Hazlemere Commercial’s work was once featured in a September edition of the popular Grand Designs Magazine, following their involvement in the glazing of a stunningly contemporary copper-roofed, decagon-shaped house in Oxford, which was previously featured in Channel 4’s Grand Designs TV series, and years later has seen numerous repeats on many different channels.
The house was built for Henry Chopping, a commercial surveyor with an eye for perfection and a desire to use only the very best materials. Henry comments “This building is an infant right now. In 300 years it’ll just be getting into its stride. The fact that I’ve built something that will look better as time goes on is really important to me.” (Page 70 Grand Designs Magazine, September 2008)
The author of that September’s 6 page Grand Designs article Fiona McAuslan remarked upon some of the reasoning behind Henry’s choices…. “he does admit that when it came to choosing the materials, his personal values were the main priority. Henry is passionate about the importance of good materials and fine craftsmanship, an interest derived from running his family’s property development company.”
The Decagon House is built on a rare city site in Oxford, tucked away behind a listed limestone wall, protected by English Heritage, so no new structure can be taller than it. Henry was therefore only able to construct a single storey building. With the help of his architect, he came up with an innovative design – a series of interlinking glass decagons. Inspired by Moroccan tents, the design makes the most of the sunshine. With copper roofs and limestone walls, the overall building is an eclectic mix of architectural styles.
Fiona McAuslan observed in her Grand Design article “Standing on the raised lawn overlooking the peaked undulations of the copper roof and the fan-like angles of the French windows, you can’t help but be impressed by a building that unfolds over its site with the delicacy of an origami paper sculpture.”
Kevin McCloud the programme’s presenter followed the build project from start to finish and remarked on the sheer quality of the materials and craftsmanship that went into making this project a reality. “its rare type of excellence is what makes this house important. The strong and coherent character combined with a slavish devotion to quality, both of design and construction, suggests this is a work of lasting craftsmanship.”
When it came to supplying and fitting the most striking features – the aluminium double glazed windows – it was down to Hazlemere Commercial to do the house proud with their bespoke doors and French windows. With designs such as this running to tight schedules, it was down to Hazlemere’s team of experienced fitters to ensure they did the job on time and to the highest possible standard – a brief that was certainly fulfilled.
Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud, previously commented about the Decagon House: “This place may not be to your taste, but there’s no denying it’s got real strength of character. It may not be beautiful, but it is fascinating, In fact if it were a spa hotel, I think I’d rather enjoy staying here. If it were a monastery for the brotherhood of bling, it would be my kind of monastery. That’s because any suggestion of personal indulgence here is overshadowed by the craftsmanship. By the quality of the fabric of the building. And it was Henry who commissioned all those craftsmen – who commissioned this building. I think that, in a way, sort of makes him an old fashioned patron. And there aren’t enough of those.”
Hazlemere Windows are listed on page seventy of the 2008 September Grand Design Magazine as the suppliers of the “Windows and French doors”. On page 149 of the Magazine in the “As seen on TV” section, it states “Hazlemere Commercial are specialists in window, door and curtain walling projects and have experience of working closely with architects, developers and main contractors.”
Tony Beale, Operations Director of Hazlemere Commercial, added “It proved an excellent opportunity for us. Not only was it prime-time TV exposure but working in partnership with Reynaers we were able to demonstrate that, whatever the design, we can work with architects to deliver a high quality solution.”