Meet the team: Les Witten

Les Witten, Associate Director

Job title: Associate Director.

When did you join Morrison Design? 1998.

How did you get into architecture? Architecture chooses you! It’s just always something I wanted to do, from reading about the Pompidou Centre in the papers as a teen to an article about the city of Brasilia – a brand new city which felt like something out of the space ages at that time.

What are you currently working on? The Lubrizol Southern campus and the Sloane Club in London which we’re transforming. It was known as a gentleman’s member’s only club in Chelsea and we’re refurbishing it, adding elements such as a wellness centre and orangery.

Which project are you most proud of? Osmaston Primary School in Derby sticks out in my mind – I felt like we were able to give something back to the local community. We were all so invested in this project, including the contractors, as Derby City Council wanted to use it as a catalyst for regeneration in the local area. It’s quite a deprived area so watching the children’s faces light up as they walked into their new school and saw the atrium made me feel so proud of the job we’d done there.

What do you love most about your job? I get such a buzz from seeing something that I’ve visualized in my mind become a physical entity, and of course seeing the people who use the buildings react so positively gives me a huge sense of satisfaction.

Bishop Edward King Chapel

Where do you get your inspiration for a new project? Listening to the client, taking in their ideas, and hearing what they really want (rather than just what they’re able to articulate) usually gives me some great insights. Sometimes it’s just one word that they use which sparks an idea. When we’re working with the refurbishment of existing buildings we can of course tap into the exterior architecture of the building which equally helps and sets its own challenges!

What’s it like to work at Morrison Design? Brilliant! It’s such a supportive and encouraging team and the new open plan office space has really encouraged a lovely, relaxed atmosphere which is now blossoming.

Why should clients choose to work with Morrison Design?
We’re so committed to every single project we work on; we invest ourselves and our work is a passion -from the directors down through the rest of the team.

And just for fun…

Favourite building: I have too many to list here, but my current favourite is Bishop Edward King Chapel in Oxford – it’s a beautiful space.  I also love Notre Dame Du Haute in Ronchamps, Pompidou Centre in Paris, Moor Crag in Bowness-on-Windermere, Berliner Philharmonie in Berlin and Jubilee Line Station in Westminster.

Favourite food: North African or Middle Eastern.

Favourite brand: I really dislike brands! I tend to choose objects for what they are.

Something you dislike: Country and Western music.

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