Refresher about us and how we help you

Posted: 30 March 2024

Ever feel like you need a refresher on someone? That’s me! So, how about I tell you a bit more about myself and what Ikonografik Design is all about.

I’m Nathan Oliver, a Chartered Architectural Technologist with Ikonografik Design, a small but mighty architectural practice here in Sheffield. Originally from Bournemouth, I took a southern route for a while, working in Hampshire for a few years. Then, fate [or maybe Huddersfield, where I studied in the 90s!] brought me to Sheffield. I figured I’d stay 2-3 years, but guess what? 23 years later, I’m still here! The Peak District is a big draw for me and the wife [who’s also a Sheffield native], so I’m not going anywhere soon. When I’m not working, you’ll find me hanging out with family and friends, or riding around the peaks on my trusty road bike. Nature is my happy place, and these days, road cycling is way less ouch and way more time-efficient than my old BMX and mountain bike days. Steel bike frames, anyone?

Anyway, after working on big-budget projects in large firms, redundancy hit me twice in 2011 [thanks, recession!]. That’s when I decided to take the leap and start my own architectural practice. With over 25 years of experience [and a whole lot of mistakes and lessons learned!], I figured I could offer something special. Plus, it meant staying in Sheffield and ditching the crazy commutes to Manchester or London. Working from home has been a game-changer for me, especially with family and everything else going on. It gives me the flexibility I need, and that’s something I definitely want to hold onto. But hey, working from home doesn’t mean I’m a hermit! I’m constantly out on-site meeting clients, checking out new projects, and collaborating with a fantastic team of contractors, engineers, and designers. Networking and attending training are important too – gotta stay sharp! So, while I love the flexibility of remote work, my work style is more hybrid than 100% homebody.

The projects I take on are a mix of residential and commercial, with a focus on the smaller, more personal stuff. Over the years, I’ve done a bunch of extensions, conversions, and the occasional new build house. Think private homes, apartment schemes for developers, even some cool projects like doctor’s surgeries, funeral homes, and coffee shops!

As a practice, we’re all about ditching the disposable architecture trend. We want to create buildings that are low-impact, eco-friendly, healthy, and beautiful – places that stand the test of time and bring joy to the people who use them. We achieve this by focusing on five key things: People, Environment, Site, Materials, and Durability. Plus, I’m a bit of a stickler for detail – I want things to work perfectly and look amazing.

Running my own business has been a learning curve [turns out university doesn’t teach you everything!]. I’ve learned a lot, and I’m still learning. Balancing everything can be tough, and I admit, I work more hours than I should sometimes. But hey, I’m working on it!

Now, a big part of who I am is my faith. I know this might come as a surprise, and I don’t often talk about it publicly. Mostly because, well, politics and religion can be touchy subjects that divide people. When it comes to social media and digital marketing, I try to be helpful and neutral on those things. Anyway, I’m a Christian, and yes, I’m far from perfect. I attend Pathway Church here in Sheffield, a church with a twist – no weekly Sunday services. Instead, we meet in smaller groups to connect and grow together. We do come together for bigger events, but it’s not a weekly thing. Look, if you have questions about faith, let’s have a conversation – a friendly one, not a heated one. You could even check out the Pathway Church website by clicking this link if you’re curious. Regardless of our beliefs, I believe in treating everyone with respect, no matter the differences. After all, what unites us is way bigger than what divides us, right?

So, there you have it, folks! A little re-introduction to me and Ikonografik Design. Keep an eye out for future posts about all things architecture and buildings – hopefully, they’ll be helpful and inspiring!

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