Member profile: Dicky Lewis of White Red Architects
In a gallery converted into office space in Shoreditch sits the London headquarters of White Red Architects, two years old but already full of projects. Dicky Lewis, founder and director of the company, told us the story of how White Red came to be.
“It was a plunge into the darkness. I was in a comfortable job and… naivety has been the biggest blessing, I think. I don’t know if I’d have done it if I knew what I know now. But at the same time, I don’t regret it at all. I absolutely love trying to build a business.”
The comfortable job Dicky refers to was his position at Foster & Partners, a company renowned for big projects around the world such as the changes made in Trafalgar Square in recent years, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Supreme Court in Singapore. Before that, Dicky had worked at UHA London and TP Bennett, always focusing on concept design.
On a bout of daring optimism, he opened the company firstly on his own. Joe Haire, a friend who had studied with him at Manchester School of Architecture, came on board a while after. Then came Jesus Jimenez, the third partner. Dicky explains:
“The plus side of having two partners is that there are three of us to make decisions. Three of us to help and support each other.”
When starting a business, having a support system is essential. Not only having two partners helped Dicky, building a network has made all the difference.
“One of the biggest lessons I learned has been that your network is your biggest accolade. It’s a long-term relationship building process.”
Driven by a belief in collaboration, Dicky has dedicated time to learn from the developers and other professionals he works with – if everyone knows a bit about each other’s work, everyone’s job gets a little bit easier.
His efforts (and that of his partners) reflect in the projects White Red has had so far: the refurbishment of the member’s room in the British Library, a coworking space in Malborough, M Sport Hotel in Cockermouth, the Shreepati Gardens in Mumbai. And that is just the beginning.