Architect Mark Lee is a partner at One 17 Design, Huddersfield. He specialises in residential design and has also created the Dyehouse range of homeware
Describe your home style? I like design to feel natural not forced. My style often encompasses large open-plan spaces filled with lots of natural light and a clear palette of natural materials and simple forms in the fixtures and fittings. I see interior design as a fundamental part of the architecture not an afterthought. I come across too many interior designers who are no more than decorators. I like to think my designs are layered spaces with a simple sophistication, hopefully beautiful at first glance, but slowly revealing an even deeper inner beauty.
What is your favourite piece of furniture and why? I love the Shell chair designed in 1963 by Hans Wegner and still available through Carl Hansen & Son. Described as a sculptural easy chair, its triangular footprint gives near perfect stability. I think it is beautiful from all angles and is a perfect statement piece in virtually any residential interior.
Where do you shop for homeware? Close to home, I love the convenience of homeware department store Redbrick Mill in Batley, The Home at Salts Mill, Saltaire and, for impulsive purchases, the gift shop at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The David Mellor design museum, shop, café and cutlery factory in Hathersage in the Peak District is well worth a visit.
What is your interiors wish list? Just about everything at the moment. After 20 years in The Round House we have just started thinking seriously about a full interior refit, so it will be new kitchen, bathroom and fixtures and fittings. Making decisions and recommendations about light, colour, texture etc. is an everyday part of my job but making the choices for yourself is very, very different.
Which building do you most admire? Architects’ holidays always involve lots of architecture. However, two iconic buildings have left a lasting memory. The first was Sydney Opera House, designed by Jorn Utzon in 1956. The second was Falling Water by the legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Name the architects you most admire and why? Arthur Quarmby, who designed his own underground house, was my first real architectural influence. From the moment I joined the practice in 1985 on my first year out from college I began to understand the fundamental difference between architecture and building. I admire the work of lots of architects, including David Chipperfield, Norman Foster, Peter Gluck, Edwin Lutyens – the list and styles go on and on but one thing that pulls them all together: the ability to keep the big picture in mind when designing the smallest details.
Is there anything that is exciting you at the moment in terms of architecture? After what seems like decades of style-driven buildings I’m encouraged by what I might describe as a return to authenticity: a concern for the fundamentals of space and light and using materials for their inherent qualities, focussing on the final building rather shapes that can be created on a computer.
What and where is your ideal home? After Huddersfield and The Round House it would be a contemporary modernist villa on the banks of Lake Geneva above Lausanne facing south-east across the lake towards the snow- capped mountains beyond.
■ www.one17 design.com; thedyehouse.com