Designer in Profile: Jez Marvin from Unwin Jones Partnership

Jez Marvin imageUnwin Jones Partnership

Name: Jez Marvin

Position within company: Partner








Tell us a little about your background in design (education, experience, etc)

  • Chartered Architect
  • Educated at University of Nottingham
  • Worked in Leeds, Portugal and Carlisle

I’ve been with Unwin Jones since 1991 and a partner since 2003. We’ve worked on hotel and leisure projects in the UK, the Caribbean, Portugal, China and Malaysia for clients such as glh, Hotels (Thistle and Guoman), De Vere, Q Hotels, The Langdale Estate, Seaham Hall, Gleneagles Hotel, The Old Course Hotel, St Andrew and many others.

How would you describe your personal design style?

We try to avoid having a “house style” – our buildings always try to respond to the site, landscape, surroundings and local vernacular but with a contemporary edge. We aim to design buildings with a sense of place, that are surprising at every turn and where the exteriors relate closely to the interiors. Detail is critical to the process – good detailing can be a delight!Where does your design inspiration come from?Everywhere, everyone – the biggest inspiration comes from team working – with colleagues in the office, clients, other designers. Cooperative problem solving can lead to fantastic solutions that the whole team feel ownership of.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?

Quality improves all the time as the majority of clients now fully understand the value and differentiation that good design can bring. Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in terms of materials, energy use, operational issues etc.

Name some key themes to consider when approaching design in 2014 and beyond.

  • Sustainability
  • Technology for the iPad generation
  • Localism – design rooted in the culture, identity, history and future of the area

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?

It’s a team effort and any member of the team can be the genius who solves the problem.

How important do you feel Design Awards are as recognition of designers talents and achievements?

Extremely important – they are awards that recognise talent and achievement globally and therefore allow companies like ours to showcase our capabilities around the world.

What projects are you currently working on?

We are just about to complete the new Hamilton Hall project in St Andrews for the Old Course Hotel. We are currently working on hotel refurbishment projects in central London totalling over 1500 rooms. We have a number of new build hotel and leisure projects at various stages of design What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months? To continue to develop the hotel and leisure side of our business by surpassing the expectations of our existing clients and by attracting new clients.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself
Your most treasured possession? I’m not really materialistic so I’m not bothered about possessions as such – I treasure time with my wife (and I wouldn’t be without my iPad!)

Your favourite holiday destination? Any ski resort (Canada, Europe or America)

Your favourite hotel/restaurant/bar? We spend a lot of time working on and staying in fantastic hotels, restaurants and bars – but for downtime a fantastic country pub is our favourite escape (as long as the real ale is well kept!)

Your favourite book / film / song? Favourite books – Catch 22, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. Favourite film – Can’t say I have one. Favourite song – too many to mention

Your favourite food and drink? Food – Anything spicy. Drink – Real Ale – Timothy Taylors Landlord

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon? A walk in the country ending up at a nice pub.

If you weren’t an architect, what would you be? Somebody who wanted to be an architect!