William Smalley

William Smalley

Architect William Smalley - “Fit, longevity, and rightness – clothes tell you when they’re right.”

Your flat and your studio are both on Lambs Conduit Street. Why do you love the area so much?

I think the area gets its particular character from having belonged to a charity (well, a public school) for 450 years, from which permeates a benign neglect, or benevolent disregard – a certain peace that comes from having always been just off the beaten track. It’s like a village that’s managed to keep its shop and pub, happens to have some good clothes shops – and to be in central London.

Sum up your approach to design in two sentences.

Essentially, my approach is to be open to my intuitional response – whether to a building, site or place. And then to stay true to it.

Is your approach to designing buildings reflected in your personal style?

Probably – a fair amount of consideration goes into what I wear each day. And a lot of consideration goes into the designing of buildings. Certainly, I try to stay immune from the passing trends of either.

What three factors influence you most when buying clothes?

Fit, longevity, and rightness – clothes tell you when they’re right.

You’re building your dream home. Where is it and what does it look like?

Miraculously, it’s a sprawling yet undiscovered site in central London. All but hidden from the outside, it’s expansive within, revealing itself as you explore, with a space or courtyard for every mood. And there is room for it to evolve over time.


  • Favourite Restaurant: Spring
  • Favourite Holiday destination: beach on the Mediterranean
  • Favourite Musician: (pianist) Murray Perahia, playing Bach
  • Prize Possession: a vintage forcola, the oarlock from a Venetian gondola 
  • Biggest Indulgence: Living at short notice