Our Design Philosophy

Chalk is a material that means a lot to us. It is a symbol of our regional and national identity – the Long Man of Wilmington, the White Cliffs – and it is the embodiment of our approach to design that brings together placemaking, architecture, interiors and branding.

 We know that every development has an impact on its surroundings – from the high street, to the city, and beyond. We think of ourselves as placemakers, and we take seriously the responsibility that comes with creating buildings and transforming the urban realm. This means that sustainability is part of our common-sense approach to design, and not just a bandwagon that happens to be passing.

 Free-hand drawing is the basis of all our creative work, and we start by capturing the essence of a big idea in a beautifully simple sketch. If we’re developing a project for a hotel, restaurant or retail business, we’re interested in everything which makes that business different, and we’re fascinated by the process of designing a brand, where every aspect – from the font on the letterhead to the material of a façade – reflects the look and feel of the business. This is what we mean when we talk about ‘Brand Architecture’.

 We know, though, that creating a vision is one thing, and delivering it on time and to budget is another. We do both. Good communication drives everything we do, and we take care of every part of the process, whatever the scale and nature of the project.

 Our work has taken us across the UK and on to Ireland, France and China, but our roots and our home are in Brighton, where chalk runs deep below us and deep within the identity of our practice.


We might bring hard-won experience, a fresh eye, or just a different perspective, but, whichever it is, we’re all as much a part of the Chalk conversation as each other. In some ways, nothing has changed since the day the practice started: we’re just as passionate, just as excited by the possibilities, and just as ambitious. In other ways, everything has changed: we’ve never stopped thinking, searching, exploring what could be, and moving the practice forwards.

The Team

Paul Nicholson RIBA
Sybille Haefliger ARB
Project Director
Jeremy Diaper RIBA
Project Director
Joseph Beadle
Architectural Assistant
Imogen Province
Architectural Assistant