As Bespoke gears up to celebrate its tenth anniversary, we sat down with the director and lead Architect John Wilson to discuss what has changed in the world of Algarvian architecture over that time.
“We have had the pleasure of designing many exciting projects since I founded Bespoke, and as the years have passed, there seem to be more and more challenging projects appearing - all of which have helped us flourish as architects”, John stated proudly, and with a team of five senior architects now working in the Carvoeiro office, it’s a testament to the rising demand of more unique and creative homes in the region.
Bespoke works on various projects as a full-service architecture firm, from grand new home designs to renovations, project management, and commercial builds, including a recent flurry of rural tourism projects. Offering services in English and Portuguese, the team can seamlessly bridge the gap between homeowners new to Portugal and all the legal entities and authorities that form the less glamorous side of creating a dream home.
“Listening to a client’s needs is central to our ethos”, John continued, “It’s imperative that we tailor every project to their individual requirements while never sacrificing style and design ethics.”
Looking through Bespoke’s recent body of work, there is an apparent evolving trend to architecture in the region. While traditional Algarvian homes are still very much in demand, the use of modern design features alongside conventional elements, or in fact, statement homes employing international design techniques, have become much more prominent.
“We are constantly pushing the boundaries of design, keeping in mind building techniques, sustainability, and maintaining a respect for the environment”, John adds, “An essential focus when considering some of the local and global factors that affect the environment”.
Having completed his BA in London before pursuing a Masters in Portugal, John feels this has helped him and the team work with a more open-minded attitude in relation to expectations and viable reality. Indeed, as a six-strong crew, each bringing their own flair and design styles to Bespoke, it’s not unusual for a project’s lead architect to collaborate with another member of the team to find creative solutions to problems; whether it be the plot dimensions, planning permissions, or maximising space with a different approach.
This has been especially true for a new series of homes that John and the Bespoke team have been working on alongside Spy Manor. This recently founded production agency is also bringing ‘movie inspired’ home designs to the Algarve in collaboration with Bespoke - the first in the series taking its inspiration from the cult film series Star Wars.
“The most exciting part of this project has been the freedom the client gave us. This allowed us to rethink the layout of your typical villa completely and explore different applied concepts” John eagerly shared, flipping through the mock-ups of the designs for the build, which will commence imminently.
“Using a wide range of materials, it’s not just the shape of the property which has taken inspiration from the film, but the use of light, a suspended swimming pool, and an underground garage and cinema which utilise a futuristic design”. One in a series of many movie-inspired homes soon to grace the Algarve coast, it’s an exciting project for the Bespoke team. However, much of their time is still dedicated to creating magnificent family homes, either as renovations for those who have secured a land plot.
For would-be property developers or home renovators, John said that three key things remain the same even after a decade of Bespoke operating in the region. “Location, budget and an open mind of what can be achieved” - sound advice that is tried and tested over the years, although it seems the possibility of what your dream Algarvian home could look like has never been more endless.
And how does John see the next decade shaping up for Bespoke Algarve?
“We hope to be recognised in the market as amongst the best architectural practices in Portugal, to continue pushing boundaries, but most importantly, to continue to deliver a truly bespoke service to each and every one of our clients.”