fitted with hundreds of glowing LED lights, which respond to the vibrations of honeybees from a hive within Kew Gardens. You can even put a wooden lolly stick in your mouth, stick it in a hole and feel the vibrations. I did of course.

Open until the end of 2017 this is a must-visit.



Friday 29th April, 2016

Close up of detail to a granite bench destined for the Moneypenny HQ project. Artwork and photograph by the excellent Hardscape. Longer post to follow…

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