Fourteen a.m.

Photos: Edvinas Bruzas

That moment of calm, peace and beauty may seem beyond reach, just like the time – 14 a.m

Winnie Tam is founder of design studio Fourteen a.m, a designer who seeks wisdom from Eastern philosophies to create sanctuaries that are restorative for the soul. She recently designed the Wave Residence, a London renovation in which Clayworks materials are used throughout. We asked her about her influences and her inspiration for this project.

I know I’m not the only one who’s tired of the fast-paced, throw-away culture of city life. In recent years, we can hear the clamour for a slower paced, more appreciative, closer-to-nature kind of living. This is the exact reason why I founded 14 a.m., to create restorative spaces and building-process for City Dwellers.

When I started designing Wave Residence, the aim was to create a sanctuary in central London – I pictured a place you immediately feel calm upon entering, despite the constant street noise just outside. Instantly, I knew I needed to put extra thought into base materials and lighting of the interior, I needed something that could give warmth and calm to the home. 

From that, my design journey started with material choices. I wanted something natural, that could remind us of nature. It wasn’t a difficult decision to come to my key material palette: Clayworks + Iroko timber (Earth + Wood).

Another main contributing factor was the choice of wall heating, as it was key for the design to keep the authentic timber floor, which ruled out using under-floor heating for the upper ground level. Clayworks works perfectly with wall heating. This way, the clay-plaster wall not only brings warmth to the space conceptually & visually, but also physically! 

14a.m.’s design concept is a simple one, we believe in the beauty of natural materials; and that they speak louder in an under-stated form, not overly complicated, their beauty shining through without needing to shout. This is exactly the image I was trying to put together when I chose to use only Clayworks and Iroko timber for all materials on the vertical plain (walls, doors, joineries, etc.) I have seen a few projects using Clayworks for a featured wall only. However, for me, it has to be all of the walls, so as to create an atmosphere, without “showcasing” it.

Upon completion, I invited a few of my friends to take a look and to see their reactions to the design, and I was re-assured of the achievement of making a calming space. They were mesmerised by the subtle, natural patterns on the clay plaster – for them, it was a meditative experience, which was something even beyond my expectations. I truly believe being in spaces like this takes us to a calm state of mind, where we can fully appreciate each moment of beauty our lives provide us. – Winnie Tam