London, UK

EBBA are an inquisitive architecture and design practice based in London, UK, making buildings, places, objects and furniture through an investigative and hands-on approach. The studio, founded by Benni Allan, has been at the forefront of making spaces that reflect particular poetic and material qualities that can carry meaning and can have a direct emotional effect on the users.

Focusing on materials and space

Very initially, the work I got my teeth into was different from most offices' stories. These included a number of set design projects for fashion shows and brands, which were all about doing a lot with very little. This method of working contributed to the development of a practice that was heavily focused on design, experience, and a sense of place through materials and space.At the same time that this developed, I was appointed to design the preschool nursery. There is something to this story, as it was the reason I decided to set up the practice and leave the previous office I was in. However, within a week of leaving the project, it was put on hold for nearly two years. By that point, I was out in the world, which meant I had to find new work. I decided to make the most of those first catwalk projects, making them as architectural as I thought possible.


A fresh start

One of the first projects we delivered was part of the renovation of a school in Spain. The building housed the first classroom I used as a child. I still look back very fondly after nearly 5 years on this project. It was an exploration of how you might give a new lease of life to a building through a simple intervention. We used recycled bitumen panels to create a mural-like effect of tiles in different shades of red. The project came about through a discussion about whether they should demolish the building. Although there was no budget, we managed to devise a way of using the panels to clad the entirety of the building so that it would give it a completely new character. The teachers at the school gave the building its name, "La Falda," which translates as "the dress" in Spanish, as it resembled the flowing nature of a skirt. The project was so successful that the children thought they had been given a new building.


Collaboration as a starting point

We are still a very young studio, and we enjoy the opportunities this offers to be involved in various aspects of culture in design and architecture, as well as in music and fashion. Every day presents a new chance to create, and we are driven by the ambition to make unique things, whether in the form of an exhibition for a cultural center, a piece of furniture, or the design of multi-unit housing. We believe in collaboration and enjoy the wide network of artists and makers who help us develop new work. One of the most important aspects of our weekly rituals is when we cook for each other. One person a week takes it in turn to create a unique dish that we all come together to enjoy. This collaborative way of working translates to how we work with each other and our clients. The idea of multiple hands working together is an important starting point for all parts of our studio.


Signature not scale

EBBA was established as a way of developing projects for all kinds of clients, particularly for those who needed it most. We try to balance the work we do while also having a huge variety of projects of different scales and types. This helps to keep a certain level of energy and ensures we are continually learning. We are fortunate to have worked on over 70 projects for some amazing clients and institutions. While it is essential for us to run a successful business, we also do a number of pro bono projects for local groups to help use our skills and knowledge to do good for those in our community. We always imagined that we would have to work on larger projects to see and understand success. However, it is clear that you can develop a strong body of work on smaller projects where you really see the benefits of the things you make. We always wanted to have diversity in our team and our work. Fortunately, this has been a recognisable aspect of EBBA. We wouldn't want to change anything!


A tight-knit unit

The studio is at its most exciting since we started. The wide-ranging projects are offering us the opportunity to grow creatively and establish a way of working that is unique to us. In the coming months, we will be starting on one of our largest housing schemes while also delivering a number of cultural projects for major institutions in the UK. Additionally, the studio has been developing a series of products and furniture pieces. The ambition for the studio is to always stay small enough to feel like a small family, giving us the advantage of being nimble and able to adapt to different situations. We look forward to new commissions and client relationships that also help us grow as designers and architects.

EBBA Founder Dirctor Benni Allan Marta Fernandez
Photo courtesy of EBBA

EBBA Low Collection Represented by Beton Brut Gareth Hacker Marta FernandezPhoto by Gareth Hacker


EBBA La Falda Workshop Marta FernandezPhoto courtesy of EBBA


EBBA Skills School James Retief Marta Fernandez
Photo by James Retief

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