Dezeen Magazine

Aerial image of The Pottering Shed and its surroundings

Studio Mutt covers seaside artist's studio in black rubber and seashells

Scallop shells decorate the rubber-painted exterior of The Pottering Shed, an artist's studio overlooking Poole Harbour in England by architecture practice Studio Mutt.

The 30-square-metre studio was informed by the design of ships, with a ceiling structure designed to evoke an upturned hull and its black rubber coating referencing waterproofing.

Image of the Pottering Shed from the harbour
Studio Mutt has created an artist's studio at Poole Harbour

The Pottering Shed was designed by Liverpool and London-based Studio Mutt for artist Carola Zogolovich and her husband, developer Roger Zogolovich.

It occupies the site of their 1930s home and is accompanied by a similarly boat-themed extension designed by Mole Architects in a garden to the north.

Artist's studio with black-rubber exterior
The Pottering Shed is coated in black rubber

"The clients wanted a space to write, draw, print, collage – what they refer to as their 'analogue activities' – and which provides a visual and climatic connection to the harbour," said the studio.

"These analogue activities, along with the challenging site constraints, have also driven the construction and materiality of the design, the collage-like appearance of the building being a result of an ambition to celebrate the building's construction," it continued.

The gable end of The Pottering Shed
Seashells decorate the rubber coating

Where the site steps down towards Poole Harbour, a designated site of special scientific interest, The Pottering Shed cantilevers outwards on a thin concrete base. This base connects to a concrete staircase that leads back up to the main house.

"The building itself is oriented so that it physically appears to gaze out across Pool Harbour," said Studio Mutt.

Black-rubber facade adorned with shells
The rubber finish is applied to a layer of scrim

"This orientation and outlook provides a space for the client that recreates the other-worldly peacefulness of being out at sea," the studio added.

Atop the concrete base, plywood panels manufactured off-site have been assembled to create the cabin with a roof that gently rises towards the sea.

The plywood is left exposed internally and coated externally with a layer of scrim and black liquid rubber, decorated with seashells.

Large windows with steel frames offer views out to sea and are painted in a contrasting shade of blue to echo the roof tiles of a nearby boat shed.

Artist's studio interior by Studio Mutt
Its plywood structure is exposed internally

"Painted timber battens and a diamond grid of rubber painted scallop shells sit on top of the scrim and provide ornamentation that breaks down the single mass of the building," explained Studio Mutt.

"At the rear, the pitched geometry of the roof manipulates and reduces in size to become diminutive in height."

Plywood-lined interior of The Pottering Shed
Large windows frame views across the beachfront

Inside, the exposed dividers of the plywood panels house shelving and storage spaces for the deliberately simple interior.

Studio Mutt was founded in 2017 by Graham Burn, James Crawford and Alexander Turner. The studio's projects often incorporate characterful elements, such as in the series of sculptures it created for Sir John Soane's Museum during the 2018 London Design Festival and a colourful pavilion in the Lake District National Park.

The photography is by Jim Stephenson.

Project credits:

Architect: Studio Mutt
Executive architect: Rebecca Granger
Fabrication modelling: Bluedot design
Structures: Roy Gallie, Structure Haus, Heyne Tillett Steel
Project management: Solidspace
Ground works contractor: Morris Construction
Ply cassette manufacture: Tekne Shopfitting
Assembly: Charlie and Andrew Clifford
Painting: Andrew Blackburn

More images and plans

Section of The Pottering Shed by Studio Mutt
Night view of The Pottering Shed by Studio Mutt
Night view of The Pottering Shed by Studio Mutt
Night view of The Pottering Shed by Studio Mutt